Everyone has phones

How do you drive social shares?

I spent last weekend on the Royal Caribbean ‘Mariner of the Seas’ cruise, and it was simply incredible. If you haven’t been on a cruise before, I’d certainly recommend this one as a good starting point. I really enjoyed the theatrical performances. It seemed as if there was constantly something going on, and that they had artists from every corner of the world.

Being so far away from land there was no mobile signal. They did have a chargeable WiFi service, but who really wants to be online when you’re enjoying a good holiday? Right? It’s a much better (customer) experience when you’re offline, distraction free and completely involved in what’s going on.

Only… what about all those mobile phones? All those great photo & video opportunities. All that social media potential? Most people were moving around with mobile phones. A few well placed hashtags & free access to just a few social media sites would mean an incredible amount of additional publicity.

A quick search on Instagram for marineroftheseas doesn’t reveal much, but I assure you people were busy taking photos & videos of everything from the food, to the rooms & performances. If you want your clients to share their experiences you’re going to need a few things:

  1. A clearly visible and relevant hashtag or name for them to mention
  2. Internet access
  3. An incentive, whilst optional *really* helps to drive more shares (think free massage for most interesting photo or discounted drinks if you post whilst at the bar)

So where do you try to drive social shares? Observe your customers, whatever they’re taking photos or videos of, that’s where you need find a way to drive shares. Don’t over complicate things, sharing should be simple and easy. Just presenting your hashtag or handle on coasters can be enough to get things moving in the right direction.

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.