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Finding Brand Power on the Web: Mark Schaefer

By:

Jason Clark
Jason Clark

on 11/5/2012

Last Friday I attended a presentation by Mark Schaefer, a noted marketing consultant, that was produced by the American Advertising Federation Louisville chapter. (Full disclosure, I’m the VP of Industry Relations this year.) The title of the event was “Finding Your Brand Power on the Web.” We were honored to be able to do the design of the event promotional materials.

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The focus of the discussion was using Klout and other measurement tools to identify ways to improve your content, and find the right people to engage with online. Mark was a great speaker. Engaging in all the right ways. Entertaining, clear ideas with a point to be made, and backed by real data.

Here are the major takeaways I got from the seminar:

The goal for a content strategy is creating “content that moves.”
“Content that moves” would be defined as content that is RITE – Relevant, Interesting, Timely, and Entertaining. The result from this type of content is interactions (shares, likes, comments, etc) that lead to engagement and loyalty. Content that moves creates influence and power.

It’s becoming more important to identify influencers on the web. Their influence can help a brand or a cause.
If you can’t create good content yourself, it may pay for your company or brand to identify influencers in your industry and engage with them for recipricol value.

Klout and other social influence measuring tools can help identify influencers in your industry, and can also help you create content that moves.
Klout’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Jen Bryant, President of the AAF this year, had the funny example of having Klout in the Python programming language. However, the tools are maturing quickly, and as Google allows people to find web knowledge quickly, tools like Klout will be able to let you find people to engage with.

Have a content strategy, we all know that, but also have a network strategy.
Having a network strategy involves identifying ways to engage with people online and grow and solidify your network. His example of Calvin Lee (Mark says hi!) and his absolute devotion to his community has earned him countless benefits, including mentions in Forbes, Wired, and the Huffington Post.

These were all powerful takeaways that I think everyone in the audience resonated with.

The most difficult piece for most regional business around Louisville is three fold:

Fundamentally understanding the social web, and keeping up with the changing landscape.
It definitely helps to retain the services of a company like ours, but leadership should commit to a fundamental understanding of the direction that communication is moving. Pandora’s box is open. Digital communication is here to stay. The data derived from this is more valuable than ever before.

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Finding the time/budget to commit to creating content that moves. Developing the habit of creating content and nurturing your network.
Small to medium sized businesses have small marketing budgets, if any, and many times they cannot find the time or resources to keep up with social media tools and digital strategies and tactics. At this point in time though, there are enough success stories to justify a reasonable portion of your marketing resources.

Idea generation and finding relevant opportunities to become more influential online.
This may be the most difficult piece of the puzzle. Most people simply don’t know how to create “Relevant, Interesting, Timely, and Entertaining” content. There is a conservatism to most business communication, and it is very difficult for many people to understand the difference in the “press release” mentality versus true engagement online.

So, how do we fix this? There are dozens of books and online resources on how to generate content and grow your online influence. I think the most simple and straightforward answer is this:

Take the time to understand the value.

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I have two small stories to tell regarding this. I have personally seen the effects of leveraging influence on the social web.

I’ve personally been interviewed by the New York Times
This was simply by being at the right place at the right time on Twitter, and participating in a discussion. I wasn’t looking to sell any products or services, I was merely sharing information, and was contacted by a writer for more information. Did this lead to more business? Maybe, maybe not, but establishing your legitimacy by being mentioned in these channels is infinitely valuable.

I’ve gotten a settlement over a copyright dispute
Without going into detail, I was able to convince a copyright violator to settle a dispute by leveraging my social media audience, saving tons of attorney fees and possible litigation.

Thanks to Mark Shaefer for a great presentation and to AAF Louisville for putting it on. Buy his newest book, Return on Influence.

Next up for AAF is Fall Day at the Downs this Wednesday!

~jason

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