Female incluencers with megahorn

Forging authentic influencer relationships that drive measurable results

Influencer marketing is a medium built on trust and authenticity. The deeper an influencers relationship with their audience, the more weight their voice carries. Like all mediums consumers have already started to become inert to paid advertising delivered through influencers. So how do you get your message out with influencers?

These 7 steps provide practical advice for selecting influencers, as well as creating and maintaining win-win relationships that drives measurable (yes, measurable) results.

  1. Shortlisting your influencers
    Selecting the right influencers to work with is critical to successful influencer marketing, it’s worth putting the extra time and effort at the tart to make sure you’ve found the right person. These four elements will help you make the right choice:
  2. The right audience 
    You know your customers, and your customers are already busy listening to, and interacting with influencers. Start by choosing influencers that have the same audience that you’re interested in. That ensures that any message they communicate has the maximum possible impact.
  3. Size of audience 
    Whilst it’s important that you get the largest reach possible, working with influencers that have millions of followers is considerably more difficult than working with those that have several hundred thousand. Don’t get too small though, the smallest of magazines will have a readership of 10,000 which is probably the smallest audience size you’ll want to accept.  Any smaller and the effort likely won’t justify the returns. Conversely it’s been shown that influencers that have considerably more than 100,000 followers have much lower engagement rates – and therefore lower impact.
  4. Engaged & conversational 
    Engagement isn’t just about their posts attracting likes and shares. For an influencer to be effective they need to be constantly interacting with their audience. Check to ensure that they’re not just broadcasting, and they’re having actual conversations. You may also want to check how quickly they respond to messages (if at all), as speed of response can have a considerable impact on the value of a message.
  5. Involved
    Influencers that are already engaged with your brand are the most likely to become brand evangelists – with careful nurturing. These should be at the top of your priority list, and should be treated with special care. They’re already talking about your brand, and you need to deepen that relationship. Without at least an occasional pat-on-the-back, you risk your organic (the best type) influencers getting disillusioned or moving on to a competitive brand.
  6. Solicitation, Payment & Rewards
    Not all your influencers will appear organically, nor will they all approach you, you’ll need to go out and find some on your own steam.  Where ever they come from, it’s important to set some ground rules for your engagement with influencers. Will you pay them for their efforts? Will you provide product samples? How many will you fund/sponsor? How will you differentiate? There’s no hard and fast rule about how much to pay influencers, when I asked Christopher Dugal, Head of Social for Zalora, he recommends avoiding paying influencers and sticking to product sponsorship.
  7. Measurement
    Like all good marketing campaigns, your influencer campaign can be measured. To quote Jay Baer “True influence drives action, not just awareness”, so instead of tracking the classic measurements such as volume of tweets, posts, sentiment and likes, try tracking referral links tracking mechanisms. By providing each influencer with an individual referral tracking URL, you can quantify how much traffic and how many conversions each of your influencers are generating. Even if they’re not commissioned or paid, there are lots of incentives you can provide them for using the links – from additional kudos & recognition in your formal campaigns, through to early access to your new products.

Run through these steps when you’re building you influencer campaign. It’s a good idea to go through them every couple of months just to make sure you’re still on track – and sticking to the principles you originally laid out.

Speech bubbles with recommendations

4 easy steps to writing great LinkedIN recommendations

Being asked to write a LinkedIN recommendation is quite the honor, but can be surprisingly daunting. What do you say? What should you not say? How long, or short should it be? Fortunately there’s an easy template to get you started.

For many HR executives a LinkedIn search is one of the first methods of checking out a candidate. Unlike old fashioned letters of recommendation, recruiters can very quickly check out your referees, allowing them to establish your credibility with just a few clicks. So it’s important that your reference is succinct, honest (obviously) and helpful for the person you’re recommending. No pressure, right?

What should I write in a recommendation?

Step 1. Your one line summary

If yours is the only recommendation for a particular position, LinkedIN will display the first 240 characters (approximately) of your recommendation on the profile page. That number goes down to 120 characters if there’s more than one recommendation for the same position. To read more the visitor has to click through.

Add to this the fact that most people skim read, your opening line needs to be short, sweet and pack a lot of punch. Try to capture the essence of your recommendation, with a few specifics. For example:

Beth has exceptional team management skills, … (45 characters)

Alice is a social media guru, her strategies are incredible, … (60 characters)

Step 2. Your working history

It’s a good idea to qualify your relationship with the individual a little. LinkedIN automatically does this by asking you to specify the nature of the relationship, but it’s tiny and a short description will put the rest of your statement into context.

… we worked together for two years on over a dozen projects globally … 

… she expertly managed our New York marketing team for a year …

Step 3. Their most powerful attribute 

You don’t need to talk about what they’ve achieved for you or your company – that should be in their profile already. Instead focus on what makes them stand out. For instance, their ability to command a room, deliver under pressure or get the perfect event speakers. This should be something that’s not easy for the person to communicate in their bio (without seeming overly pretensions), but that is certainly a valuable attribute.

She is always buzzing with ideas,

Her ideas are exceedingly creative and thought provoking,

Step 4. Professional advantages

Whatever the specifics of the role are, it’s beneficial if you can communicate how their personal attributes make them excel in their specific role.

… her energy is contagious, it keeps her everyone inspired. She is so personable that suppliers and vendor’s go out of their way to support her.

… and her implementation is always impressive. She is very calm under pressure, and is always able to manage unforeseen events smoothly.

Step 5. The wrap up

Don;t feel obliged to write cliched statements like “I would recommend him” or “You’d be lukcy to have him on your team”. The fact that you’re providing a recommendation is proof enough of that.

You want to keep your recommendation short enough to be digestable and detailed enough to be helpful. So after you’ve finished describing any distinct advantages they have, simply stop. There really are only four steps!

Here’s what it might look like when you’ve put it together:

Alice is a social media guru, her strategies are incredible and she expertly managed our New York marketing team for a year. Her ideas are exceedingly creative and thought provoking, and her implementation is always impressive. She is very calm under pressure, and is always able to manage unforeseen events smoothly.

The perfect social media profile picture

10 tips to create the perfect social media profile picture

Your profile picture (a.k.a. headshot), is the single most important personal marketing tool you have on social media, or any digital channel for that matter! It is always the first thing people see when they browse your profile, and quickly differentiates serious professionals from amateurs. If you want to be taken seriously, you need a high quality social media profile picture. So I put together a quick guide on how to get your perfect professional headshot for you to download.

Profile Photo Guide
Click here to download Profile Photo Guide (789.11 KB 20 downloads)

I had previously written about why you need to keep your “biography/text profile” up to date, here are the top 10 best practices for creating the ideal professional profile picture:

  1. You should be fresh & clearly in focus

    Don’t be artsy or put yourself in the background. You are the main subject of the photo. You should be perfectly in focus, with your eyes open and full of life. Not droopy, closed, tired, or worn out. Try to take the picture in the morning so you’re fresh.

  2. Only you should be present in the photo

    No group photos please. Remember that you are the star of this photo. Nobody else should be visible at all, not even in the background.

  3. Clothing

    Wear professional attire. For gentlemen this is a suit, shirt and tie. Freshly shaven or beard recently trimmed. Ladies please ensure your shoulders are covered, not strapless, strappy, flowery or floral. Jewelry should be minimal and professional. Clothing should ideally be solid colors, pin stripes are acceptable, not distracting prints or loud tartans.

  4. Posture

    Your posture communicates a lot about you, after your face it’s the first thing people tend to notice. Stand straight, shoulders back, chest out, slight angle to the camera. Chin ever so slightly up. Do not tilt your head to the side. You should look confident and capable.Your hands should not be near your face. Keeps your arms crossed – this will help position your shoulders too.

    Your photographer should be able to help you with this. For corporate profile photos, ensure that all subjects use the same two poses. (1) Facing the camera squarely (2) Facing the camera with torso slightly angled (as shown in the outline picture).

    Photofeeler has a brilliant article on posture and different poses for ladies & gents, it’s worth reading through; and good advice for pretty much any photo you’re going to be in!

    Anatomy of a perfect profile picture

  5. Smile

    It’s surprising how many people don’t smile for photos. You want to seem welcoming and open to conversation, so smile naturally.

  6. Background, location & lighting

    The background should be a single solid color. No patterns, no plants, nothing busy or distracting. The color should not be the same as something you’re wearing or your skin tone. This makes it easy for the background to be removed digitally, a more appropriate background can be added as needed. Ask your photographer to provide your headshot with a transparent background (a.k.a. no background).You want the lighting to be uniform, no harsh shadows or color lighting effects.

  7. Colors

    Full color only please. No black & white or sepia photos please. Don’t apply any Instagram (or other) filters.

  8. Professional photography

    Even if you have a friend that’s taken a course in photography, I always recommend going to a photo studio to get your photos taken. There’s a big difference between a professional studio photo shoot and one taken at home. This is the mental image people are going to recall, make it as brilliant as you can.

  9. Keep it up-to-date & use a recent photo

    Your profile picture needs to accurately represent how you look. That doesn’t mean you need to update it every time you cut your hair, but you shouldn’t be using a photo that was taken 10 years ago.

  10. Sizing & Positioning

    Whilst social media and other profiles will generally not use more than 500×500 pixel images, when it comes to photo sizes, the bigger the better. Please ensure your photographer provides you high resolution photos (Full HD or a lot more). This ensures that your photos can be used in print or on bigger screens. You don’t want to be chasing your photographer one year’s later when you need to print your headshot in a magazine.

    To ensure that your profile picture makes best use of the available space without over crowding, you should fit your photo to match the outline provided. This places your eyes at the 1/3 mark, leaving a feeling of empty space, without being too zoomed out or too close in.Most social networks will automatically resize your profile picture to match their requirements.
    You should ensure that your headshot is a large (16:9) format picture, but that your photographer also gives you one that is a perfect square so that it looks correct when scaled automatically.

    LinkedIN 400×400
    Twitter 400×400
    Google 250×250
    Facebook 180×180
    Instagram 110×110

Your photographer may have their own inputs & ideas, but this will provide the basic outline of what you’d like to achieve. If your photographer permits, take several photos, and ask them for a set both with and without backgrounds.

Here are some samples of what your profile picture should not look like:

What you don't want