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Corporate Communications and Influencer Marketing: A Winning Strategy for DC Businesses
Introduction to Corporate Communications in the Digital Age

Corporate communications have transformed with the digital age. It’s all about how companies talk to the world now. In the past, it was press releases and TV ads. Today, it’s social media posts, blogs, and even working with influencers. This shift means businesses have to be clear, direct, and engaging. They need to tell their story in a way that resonates with people. The goal? Build trust and a strong brand image. Companies can’t just talk at people anymore. They need to talk with them, creating a two-way conversation. This approach helps businesses connect with their audience, making their message more relatable and effective. In the digital age, a solid corporate communications strategy is crucial for success.

The Rising Influence of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is no longer just a trend; it’s a key player in the marketing game, especially for businesses in DC. This strategy uses the power of individuals with a strong online presence to drive your company’s message to the larger market. Why does it work? People trust people. When a well-known influencer shares something, their followers listen. Think of it like getting a recommendation from a friend. The stats back it up too. Most consumers say they trust social media influencers over traditional ads. It’s not just for the big players either. Small and medium businesses find influencer marketing approachable because it doesn’t require a massive budget. You’re paying for the influencer’s reach and credibility, not billboard space or airtime. From local food bloggers to DC tech gurus, finding the right influencer can put your brand in front of thousands, even millions, of engaged followers. And the best part? This strategy can be tailored to fit any business goal, whether it’s boosting brand awareness, launching a new product, or driving sales.

Understanding the Synergy Between Corporate Communications and Influencer Marketing

Corporate communications and influencer marketing might seem like separate strategies, but together, they pack a powerful punch. Let’s break it down. Corporate communications is all about how companies talk to their customers, investors, employees, and the world. It’s the voice of the company. Influencer marketing is when businesses team up with popular folks on social media to promote their products or services.

Now, why do they work so well together? First off, influencers can give a human touch to corporate communications. Instead of a faceless company message, you have a real person talking about your product. This can make your message more relatable and trustworthy. Plus, influencers can reach people in a way traditional corporate communications can’t. They speak directly to their followers, who often look up to them. This means your message doesn’t just get out there; it gets heard.

By combining these two, you can communicate your company’s values and goals in a way that feels more personal and approachable. It’s about being where your audience is and speaking their language. Whether it’s through a tweet, a blog post, or an Instagram story, using influencers can help your message resonate more deeply with your target audience. And when done right, this synergy not only boosts your brand’s visibility but also builds a stronger connection with your customers.

Identifying the Right Influencers for Your DC Business

For DC businesses, tapping into influencer marketing is not about just any popular face, but about finding the right match. Think relationship, not just a transaction. Start by checking if the influencer’s followers look like your target audience. Are they local to the DC area? Do they engage with content that aligns with your business values? These are clues. Then, dive into the quality of engagement. It’s not just about the number of followers; it’s about how those followers interact with the influencer’s content. High engagement rates mean the influencer’s audience listens and trusts them. This trust can transfer to your business if the partnership feels genuine. Lastly, consider the influencer’s content style and quality. Does it scream creativity and professionalism? Your brand will be associated with whatever content they create. Make sure it’s a fit. Remember, the right influencer for your DC business is someone who brings authentic value to both you and their audience.

Crafting a Collaborative Strategy: Corporate Communications Meets Influencer Marketing

When corporate communications team up with influencer marketing, it’s like mixing business with a bit of smart social buzz. The goal? To spread your brand’s message far and wide but in a way that feels personal, not preachy. Start simple. First, understand what your brand stands for and the story you want to tell. Then, find influencers who vibe with your values. These could be local heroes in DC or big names on social networks. Next, let’s talk collaboration, not dictation. Work together to create content that speaks to both your brand and their audience. Remember, it’s a two-way street. Their followers should see the genuine connection between the influencer and your company. Keep the conversation going. Engage with the content, respond to comments, and show some love on social media. This strategy gets your brand in front of eyes that might never have given you a second glance, in a way that’s relatable. So, bring corporate communications and influencer marketing together, and watch your brand story light up across DC and beyond.

Steps to Integrate Influencer Marketing into Your Corporate Communications Plan

First off, know your brand and what message you want to tell. Your brand’s vibe and goals should be crystal clear. This step is crucial because it helps you find the right influencer who gels with your brand’s identity. Next, scout for influencers. Look for someone who not only has a big following but engages well with their audience. Engagement over numbers, always remember that. Then, interact with potential influencers. Start conversations. Comment on their posts. Make it natural, not salesy. After that, once you’ve picked an influencer, plan your campaign. What’s the goal? More brand visibility? Driving sales? Be clear and make sure the influencer understands what you aim to achieve. Next step, work out the nitty-gritty details. Talk about budgets, timelines, content expectations but keep it flexible. Influencers know their audience best, so give them creative freedom. Lastly, measure your campaign’s success. Look at the metrics that mattered the most to your goals. Was it engagement, sales, or brand mentions? Learn and tweak your next campaign based on these insights. Remember, it’s all about building relationships, with both the influencer and their audience. Keep it real, and keep it strategic.

Case Studies: Successful Influencer Marketing Campaigns for DC Businesses

In DC, where the pulse of politics and business beats strongly, some businesses have turned influencer marketing into a winning strategy. Take, for example, a local restaurant chain that partnered with DC foodies on Instagram. By showcasing their meals in mouth-watering posts, they saw a 30% uptick in reservations within two months. Then there’s the fashion boutique that teamed up with a popular local lifestyle influencer. They launched a weekend pop-up event that nearly doubled their sales from the previous month. What made these campaigns successful? First, they chose influencers who resonated with their target audience. They weren’t just looking for anyone with a large following; they sought out personalities that matched their brand’s vibe and values. Second, they made sure the content was authentic. Rather than pushing for scripted mentions, they allowed influencers to create content that felt natural and engaging to their followers. Lastly, they leveraged local appeal. By focusing on DC’s unique culture and vibrancy, these businesses struck a chord with both residents and visitors. The takeaway? Influencer marketing, when done right, can be a powerhouse strategy for growing your business in the nation’s capital.

Measuring the Impact: KPIs for Your Influencer-Corporate Communications Strategy

To know if your influencer-corporate communications strategy is winning, you’ve got to measure it, right? Exactly. Keep an eye on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), folks. First up, engagement rates. This is about likes, shares, comments - they all show if people are talking about your brand. Next, reach and impressions. How many saw the post? Are you hitting the numbers? Conversion rates are crucial too. How many from the crowd actually bought your product or signed up for your newsletter because of the influencer collab? Don’t sleep on brand sentiment. Is the chatter positive? Are people loving your brand more? Lastly, ROI (Return on Investment). The big one. Are you getting more bang for your buck? To wrap it up, track these KPIs, adjust your strategy if needed, and watch your DC business soar. Simple as that.

Overcoming Challenges in Influencer Marketing for Corporate Communications

When DC businesses dive into influencer marketing, they’re met with a few hurdles. First up, finding the right influencer. It’s not just about big followings; it’s about engagement and relevance. Your influencer’s audience should care deeply about what you offer. Then there’s trust. Building a genuine relationship between your brand and the influencer is crucial. Without trust, any collaboration feels hollow, lacking impact. Budgeting can be tricky, too. Costs vary widely, and higher price tags don’t always mean better results. It’s about smart investment, getting good value for your money.

According to the latest statistics, a staggering 87% of consumers have reported being influenced by an influencer’s recommendation when making a purchasing decision.

That said, measuring success can be complex. Likes and shares are easy to count, but how do you measure real influence, changes in perception, or actions taken? It requires setting clear goals and using the right tools to track them. Overcoming these challenges isn’t simple, but with patience and strategic thinking, DC businesses can certainly use influencer marketing to amplify their corporate communications effectively.

Conclusion: The Future of Corporate Communications and Influencer Marketing in DC

As businesses in DC continue to evolve, so will the strategies they use to communicate and market themselves. Corporate communications and influencer marketing stand out as powerful tools that, when combined, form a formidable strategy for any DC business aiming for success. The future of this blend lies in recognizing the immense value of authentic engagement. Brands that focus on creating genuine connections with their audience, through transparent communication and relatable influencer partnerships, will lead the pack. Moreover, adapting to new platforms and technologies will be crucial, as digital landscapes shift rapidly. Businesses must stay agile, ready to pivot their communication and marketing approaches as necessary. In essence, for DC businesses, the integration of corporate communications with influencer marketing is not just a trend but a necessary evolution. Those who master this synergy will not merely survive but thrive in the competitive market ahead.

5 Corporate Communications Strategies to Boost Your Brand's Presence in 2024
Introduction to Corporate Communications in 2024

In 2023, effective communication is more vital than ever for businesses wanting to stand out. Corporate communications is all about how companies talk to their customers, partners, and the world. It’s not just what you say; it’s how you say it and who hears it. This section will cover the basics, giving you a clear starting point. Think of corporate communications as your business’s voice. Whether it’s through social media, press releases, or internal memos, your goal is to make that voice clear, consistent, and strong. The right strategy can lift your brand’s presence, making sure you’re heard over the noise. We’ll dive into how this is essential for your brand’s success and outline strategies to amplify your message in 2023.

The Role of Digital Media in Corporate Communications

In today’s digital age, mastering digital media is not just an option for corporate communications; it’s a necessity. Digital media encompasses all electronic devices and platforms used to convey information, including social media, websites, email, and mobile apps. Its role in corporate communications has grown exponentially, primarily due to its wide reach and the ability to engage directly with the audience. Let’s break it down. First, digital media allows corporations to share their story far and wide. Whether it’s showcasing achievements, sharing insights, or addressing concerns, companies can communicate their narrative on a global scale. Second, it offers real-time interaction. This immediacy fosters a sense of community and loyalty among consumers, as they feel heard and valued. Third, analytics play a crucial role. Digital platforms provide detailed data on audience behavior, enabling corporations to tailor their communications strategies effectively. Lastly, cost-effectiveness is a significant advantage. Compared to traditional media, digital platforms often offer more bang for your buck, allowing for targeted campaigns that reach the intended audience without breaking the bank. In essence, the power of digital media in corporate communications cannot be overstated. It not just amplifies a brand’s presence but also enables a more dynamic, immediate, and interactive relationship with the audience.

Developing a Unified Brand Voice Across All Platforms

Having a consistent brand voice is crucial to making your brand recognized and trusted. Think of your brand as a person. Just like you’d recognize a friend’s voice in a crowd, your audience should identify your brand’s voice wherever they find it, be it on Twitter, your website, or a press release. To hammer this point home, imagine going through your friend’s social media and not being able to tell if the posts are indeed theirs because the tone keeps changing. Confusing, right? That’s how your audience feels when your brand’s voice fluctuates across different platforms.

First things first, identify your brand’s core values and personality. Are you professional and formal, or laid-back and casual? This character will be the foundation of your brand voice. Once that’s set, ensure everyone who creates content for your brand knows these guidelines. It might help to create a style guide that spells out your brand’s dos and don’ts in terms of language, tone, and even humor.

Remember, consistency is key, but so is flexibility. Your tone might slightly adjust depending on the platform (LinkedIn vs. Instagram, for example), but the underlying voice should remain unmistakably yours. That’s how you build a strong, cohesive brand identity that resonates with your audience no matter where they encounter you.

Importance of Transparency and Authenticity

Today, customers value honesty more than ever. They can spot insincerity from a mile away and tend to turn their backs on brands that don’t show their true colors. This is why transparency and authenticity are not just buzzwords—they’re crucial elements of successful corporate communications strategies. By being open about your business practices, admitting to mistakes, and sharing your brand’s journey, you create a bond of trust with your audience. This trust is the foundation on which loyalty is built. Remember, a loyal customer acts as a brand ambassador, sharing positive experiences with friends and family, essentially providing free marketing for your company. So, if you want to boost your brand’s presence in 2023, start by keeping it real. It’s simple - be honest, be you.

Integrating Social Responsibility into Your Corporate Communications

Adding social responsibility to your corporate communications isn’t just nice, it’s necessary. Today’s consumers expect companies to not only talk the talk but walk the walk. This means your business needs to actively engage in activities that benefit society. Whether it’s reducing your carbon footprint, supporting local communities, or ensuring fair labor practices, showing you care makes a difference. Here’s the kicker: when you share these efforts through your communications channels, your brand’s reputation gets a big boost. People love supporting businesses that do good. So, how do you start? First, identify causes that align with your brand values. Then, get involved in meaningful ways and talk about it - on your social media, in press releases, everywhere. Remember, being genuine is key. Don’t just do it for the likes. Do it because it’s right. This approach not only wins the hearts and minds of your audience but sets you apart from competitors. Integrating social responsibility isn’t a one-off task; it’s a continuous commitment that can redefine how the public perceives your brand.

Leveraging Influencer Partnerships for Enhanced Brand Reach

Teaming up with influencers is a game-changer for getting your brand out there. Why? Because influencers have loyal followers who trust what they say. Picture this: when an influencer talks good about your product, it’s like getting a thumbs-up from a friend. Immediate trust boost. Now, getting started, it’s not about picking any influencer. You want someone whose vibe matches your brand. Think of it as matchmaking for business. A fitness brand? Partner with a fitness guru. Tech gadgets? Find a tech enthusiast. This alignment means their audience will likely dig your products too. Remember, it’s not just about having a huge follower count. Sometimes, micro-influencers, with followers in the thousands instead of millions, can get you more bang for your buck. Their followers are often more engaged and loyal. Plus, working with micro-influencers is usually more budget-friendly. So, influencer collaborations? Big potential for spreading the word about your brand. Choose wisely, make authentic connections, and watch your brand reach soar.

The Impact of Internal Communications on Employee Advocacy

Good internal communication is like oil in an engine; it keeps everything running smoothly. When employees understand what’s going on in the company, they feel valued and part of the team. This isn’t just good for morale—it turns them into brand advocates. Think about it. When people feel connected to their work, they’re more likely to talk positively about their company outside work. This boosts your brand’s presence without spending a dime on advertising. Plus, employees who are well-informed are your best bet for spreading the company’s vision and values authentically. So, investing in solid internal communication strategies isn’t just about keeping employees in the loop; it’s about empowering them to amplify your brand’s voice in their circles. Remember, a happy employee is your brand’s best spokesperson.

Utilizing Data Analytics for Tailored Corporate Messaging

Data analytics isn’t just a buzzword. It’s your secret weapon to create messages that resonate. By analyzing data, you can understand who your audience is and what they care about. This means you can craft messages that are spot-on, instead of shooting in the dark and hoping they land. Here’s the thing: nobody likes generic messages. We live in a world flooded with information, so personalization isn’t just nice to have, it’s expected. Use data analytics to segment your audience. Break them down by age, location, or even past purchasing behavior. Once you’ve got those segments, tailor your messages to speak directly to each group’s interests and needs. For example, younger audiences might respond better to messages that are snappy and delivered via social media, while an older demographic might appreciate more detailed information and emails. The bottom line? Use the data. It tells you what your audience likes, and then use that knowledge to talk to them in a way that makes them feel understood. It turns your messages from noise into music to their ears.

Crisis Management Strategies for Today’s Digital World

In today’s fast-paced digital world, a crisis can spread like wildfire across social media and news outlets. That’s why having a solid crisis management strategy is non-negotiable for brands. First, always be prepared. Have a crisis communication plan in place before you need it. This means identifying potential crises and crafting response templates in advance. Second, when a crisis hits, speed is key. You must acknowledge the situation swiftly to control the narrative. This doesn’t mean rushing out an unthought response but rather quickly letting your audience know you’re aware of the issue and are handling it. Third, transparency is crucial. In the digital age, attempts to hide information or mislead the public can backfire spectacularly. Be honest about what happened, what it means for your stakeholders, and what steps you’re taking to resolve the issue. Fourth, monitor the situation closely. Use social media and other online platforms to keep an eye on public sentiment and the spread of information. This will help you adjust your strategy as needed. Lastly, learn from the crisis. Once it’s over, analyze what happened and why. Use these insights to strengthen your crisis management plan and prevent future occurrences. Remember, in the digital age, it’s not about if a crisis will happen, but when. Being prepared can make all the difference.

Conclusion: Building a Resilient Corporate Communications Strategy

In the end, boosting your brand’s presence isn’t just about shouting louder than everyone else. It’s about crafting a resilient corporate communications strategy that can adapt to changes and resonate with your audience. Remember, the core of a strong strategy involves understanding your target, clear messaging, engagement, measuring effectiveness, and being ready to pivot when necessary. By integrating these elements, your brand doesn’t just talk at people but starts meaningful conversations that build lasting relationships. The journey to enhancing your brand’s presence is ongoing, but by focusing on these strategies, you’re setting a solid foundation for success. Keep it straightforward, keep it relevant, and always be prepared to listen and adapt.

Why PR Tools are Essential for Effective Strategic Communications
Introduction to PR Tools in Strategic Communications

In today’s fast-paced world, businesses need to nail their communication strategy. That’s where PR tools come in, playing a vital role. Think of PR tools as your megaphone in a crowded marketplace. They help you shout louder, reach farther, and connect better. These tools aren’t just about sending out press releases anymore. They’ve evolved. Now, we’re talking about software that manages social media, tracks your brand’s mentions across the web, analyzes your outreach efforts, and so much more. In short, PR tools are the Swiss Army knife for any communication professional. They streamline your efforts, making sure your message not only leaves your desk but also lands exactly where you want it to—in the hearts and minds of your audience. Without these tools, you’re just whispering into the void, hoping someone pays attention. With them, you create ripples that can turn into waves. So, let’s dive into why these tools aren’t just nice to have; they’re a must-have in your strategic communication arsenal.

The Role of PR Tools in Building Brand Image

PR tools are game-changers in shaping how people see your brand. They help you spread your message far and wide, ensuring it’s consistent, convincing, and captivating. Think of your brand image as a puzzle; PR tools are the pieces that make the whole picture clear and appealing. Using the right tools lets you control the narrative, highlight your strengths, and swiftly address any concerns that might tarnish your image. They enable you to reach your target audience through the right channels, at the right time, with messages that resonate. Whether it’s social media, press releases, or engaging influencers, each tool plays a pivotal role in solidifying your place in the market and in the minds of consumers. Essentially, they’re not just tools; they’re your allies in building a strong, trustworthy brand image.

How PR Tools Drive Effective Media Relations

PR tools are the backbone of media relations. They help you stay organized, track your results, and build stronger relationships with journalists. With these tools, you can easily send out press releases, monitor media coverage, and engage with your audience on social media. This way, you’re always on top of your game, making sure your message reaches the right people. Think of PR tools as your compass in the vast sea of media. They guide your strategy, ensuring you’re heading in the right direction. Whether it’s finding the perfect journalist for your story or analyzing the impact of your media coverage, PR tools equip you with the insight you need to make informed decisions. They transform guesswork into a tactical game plan. So, if you’re looking to amplify your media relations efforts, investing in the right PR tools is a no-brainer.

The Importance of Analytics and Measurement in PR

In PR, understanding the impact of your campaigns is not just nice to have; it’s crucial. Analytics and measurement are the compass and map in the world of public relations. They help you know if you’re moving in the right direction and how far you’ve come. Without these tools, you’re navigating blind. Imagine launching a campaign and having no idea how many people it reached, how they felt about it, or if it changed any minds. That’s operating in the dark. Analytics light up the path. They show you which messages resonate with your audience and which channels are most effective. Measurement goes further, quantifying your efforts. It can reveal, for instance, that your latest press release led to a 20% spike in web traffic or that social media engagement has doubled since your last campaign. Essentially, without the insights provided by analytics and measurement, improving your PR strategies becomes a game of guesswork. You don’t know what worked, what didn’t, or why. Using these tools, you can fine-tune your approaches, justify your budget, and, importantly, demonstrate the value of your work to stakeholders. So, ignoring analytics and measurement in PR isn’t just an oversight; it’s a missed opportunity to drive your strategies with precision and confidence.

Enhancing Social Media Engagement with PR Tools

PR tools aren’t just fluff; they’re your best bet for getting noticed on social media. Think of them as a secret weapon. They help you track what people say about your brand, find influencers who can shout out your name, and even help you figure out the best time to post content. With the right PR tool, you’re not just throwing posts into the void and hoping for the best. You’re making every tweet, every Instagram story, and every Facebook post count. They turn the overwhelming chaos of social media into something you can manage and excel at. For instance, using a scheduling tool lets you plan your posts when most of your audience is online, not just when you remember to post. And analytics? They show you which posts hit the mark, so you can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. It’s about getting smarter with your efforts. So yes, investing in a PR tool might just be the game-changer for boosting your social media engagement.

Content Management: Organizing and Distributing Information

In the realm of strategic communications, content management stands as a pivotal process. It’s all about how we organize and distribute the information that our audience consumes. Without a streamlined system, crucial messages could get lost in the noise, making your efforts feel like shouting into the wind. PR tools come into play by offering a robust framework to keep everything in check. They allow teams to strategically curate, categorize, and disseminate content across various channels, ensuring that the right message reaches the right audience at the perfect time. This is no minor feat, considering the sheer volume of information shared daily. By leveraging PR tools for content management, organizations can craft coherent narratives, maintain consistency in their messaging, and significantly boost their visibility in a crowded marketplace. It’s like having a well-oiled machine where every piece of content, no matter how small, plays a critical role in the larger strategy. This methodical approach not only maximizes impact but also streamlines workflows, leading to more efficient and effective communication efforts. So, if your goal is to cut through the clutter and make your voice heard, understanding and implementing sound content management practices through PR tools is not just advantageous — it’s essential.

Crisis Management: Preparing and Responding with PR Tools

When a crisis hits, it’s like a storm rattling your organization’s windows. The right PR tools turn you into a skilled weatherman, predicting storms and fortifying your house ahead of time. Here’s the skinny: without PR tools, you’re basically shouting into the wind, hoping someone hears you over the howl. With them, you control the narrative.

Preparing means having software that monitors social media and news, keeping an ear to the ground for any whisper of trouble. It’s about crafting messages in advance for a range of scenarios so that you can respond swiftly. Imagine having a toolbox where every tool is precisely what you need to fix a specific problem. That’s your PR software during a crisis.

Responding with PR tools means hitting ‘send’ on those pre-made messages, tweaking them as the situation unfolds. It’s about using analytics to see how your message is being received and adjusting your strategy in real time. Ever played a video game where you have to adapt to survive? It’s like that, but the stakes are real.

In both preparing and responding, the goal is to maintain your organization’s integrity and public trust. Think of PR tools as your shield and sword, defending your reputation and cutting through the noise to deliver your message clearly. Without them, you’re entering the battlefield unarmed.

Case Studies: Success Stories Using PR Tools

Big names and smart startups have one thing in common: they use PR tools to make waves. Take Airbnb as an example. Before becoming the giant it is today, Airbnb turned to strategic PR moves that involved unique listings and experiences that got everyone talking. They crafted stories that media outlets couldn’t resist, boosting their visibility without the high costs of traditional advertising. Another success story is Dropbox. They opted for a simple but effective PR tool: referral incentives. By offering extra storage for both the referrer and referee, Dropbox’s user base skyrocketed. These incentives were a PR masterstroke, creating a buzz and driving massive user engagement without splurging on ads. These case studies prove that with the right PR tools, even simple strategies can yield outsized results. It’s about creativity, understanding your audience, and leveraging tools that turn heads. That’s the secret sauce of effective strategic communications.

Integrating PR Tools into Your Communication Strategy

Integrating PR tools like employee advocacy into your communication strategy is a smart move. These tools help you manage your public image and ensure your message reaches the right audience. This isn’t just about sending out press releases anymore. Think bigger. Social media management, content creation platforms, analytics software, and email marketing services are all part of the PR toolkit now. Why? Because they offer you direct channels to your audience, ways to craft compelling narratives, track how your content performs, and tweak your strategy in real time. Imagine you’re trying to build a house. PR tools are your hammer, nails, and blueprint. Without them, you’re just sitting on a pile of wood, hoping it’ll turn into a home. Start by identifying your goals. What message are you trying to spread? Who needs to hear it? Once you’ve got that down, choose tools that fit those needs. Maybe you start with a social media scheduler to keep your posts consistent. Then, add analytics to see what’s hitting the mark. Keep it simple at first. As you get more comfortable, you can add more sophisticated tools to your arsenal. Remember, the goal isn’t just to talk at your audience. It’s to engage with them, understand their needs, and respond effectively. PR tools make this a heck of a lot easier.

Conclusion: The Future of PR Tools in Strategic Communications

As we peer into the future of strategic communications, it’s clear that the role of PR tools is not just important—it’s indispensable. The landscape of media and public relations is evolving at breakneck speed, driven by digital innovation and changing consumer behaviors. PR tools are at the forefront of harnessing these changes, enabling professionals to craft and disseminate messages more efficiently and effectively than ever before. The days of relying solely on traditional media outlets are fading, making way for a more dynamic, interactive approach to engaging with audiences. With the ability to analyze data, monitor brand mentions across the web, and automate repetitive tasks, PR tools provide a competitive edge that is hard to match. As we move forward, those who embrace these tools will find themselves well-equipped to navigate the complexities of today’s media landscape, ensuring their message not only reaches its intended audience but resonates with them. Therefore, investing in and understanding PR tools isn’t just advisable; it’s essential to staying relevant and achieving success in the realm of strategic communications.

Engaging Podcasters in the Cannabis Space: A Unique Approach

In the rapidly evolving cannabis industry, public relations (PR) strategies that stand out are not just beneficial—they're essential. Among the most effective ways to amplify your brand’s voice in this crowded market is by tapping into the burgeoning world of podcasting. Podcasts offer an intimate, engaging platform to share your story, connect with cannabis enthusiasts, and position your brand as a thought leader. However, engaging podcasters in the cannabis space requires a nuanced approach, one that respects the unique landscape of cannabis culture and the legal intricacies it navigates.

Understanding the Cannabis Podcast Landscape

Firstly, it's vital to recognize that cannabis-themed podcasts operate within a spectrum. On one end, there are shows focused on the horticultural aspects of cannabis, aimed at growers and cultivators. On the other, tech-focused podcasts explore innovations in cannabis technology, from cultivation tech to consumer gadgets. Then there are lifestyle podcasts, which cater to a broader audience, including cannabis enthusiasts interested in culture, legalization news, and entertainment.

To effectively engage podcasters, you must first identify where your brand fits within this spectrum. Tailoring your pitch to align with a podcast's specific focus not only increases the likelihood of engagement but also ensures that your message reaches the most relevant audience.

Crafting Your Pitch

When reaching out to podcasters, personalization is key. Generic, mass-produced pitches are less likely to resonate. Instead, take the time to listen to several episodes of the podcast and understand its tone, format, and audience. Use this information to explain why your brand or story is a good fit.

Here are a few tips for crafting your pitch:

Highlight What Makes You Unique: Whether it’s your sustainable growing practices, innovative technology, or unique brand story, make sure to convey what sets you apart from others in the cannabis space.

Offer Value: Consider what you can offer that adds value to the podcast and its listeners. This could be insights from your industry experience, exclusive data, or an interesting angle on current cannabis trends.

Be Mindful of Legal Considerations: Given the legal complexities surrounding cannabis, ensure that your pitch respects the boundaries of what content creators can discuss or promote.

Building Relationships with Podcasters

Beyond the pitch, building genuine relationships with podcasters can yield long-term benefits. Attend industry events, engage with podcasters on social media, and consider collaborating on content beyond podcast episodes. Showing support for the cannabis podcasting community can help position your brand as an active participant in the industry, rather than just another business looking for publicity.

Leveraging Your Podcast Appearances

Once you’ve secured a podcast appearance, it’s important to maximize its impact. Promote the episode across your own marketing channels, engage with listeners who comment or ask questions about your segment, and consider repurposing your podcast content for other platforms, such as blog posts or social media snippets.

Conclusion

Engaging with podcasters in the cannabis space offers a unique opportunity to connect with your target audience in a meaningful way. By understanding the landscape, crafting thoughtful pitches, and building genuine relationships, your brand can harness the power of podcasting to amplify its voice. Remember, success in cannabis PR is not just about getting your story out there—it’s about ensuring it resonates with the right people.

Innovations in Corporate Communications: How Technology is Changing the Game
Introduction to Corporate Communications

Corporate communications is all about how a company talks to the world, including its employees. It’s how they pass information, promote their brand, and keep everyone in the loop about what’s going on. With technology evolving, the way companies communicate has taken a big leap forward. Gone are the days of just emails and memos. Now, we’ve got social media, instant messaging apps, and video calls making communication faster and more interactive. This shift is changing the game, making it easier for companies to share news, handle crises, and stay connected with their audience and team members no matter where they are. It’s important to keep up with these changes because they’re setting the standard for how businesses operate and engage with people today.

The Role of Technology in Shaping Modern Corporate Communications

Technology is revolutionizing how businesses talk to the world and to each other. Long gone are the days of waiting for snail mail or fax updates. Email, instant messaging, and social media platforms have made communication immediate and more interactive. Video conferencing lets us have face-to-face meetings without the need to travel, breaking down geographical barriers and saving tons of time. Cloud-based tools enable seamless collaboration on documents and presentations, ensuring that teams can work together in real time, no matter where they are. All these advancements mean decisions are made faster, ideas are shared more freely, and the collaboration has never been easier. Essentially, technology has made corporate communication not just a function, but a cornerstone of modern business strategy.

Key Technologies Revolutionizing Corporate Communications

Technology has kicked corporate communications into overdrive, and here’s how. Social Media Platforms have turned into a powerhouse for real-time engagement, making companies more accessible to their audience. Then, there’s Collaboration Software like Slack and Microsoft Teams. These tools break down the walls within an organization, promoting seamless interaction across departments. Cloud Computing is another game-changer, allowing for easy access to data and applications, anywhere, anytime, which is perfect for the modern, mobile workforce. Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots are providing a 24⁄7 communication line, handling inquiries and offering solutions without a blink. Lastly, Video Conferencing Tools have redefined face-to-face meetings, making distance a trivial matter. Each of these technologies is reshaping how companies talk, listen, and connect, making every interaction more immediate, engaging, and insightful.

The Impact of Social Media on Corporate Messaging

Social media has completely changed how companies talk to us. Gone are the days when our only source of company news was through press releases or official announcements. Now, one tweet or Instagram story can give us the scoop on what’s new and happening. This shift holds power - both good and bad. On the bright side, companies can now chat with us directly, making everything feel more personal and immediate. They can share their wins, tell us about new products fast, and get our feedback right away. But, there’s a flip side. A small mess-up on social media can spiral into a huge problem for a company’s image in just hours. Plus, with everyone on social media, companies have to be on their toes 24⁄7, ready to jump into conversations or put out fires at any moment. This new reality means companies have had to up their game. They’re not just sending out messages; they’re engaging, listening, and adapting based on what they learn from us on social media. It’s a whole new world for corporate communication, and it’s moving fast. Companies that can ride this wave well find themselves building stronger relationships with us, their audience. The ones that can’t? Well, we all see how quickly tides can turn on social media.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality: New Frontiers in Corporate Communications

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are stepping stones into uncharted territories of corporate communications. These technologies have bulldozed the traditional barriers, making room for immersive experiences. Imagine holding a product prototype in your hand without it physically being there or walking through an office on the other side of the globe without leaving your home. That’s the power of VR and AR. Companies are using VR for training employees in lifelike scenarios without the real-world risks. AR, on the other hand, overlays digital information onto the real world, enhancing understanding and engagement. For example, an AR app can project product specs directly onto the equipment you’re fixing or planning to buy. These technologies are not just fancy gadgets but essential tools that reshape how we communicate, learn, and make decisions in the corporate space. They break down complex concepts into understandable experiences, making information not just seen but felt. And let’s not forget, they make meetings more than staring at faces on a screen; they turn them into shared virtual adventures. This leap into VR and AR in corporate communications is more than a trend; it’s a new foundation being laid for the future of interaction, training, and decision-making in businesses worldwide.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Corporate Communications

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are turning corporate communications on its head. Here’s the scoop. These technologies help companies figure out the best ways to talk to their customers and employees. AI can analyze vast amounts of data from social media, emails, and other communication channels to pinpoint trends. This means companies can craft messages that hit the mark every time.

Machine Learning goes a step further by learning from past communications. It gets smarter over time, fine-tuning messages to be even more effective. For example, if an email campaign didn’t get the response hoped for, ML can tweak future messages to get a better reaction. This isn’t just guesswork; it’s data-driven communication at its best.

Plus, AI-powered chatbots are now a thing. They can handle customer queries round the clock, providing instant responses. This boosts customer satisfaction and frees up human employees to tackle more complex tasks.

In summary, AI and ML are not just buzzwords. They’re powerful tools that are reshaping how companies talk to the world. And the best part? They’re getting better every day.

The Rise of Mobile Communication Platforms

Mobile communication platforms have blasted onto the scene, revolutionizing how companies talk both internally and externally. Gone are the days when emails were the go-to. Now, it’s all about instant messaging, video calls, and shared workspaces. Platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom are leading the charge, making communication faster, more efficient, and surprisingly, more human. The beauty of these platforms? They put everyone just a tap away, breaking down the traditional barriers of time zones and office walls. Teams can collaborate in real-time, share files on the fly, and stay connected like never before. This shift isn’t just convenient; it’s becoming essential in our fast-paced, digital-first world. Whether you’re working from home, the office, or halfway across the globe, the message is clear: mobile communication platforms are here to stay, and they’re reshaping the fabric of corporate communication.

Integrating Big Data and Analytics into Corporate Strategies

Integrating big data and analytics into corporate strategies is like giving your team superpowers. With the right data, companies can make smarter decisions, understand their customers better, and spot trends before they become obvious to everyone else. Think about it as having a crystal ball. By analyzing large amounts of data, businesses can predict customer behavior, improve products, and even create new services that meet emerging needs.

Here’s the kicker: it’s not just about having the data. It’s about knowing what to do with it. Companies need to invest in powerful analytics tools and hire or train data experts who can make sense of the numbers. This combination helps businesses to not only gather data but also to interpret it in ways that can guide strategic decisions.

For example, a retail company might use big data to analyze shopping patterns, helping them to stock items that are likely to sell well and phase out those that aren’t. Likewise, a streaming service might analyze viewing habits to suggest shows or movies you’re more likely to enjoy.

In short, integrating big data and analytics is a game-changer for corporate strategies. It allows companies to be more agile, predictive, and responsive to changes in the market or customer preferences. And in today’s fast-paced world, that’s not just nice to have; it’s essential.

Challenges and Considerations in Adopting New Technologies

Jumping on the tech bandwagon in corporate communications isn’t always straightforward. Companies face real challenges and must weigh several considerations. First, there’s the cost. Implementing new technology can be pricey, involving not just the initial outlay but also ongoing expenses like training and maintenance. Then there’s the learning curve. Employees need time to get up to speed with new tools, which can slow things down at first. Compatibility issues can also arise, making it tricky to ensure new tech works smoothly with existing systems. Security is another big concern. New technology opens new doors for cyber threats, demanding robust security measures. Finally, there’s resistance to change. Not everyone is eager to abandon familiar processes for unknown tech, no matter how promising it might seem. Adopting new technology in corporate communications is a balancing act, requiring careful consideration of these challenges.

The Future of Corporate Communications: Trends and Predictions

The future of corporate communications is bright, with technology steering the ship. Here’s a straightforward look at what’s coming. First, expect artificial intelligence (AI) to play a bigger part. AI can create personalized content for internal and external audiences, making communications more relevant. Then, there’s augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). These tools can bring a new level of engagement, making remote meetings feel like you’re in the same room. Don’t forget about instant messaging platforms evolving to become key internal communication tools, cutting down email overload. Social media will also change, becoming a primary channel not just for marketing, but for real-time corporate communication. Finally, data analytics will help us understand the impact of our communications like never before, ensuring messages hit the mark. In summary, expect communications to get more personal, immersive, and data-driven. These trends are not just predictions; they’re the direction we’re heading, driven by technology’s incessant march forward.

What Does Employee Advocacy Have to do with Influencer Communications?
Shaping Influence

PR Case study: Steps to get your content read, viewed and remembered

https://youtu.be/LsxlmhBPoE0

Shaping Influence®: Connecting brands with target audiences

Influencer communications is a concept that eludes many of our fellow flacks and marketers, for whom the inability to prove a campaign's value and financial worth is increasingly problematic. Believe it or not, some companies are okay with that, and results that hover close to the status quo. They're complacent, led by managers who care just enough to make sure current strategies perform close to expectations.

While results bordering a notch or two above grossly underwhelming may merit a participation trophy, empowered brands have a shaping influence on the marketplace that can be measured.

Influencers: Engagement or Communications?

Influencer Communications is a 360-degree approach to communications and marketing. Combining tried and true marketing methods with multichannel engagement ensures that the right messages reach the right person at the right time. While you might not be leveraging celebrity or micro-influencers of any type right now, there are some high-value candidates walking your hallways, working at the next cubicle, and sitting across from you in meetings.

It’s your own employees.

Why Social Selling is so successful

Employee Advocacy & Social Selling on LinkedIn

Where traditional marketing relies on sponsored posts, re-marketing, paid placements and ads, Influencer Communications are organic and tap into the existing social reach of your workforce - from the C-Suite on down.

Smart companies are hiring sales and biz dev people that take full advantage of LinkedIn, Twitter, MeetUp Groups and Facebook to keep in touch with former, current and potential customers, agents and potential partners.

It boggles my mind - really - how such a powerful tool is so tragically underutilized. People from all departments can positively influence perception, and communications and marketing teams can measure the value of their engagement.

Posts from corporate accounts are necessary, and for the most part, serve a distinct purpose. But when friends and trusted colleagues recommend an article, case study or research report, it's personal. Authenticity counts, and every click, like, and share helps populate evergreen newsfeeds with your brand's messages.

Influencer Communications need as many people as possible in your company to get involved. Your executives, business development team and anyone else that drives day-to-day operations are directly (or indirectly) connected to your target audience.

Influencer Communications First Steps

Influencer Communications begins with content that your brand ambassadors can leverage.

Content type and message can vary depending on your industry and target customer. Some popular choices include multimedia, infographics, video testimonials and case studies, white papers, blogs, etc, In most cases, it’s considered best practice to develop assets that fall into all of these categories.

The more assets you have, the better your chances that employee advocacy and brand ambassador campaigns will move the proverbial needle. With some planning, building a cache of assets can be done quickly. For example, marketers can dissect a single case study into a variety of photos, videos, blogs and other repurposed assets.

Employee Advocacy with CEI: JMRConnect's award-winning platform

As you’re developing your assets, be mindful of the methods by which you plan to use them. The many social media platforms will become an integral part of your plan. Analyzing your target audience will tell you which you should be using — and avoiding. If your target audience isn’t using Instagram, it might not make sense to produce many photo-based assets.

As I mentioned in a previous article, LinkedIn is an essential medium of B2B marketing. Hubspot found that traffic from LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74 percent, almost three times (277 percent) higher than Twitter (.69 percent) and Facebook (77 percent). If your company has any focus on B2B transactions, it would behoove you to focus on developing blogs and thought leadership articles that can be shared on LinkedIn.

Facebook is also a very powerful messaging medium. In a study conducted by Facebook, Unicorn: A System for Searching the Social Graph, the company indicated that the average Facebook user has approximately 130 friends. Leveraging those friends of your employees, and their friends, can have an exponential effect in spreading your message.

Inform & Educate: Bridge the Gap Between Sales and Marketing

Bridge the Gap Between Marketing & Sales

Once you identify the mediums best for your business and create assets, it’s time to get your employee involved. An influencer-based engagement effort should be clearly articulated to employees, easy for them to participate in, and potentially even incentivized.

All assets should be easy to locate and your employees should be given tools to help them share the content quickly and easily.

For example, to drive and sustain adoption, program managers must regularly provide a list of assets (perhaps via a weekly email), along with pre-written comments they can use in their social media posts. Again, the goal is to make sharing brand content as simple as possible for employees, removing any points of friction. This method also has the benefit of creating a unified message.

If you share content, you must measure the effectiveness of engagement to its being shared with the right people via the right medium. There are, of course, tools to help this measuring and analysis of the effectiveness of your engagement.

Do Influencer Communications Work?

Ummm...you tell me?

Award-winning Employee Advocacy

Recent studies show how influencer-based marketing outperforms traditional methods by a wide margin. Collective Bias, a company specializing in influencing campaigns for brands and retailers, performed a recent study that underscored the value of influencer content. Results showed that consumers view content from influencers seven times longer than a digital display ad (two minutes and eight seconds compared to 19.2 seconds).

Shaping Influence with Viral Marketing

Social sharing on LinkedIn is very powerful.

All those statistics aside, we shouldn’t need any data other than common sense to know that Influencer Communications is effective. This descendant of word-of-mouth marketing is tailored for digital communications.

Research from Nielsen shows that 92 percent of consumers trust word of mouth recommendations over any other form of advertising.

Research from Ogilvy, Google, and TNS that showed that 74 percent of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision.

Influencer Communications takes the “word-of-mouth” and augments it with communication on social media. Despite the change in how the message is being delivered, the outcome is the same: highly effective engagement that moves the needle and bring in sales.

Lastly, barrier to entry is very low, because the delivery mechanism is already on your payroll...in case you needed another reason to buy-in.

Best Public Relations Agency: MD Daily Record honors JMRConnect as top firm in Baltimore
Shaping Influence

  The Daily Record’s 2018 Reader Rankings are in and JMRConnect has been voted a top PR Agency by readers. More than 1,400 nominations were collected during the nomination period in March. The winners were determined by more than 12,600 votes cast from April 30 to May 14.

“The Daily Record’s business and legal professionals are proud of the outstanding businesses they work with and support throughout the state of Maryland,” The Daily Record publisher Suzanne Fischer-Huettner said. “Our readers voted, and we are excited to reveal the 2018 Reader Rankings honorees."

NIKE and Foot Locker Tap Employees as Brand Advocates
pr firms in baltimore

Employee Social Advocacy: Connect. Engage. Influence.

Foot Locker recently announced a new development to its collaborative relationship with Nike – creating an optimized in-store customer experience through the addition of two popular pop-up shop apps. The Sneakeasy NYC and House of Hoops apps offer fans early access to Nike and Jordan gear through social media interaction, online reservations, and VIP/PLUS membership. This joint effort to enhance the consumer experience is predicated on employee advocacy and brand awareness.

Employee advocacy has become one of the most applied concepts in the modern business world, as demonstrated by the most recent expansion to the Foot Locker and Nike partnership. It is vital that the correct staff be enlisted, as they must demonstrate both enthusiasm towards the products they are selling and pride for the brand they are representing. Nike and Foot Locker have labeled their workers for this project “Nike Pro Athletes” and “Nike Pro Leads” – emphasizing the priority placed on employee advocacy and brand awareness.

The employee advocacy initiative suggests businesses recognize their personnel as brand ambassadors, since they are the ones working closely with the products and services they develop and sell. It is exceedingly imperative for an employee to feel connected to the brand they represent, as they will be much more inclined to promote that brand; due to the fact that it symbolizes an extension of their own personal identity.

Employees have certainly become dynamic marketing tools, utilized to promote brand identity and better connect consumers with the businesses they are patronizing. The concept applies to all businesses, regardless of product or customer base; employees are becoming major parts of marketing initiatives, largely because they are a previously unheard voice that comes with an inherent level of trust.

More than 2/3 of our population gets their news and information on social media; amplifying visibility on these channels is a must.

Employee advocacy works because people are more likely to take action when a recommendation comes from a trusted source. According to Social Media Today, content shared by employees receives 8X more engagement than content shared by brand channels. Unlike advertising and paid influencer marketing, employee advocacy is an organic, natural extension of 1-on-1 digital communications.

Key messages, delivered by a friend, colleague, or connection, are naturally more trustworthy than a company post – sponsored or not. Simply put, personal recommendations have a shaping influence that cannot be matched by paid-for, subjective advertisements.

CEI, which stands for connect-engage-influence, is a customizable platform that allows communications and marketing teams maximize the value of the content they create and raise its organic visibility across social forums, including LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram – with a single click.

Customers referred by advocates have a 37% higher retention rate. Interested in learning more? Send us an email at [email protected] with Employee Advocacy in the subject line to tap into your most under utilized branding resource, and to give your brand a shaping influence!

 

Amplify PR With Employee Advocacy: connect. engage. influence.
PR Agency

Awarded the 2017 SABRE award for "Best Marketing Technology," JMRConnect CEI proves that employee advocacy on social media has a profound effect on brand integrity.

Why was JMRConnect honored over several of the largest global agencies? Because we understand that earned media is inherently more credible than other forms of marketing, by virtue of being content created by an independent 3rd-party. But in today's world where more than 50% of our population gets their news and information on social media, amplifying visibility on these channels is a must. Unlike paid influencer marketing, which can produce handsome dividends, employee advocacy is a more natural extension of corporate communications and PR, as it organically raises visibility.

CEI, which stands for connect-engage-influence, is a customizable platform that helps communications and marketing teams maximize the value of the content they create and raise its organic visibility across social forums, including LinkedIn, Facebook,YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram - with a single click. Key messages, delivered by a friend, colleague, or connection, are naturally more trustworthy than a company post - sponsored or not. Simply put, personal recommendations have a shaping influence that cannot be matched by paid-for, subjective advertisements. Our Sabre award win was based on the data and results from a  case study with Yorktel, a longtime client.

“People tend to listen more when a message comes from their peers, whereas messages posted to a corporate entity can be tuned out as self-promoting and sales-oriented.  YorktelShare not only helps us exponentially increase the visibility of our posts, it also ensures that important news and information is kept consistent when our employees share company news on social media platforms,” said Samantha Osowski, vice president of marketing, Yorktel.

One click from a user sends approved messages across integrated popular social channels from its proprietary platform, so users don’t have to recreate the wheel.

Defining a concrete interest group within the CEI platform helps employee advocates invite followers into the program through personalized invitations and links, instantly making them part of a community of like-minded, targeted participants that then also become deputy brand advocates, so to speak.  With each share, click and like, the content becomes more relevance and with a shaping influence among constituencies worldwide.  Because posts shared through JMRConnect CEI appear as first-person recommendations, not promoted content.

"The form helps brands build credibility and expand reach,” she added.  “One click takes content viral, extending earned media value while promoting approved brand messages on multiple channels.”

The platform fills a gap in corporate communications' capabilities between content creation and sales & marketing. In addition to increasing visibility for earned media, CEI empowers social selling by providing sales leaders and teams tools to find and share branded content easily to influence buying decisions for existing prospects and new leads.  Deep analytics capabilities increase ROI by allowing leadership to measure engagement and run cost-benefit analyses. PR and corporate communications professionals are too often fighting an uphill battle when it comes to convincing employees to share company content, and in many cases, just making them aware of media coverage, case studies, whitepapers and other content is shockingly difficult. CEI solves these problems by not only pushing this information to them, but by also empowering them to share on multiple social media platforms with a single click. They no longer have to take time away from their jobs to search for this information and create individual posts. Each post is developed for them and tailored for the respective platforms.

Amplifying organic visibility and quantifying the value of each campaign has never been easier.

 

Here's How Shaping Influence Drives Brands

 New forms of marketing are seldom accepted with arms wide open. When online advertising first became a thing, marketers looked askance, wondering how this badly fractured media almost specifically geared toward basement-dwellers under 30 could ever possibly replace broadcast and print. Fast forward about 20 years, and we've seen how well it works. Now, we're having a similar moment about social media marketing, and new studies are showing how shaping influence can be a big gain for marketers.  Travel brands, for example, routinely turn to shaping influence as a means to connect with users on social media, going after...

Funny, Informative Earned Media Gives Brands Best Return

Figuring out just which media to use in an advertising mix can be a challenge. After all, with so many different types from print to television to online and social, that's a lot of different fronts to cover with no guarantee of success in any of them. A new report reveals that in some of the biggest markets on Earth, earned media—promotion that's gained through someone else's mention instead of something that's paid for—is still delivering a lot of value.

With 62 percent of Chinese respondents, 47 percent of U.S. respondents and 44 percent of UK respondents all coming out in favor of earned media, it's clear this approach should be front-of-mind for many marketers.

Moreover, what customers want in that marketing varies according to the need at the time. For instance, content that has an emotional impact like making someone laugh gives it a better chance to be shared. The UK shares funny content most readily at 31 percent, followed by the U.S. at 26 percent and China at 18 percent. Content that offers information is valuable as well, with 46 percent of U.S. respondents, 47 percent UK and 50 percent China all planning to share content with product information. (Read more)

6 advantages for banks, equity investors, financial planners and wealth managers to grow their business with social media

In a professional setting, most people would agree that referrals from a trusted colleague or other reliable source are inherently more credible than ads or cold calls. That same logic applies online, and affirms the value of social media engagement.

When people in your professional network (think LinkedIn connections) share, like and comment on your news and other content, they are extending a personal referral. Except on social media, that recommendation is to a mass audience, not just one person. Of note, is that according to LinkedIn Sales Solutions’ report, 78% of ‘social sellers’ outperform peers who don’t use social media.

But herein lies the rub. The stereotype, too often accepted by those in the financial sphere, is that social media amounts to something of a frill: an afterthought or add-on to a conventional sales and marketing strategy. Yet if smart business leaders hope to reach a captive audience of consumers and prospective customers where they spend a majority of their time, it’s not possible to ignore the vast audiences social media sites attract. (read more)

Where to Find the Best Brand Ambassadors

 Whether effective marketing has outright eluded your company or if you have an effective marketing strategy but you know it could be better, there is probably something very powerful you are missing — “Influencer Communications.” Also known as “Influencer Engagement,” this powerful marketing approach combines next-generation and traditional marketing methods and funnels them to and through purchasing influencers of various types. While you might not be leveraging influencers of any type right now, there is one that is walking your hallways, working at your desks, and sitting across from you in meetings. It’s your own employees.

Indeed, as traditional marketing chiefly relies on a sales and marketing team, Influencer Communications can harness the social power of the many other people and departments within your organization that have the ability to positively influence customers and help usher in new business. Due to their relationships and social media connections to potential customers, your executives, business development team, and anyone else in the company that helps drive day-to-day operations are directly or indirectly connected to your target audience. As such, the goal for Influencer Communications is to get everyone in your company involved in outreaching to your target audience. (read more)

Does your content need more cowbell?

According to 2016 research done by Pew Research Center, 62 percent of adults get their news on social media. Not only are social media sites Facebook, Twiiter, and Reddit being turned to for B2B news, the research also shows that users of sites like LinkedIn more actively seek out news as opposed to simply happening upon it; 51% of LinkedIn’s reported 450 million users actively seek out news on the platform. As news consumption is moving to social media, reported ClickZ, homepages become less important for readers, and that, “it’s OK to accept that the traffic is directed differently nowadays.” Coupled with findings from DMR showing the increase in LinkedIn member page views from 37 billion in Q4 2015 to 45 billion in Q1 2016, the writing is on the wall.

At the same time, there’s been a shift in how consumers feel about marketing messages from strangers versus those from trusted sources, or influencers. Collective Bias, a company specializing in influencing campaigns for brands and retailers, performed a recent study that underscored the value of influencer-based content. Results showed that consumers view content from influencers seven times longer than a digital display ad (two minutes, eight seconds versus 19.2 seconds). In short, consumers trust content from sources they trust. Thankfully, your organization is probably full of trusted influencers ready to be leveraged.

This might all feel overwhelming to a busy marketer, and yet all of these changes must be taken into consideration if you want your content to not just be consumed, but to also resonate. Luckily, this can be accomplished with the following 4 steps (continue reading)

Influencer Communications: How and Why to Influence the Influencers

 In a recent Shaping Influence article, Paula Bernier explains a bit about the importance of engagement. Why have the faces of anonymous models on the covers of magazines and in TV commercials been replaced with those of celebrities, musicians and supermodels? The answer is influence.

Style makers from the big (meaning movie) and small (now including computer and smartphone as well as TV) screens can, of course, be actresses and singers, as well as the kid down the block or a popular blogger. Indeed, the internet has democratized the world of communications and influence. But the fact remains that there are still some people who are able to draw a (physical and/or virtual) crowd and impact the decision making of those around them.

These individuals have come to be known as influencers. And these influencers are shaking up the worlds of advertising and marketing.

Influencer marketing is the fastest-growing online customer acquisition channel of those marketers polled by Tomoson, which estimates that businesses make $6.50 for every dollar they spend on influencer marketing.  About 40 percent of those polled by analytics company Annalect and Twitter said they've purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine or YouTube. And Digital Visitor says influencer marketing has become an essential part of the strategies in the fashion, hospitality, retail and travel sectors.

Anthony Rawlins, managing director for Digital Visitor, in a recent report noted that a Google study from 2014 indicates the internet is the clear leader in inspiring leisure travel decisions, while TV follows as a distant second. Yet, he added, it can be difficult to track the impact of influencer marketing due to a lack of industry standards of measurement related to it.  However, Rawlins said that organizations with an interest in engaging with influencers in an effort to promote their products might consider inviting these individuals to participate in themed experiences. For example, he suggested, a business could invite an influencer and his or her mother to be part of a Mother’s Day event or promotion. Twitter Chats are another means of connecting with influencers and their followers...continue reading

Influencer Communications & Marketing Is a Multifaceted Opportunity to Share Authentic Messages with Customers

Recently on Shaping Influence, Tracey Schelmetic notes how when social media was a few years old, and expanded beyond family vacation photos and cat videos, marketers started to become aware of something interesting: unlike any channel in the past, it could be used to spread subtle messages virally, particularly through the people who wielded a lot of influence in social media. Smart companies began creating messages that were mostly likely to be shared virally, particularly by people who had a lot of friends and followers. They began calling it “influence marketing."

Since the earliest days of social media, customers have begun to use these platforms for more than memes and selfies. They’ve begun following the companies they like, sharing worthwhile information, and even using the channels to communicate with companies for customer support or feedback.

“The degree of influence varies from person to person and platform to platform,” wrote Maggie Marton for BlogPaws recently. “But the core concept is the same: You are known to your readers. They like you. Most importantly, they trust you. So, when you suggest a product or ask for a click or a share, they’re more included to do it than if it came from, say, a big retailer.”

In the same way that people trust the opinions of friends and family more when it comes to recommendations on purchasing decisions...KEEP READING

Credibility and Knowledge Translate to Value in the World of Influencer Communications & Social Engagement

 A recent post on Shaping Influence addresses how in the dizzyingly fickle and fast-paced world of influencer communications, engagement and social media, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for organizations to separate value and expertise from the fakers and the cheaters. Companies need a clear game plan to navigate this complicated and crowded world while retaining brand integrity and credibility. A recent Expertcity whitepaper offers some guidelines to organizations regarding the impact and effectiveness of social reach, expertise, credibility and trust.

For instance, according to Fast Company, 91 percent of brand mentions on social media originate from accounts with fewer than 500 followers. These mentions may be much more powerful and influential than an off-topic plug from an account with thousands or millions of followers. There is a very clear distinction between true influence, resulting in brand awareness and sales, and “vanity metrics” such as likes, shares and comments that never translate to any measurable value.  Companies need to understand and build on the value of social media influencers who have actual first-hand experience with their products and brands, an interest in sharing this expertise with others and the capability to speak about products knowledgeably. Keep reading >>>

The goal of Influencer Communications is to engage the people connected to your target audience

 Influencer Communications, also known as “Influencer Engagement,” is a powerful marketing approach that combines next-generation and traditional marketing methods and funnels them to and through purchasing influencers of various types. While you might not be leveraging influencers of any type right now, there is one that is walking your hallways, working at your desks, and sitting across from you in meetings. It’s your own employees. Due to their relationships and social media connections to current and potential customers, your executives, business development team, and anyone else in the company that helps drive day-to-day operations are directly or indirectly connected to your target audience. As such, the goal for Influencer Communications is to get everyone in your company involved in outreaching to your target audience.

A prerequisite of Influencer Communications is having content your influencers can leverage. Content can vary depending on your industry and target customer; however it is common to develop assets such as case studies, white papers, blogs, videos, and photos. In most cases, it’s considered best practice to develop assets that fall into all of these categories. As we will discuss, having many assets will improve your influencers’ abilities to succeed. Click here to continue reading

Social Influences Drawing Interest from Biggest Brands Around

 Shaping Influence: There's no doubt that social media is drawing users. It's also proving to be one of the more popular methods to get in touch with a brand by regular consumers. That contact works both ways, and major brands are increasingly turning to social influencers to draw attention and potential customers to a brand. Read Steve Anderson's take on Shaping Influence how SharkReach is tackling influencer engagement>>>

Influencer Relations: A primer on identifying influencers, engaging and measuring success

“Influencer Communications,” or “Influencer Engagement” is more than a buzzword; it’s a formula that combines multi-channel advocacy, content and social marketing with "traditional" public relations and corporate communications. From analysts and media to customers, employees and partners, the types of influencers — and ways they’re in which they’re engaged — vary, and are what make this method unique. Check out my latest post on Shaping Influence for insight on identifying influencers, engaging and quantifying success. Click here >>>

Influencer Content Holds User Attention Seven Times Longer than Display Ads

 The latest installment in Shaping Influence sheds light on some very interesting data. Findings from Collective Bias's Time on Content feature, which offers a key indicator as to the relevancy of influencer content, consumers view their influencer content for an average duration of two minutes and eight seconds—almost seven times longer than the digital display ad average of 19.2 seconds based on viewability standards measured by Moat Analytics. Click here to read more on this compelling report >>>

Counting on 'Social Capital': The New Way to Evaluate Entrepreneurial Worth

 The latest on Shaping Influence. In this post, contributor Chris Hale, CEO and Founder of kountable, Inc., talks about developing Social Capital. Click here to read Chris's insight on how you can attract, engage and convert influencers >>>

Shaping Influence: 4 Ways to Know You've Found the Right Influencers

Contributor Peter Scott examines how to identify the right influencers for your content and digital engagement. Read his post in Shaping Influence>>>