Why Use a Digital Marketing Agency? 0

Sales flat?

Lack a clear marketing strategy or the resources to execute it?

Marketing just not getting done?

Don’t have the budget to hire a marketing professional?

It might be time to hire an outside marketing firm.

But why choose a digital marketing agency?

In an earlier post, we covered the “nuts and bolts” of what a digital marketing firm can do for you:

  • Define and strengthen your brand.
  • Leverage inbound marketing tools.
  • Quantify results to improve effectiveness and ROI.

And that’s just the start! Here are a few more reasons to use a digital marketing agency:

  • Get one-stop shopping.
    Need a new website or printed sales collateral? Want to protect your company’s online reputation? Looking for experts to revamp your marketing strategy? A great digital marketing firm can handle everything from strategy development and web design to social marketing and PR – and everything in between. By allowing one partner to handle all your marketing needs, you get faster service – and better results.
  • Save money.
    Digital marketing experts help you get more “bang” for your marketing buck by: scrutinizing your marketing spend to trim wastefulness; leveraging content across platforms; automating PPC bidding based on ROI; and using metrics to analyze and improve performance.
  • Leverage the latest – and most effective – marketing trends.
    The digital marketing world is dynamic. Trends, and the technologies that drive them, change on a dime. When you hire a team of digital marketing experts, they can help you choose the right strategies and tools to stay relevant – and ahead of your competitors.
  • Get fresh perspective.
    Outside experts who are not as close to your business can offer unbiased feedback about your brand, your strategy and your competition. You can use their insights to develop new approaches and solutions to challenges.

Evaluating digital marketing agencies?

Check out everything BARQAR (bark-er) can do for you. Whether you need to revamp your strategy, protect your reputation, strengthen your brand or get higher quality sales leads, we can design a digital marketing solution that’s right for your business.

Need more info, want a demo or ready to talk numbers? Give BARQAR a call today.

The post Why Use a Digital Marketing Agency? appeared first on BARQAR.


Source: Barqar

How to Target Multiple Keywords with One Page – Next Level 0

Posted by BrianChilds

Welcome to our newest installment of our educational Next Level series! In our last episode, Jo Cameron taught you how to whip up intelligent SEO reports for your clients to deliver impressive, actionable insights. Today, our friendly neighborhood Training Program Manager, Brian Childs, is here to show you an easy workflow for targeting multiple keywords with a single page. Read on and level up!


For those who have taken any of the Moz Training Bootcamps, you’ll know that we approach keyword research with the goal of identifying concepts rather than individual keywords. A common term for this in SEO is “niche keywords.” I think of a “niche” as a set of related words or concepts that are essentially variants of the same query.

Example:

Let’s pretend my broad subject is: Why are cats jerks?

Some niche topics within this subject are:

  • Why does my cat keep knocking things off the counter?
  • Why does my cat destroy my furniture?
  • Why did I agree to get this cat?

I can then find variants of these niche topics using Keyword Explorer or another tool, looking for the keywords with the best qualities (Difficulty, Search Volume, Opportunity, etc).

By organizing your keyword research in this way, it conceptually aligns with the search logic of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update.

Once we have niche topics identified for our subject, we then we dive into specific keyword variants to find opportunities where we can rank. This process is covered in-depth during the Keyword Research Bootcamp class.

Should I optimize my page for multiple keywords?

The answer for most sites is a resounding yes.

If you develop a strategy of optimizing your pages for only one keyword, this can lead to a couple of issues. For example, if a content writer feels restricted to one keyword for a page they might develop very thin content that doesn’t discuss the broader concept in much useful detail. In turn, the marketing manager may end up spreading valuable information across multiple pages, which reduces the potential authority of each page. Your site architecture may then become larger than necessary, making the search engine less likely to distinguish your unique value and deliver it into a SERP.

As recent studies have shown, a single high-ranking page can show up in dozens — if not hundreds — of SERPs. A good practice is to identify relevant search queries related to a given topic and then use those queries as your H2 headings.

So how do you find niche keyword topics? This is the process I use that relies on a relatively new SERP feature: the “People also ask” boxes.

How to find niche keywords

Step 1: Enter a relevant question into your search engine

Question-format search queries are great because they often generate featured snippets. Featured snippets are the little boxes that show up at the top of search results, usually displaying one- to two-sentence answers or a list. Recently, when featured snippets are displayed, there is commonly another box nearby showing “People also ask” This second box allows you to peer into the logic of the search algorithm. It shows you what the search engine “thinks” are closely related topics.

Step 2: Select the most relevant “People also ask” query

Take a look at those initial “People also ask” suggestions. They are often different variants of your query, representing slightly different search intent. Choose the one that most aligns with the search intent of your target user. What happens? A new set of three “People also ask” suggestions will populate at the bottom of the list that are associated with the first option you chose. This is why I refer to these as choose-your-own-adventure boxes. With each selection, you dive deeper into the topic as defined by the search engine.

Step 3: Find suggestions with low-value featured snippets

Every “People also ask” suggestion is a featured snippet. As you dig deeper into the topic by selecting one “People also ask” after another, keep an eye out for featured snippets that are not particularly helpful. This is the search engine attempting to generate a simple answer to a question and not quite hitting the mark. These present an opportunity. Keep track of the ones you think could be improved. In the following example, we see the Featured Snippet being generated by an article that doesn’t fully answer the question for an average user.

Step 4: Compile a list of “People also ask” questions

Once you’ve explored deep into the algorithm’s contextually related results using the “People also ask” box, make a list of all the questions you found highly related to your desired topic. I usually just pile these into an Excel sheet as I find them.

Step 5: Analyze your list of words using a keyword research tool

With a nice list of keywords that you know are generating featured snippets, plug the words into Keyword Explorer or your preferred keyword research tool. Now just apply your normal assessment criteria for a keyword (usually a combination of search volume and competitiveness).

Step 6: Apply the keywords to your page title and heading tags

Once you’ve narrowed the list to a set of keywords you’d like to target on the page, have your content team go to work generating relevant, valuable answers to the questions. Place your target keywords as the heading tags (H2, H3) and a concise, valuable description immediately following those headings.

Measure niche keywords in your campaign

While your content writers are generating the content, you can update your Moz Pro campaign and begin baselining your rank position for the keywords you’re using in the heading tags. Add the keywords to your campaign and then label them appropriately. I recommend using a label associated with the niche topic.

For example, let’s pretend I have a business that helps people find lost pets. One common niche topic relates to people trying to find the phone numbers of kennels. Within that topic area, there will be dozens of variants. Let’s pretend that I write a useful article about how to quickly find the phone numbers of nearby animal shelters and kennels.

In this case, I would label all of the keywords I target in that article with something like “kennel phone numbers” in my Moz Pro campaign rankings tool.

Then, once the post is written, I can report on the average search visibility of all the search terms I used, simply by selecting the label “kennel phone numbers.” If the article is successful, I should see the rank positions moving up on average, showing that I’m ranking for multiple keywords.

Want to learn more SEO shortcuts?

If you found this kind of article helpful, consider signing up for the How to Bring SEO In-House seminar. The class covers things like how to set up your team for success, tips for doing research quickly, and how to report on SEO to your customers.

See upcoming classes here


Next Level is our educational series combining actionable SEO tips with tools you can use to achieve them. Check out any of our past editions below:

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Source: Moz

It’s Official: Esports Betting Legal in Nevada 0

esports betting legal in Las VegasTo bet, or not to bet…on esports? For several years, that’s been the question looming over the nation’s gambling capital, Las Vegas, Nevada. Nobody was quite sure where esports betting fell on the legality scale. Sure, it was happening — but in a decidedly gray area. But things are now clear; because as of July 1st, esports betting will be legal in Las Vegas. Ante up!

Nevada’s Esports Betting Bill

State representative Becky Harris sponsored Nevada Senate Bill 240 (“S.B. 240”), and Governor Brian Sandoval signed it into law. Esports legend Johnathan ‘Fatal1ty’ Wendel also played a role in the ratification process: He explained to politicians the importance of classifying esports gamers as “athletes”– a distinction that was essential in pushing the bill through.

In addition to esports, S.B. 240 also opens the door for betting on entertainment awards shows like the Oscars and Grammys.

Want An Esports Gambling License? Head To The Nevada Gaming Commission.

Nevada’s esports gambling bill states: “The Nevada Gaming Commission shall, and it is granted the power to, demand access to and inspect all books and records of any person licensed pursuant to this chapter pertaining to and affecting the subject of the license.”

So, starting July 1st, 2017, the Nevada Gaming Commission (“NGC”) will be in charge of issuing licenses permitting the administration of pari-mutuel wagering and off-track pari-mutuel wagering.  The NGC may also amend, adopt, and repeal regulations.

The NGC may request licensees’ fingerprints, in addition to information vis-à-vis their backgrounds, habits, and overall character.

Nevada’s Esports Betting Bill: 3% Operating Fee to NGC

The law also stipulates that licensees must submit quarterly payments — 3% of the total amount wagered on any esports event — to the NGC.  In turn, the NGC then must give at least 95% of the collected fees to the State Treasurer for the State General Fund.

Connect With An Esports Agent and Attorney

Kelly / Warner is a full-service, boutique law firm that works with esports athletes on everything from contract negotiations to dispute settlement. We also work with teams and leagues. Interested in learning more? Please head over to the esports law section of our website.

Article Sources

Tucker, J. (2017, June 07). Nevada governer passes “esports betting bill”. Retrieved June 14, 2017, from http://www.esports-pro.com/articles/business/nevada-governer-passes-esports-betting-bill

The post It’s Official: Esports Betting Legal in Nevada appeared first on Kelly / Warner Law | Defamation Law, Internet Law, Business Law.


Source: Kelly Warner Law

Premium Partner Success Manager (Account Executive) 0

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Premium Partner Success Manager (Account Executive)

Remote – Europe

As a Account Executive, you will be responsible for growing Vendasta’s European Partners. You will be given a roster of Partners to build relationships with and support in a variety of ways. This may include (but is not limited to): weekly calls, conducting training (product and sales), communicating product and platform updates, proactively working with partner on best practices, sales plans, go-to-market strategies and numerous other initiatives. You are the owner of these partners and the person ensuring their success. The ideal candidate has a deep understanding of growing a book of business, is highly effective in customer service and also has deep understanding of the platform and Vendasta partners.

This position is located in the London, UK area. All applicants must be able to legally work in the United Kingdom.

Skills and Qualifications:

  • High standards of performance for self; assuming responsibility and accountability for success by self-imposed standards of excellence.
  • Proper phone etiquette and the ability to speak and write clearly and accurately. Superior communication skills and team attitude, you have to be a team player at heart and have that outgoing spark that can create solid relationships with our partners.
  • Deals effectively with others in antagonistic situations, using appropriate interpersonal styles and methods to reduce tension or conflict.
  • Can clearly convey and receives information and ideas, through a variety of media, to individuals or groups in a manner that engages the audience, helping them understand and retain the message.
  • Organized and attentive to detail This position requires detail-oriented work, and with the high volume of work that we have, organization is essential.
  • Makes customers and their needs a primary focus of one’s actions; developing and sustaining productive customer relationships.
  • Ability to read between the lines – know how to answer the questions not being asked and identify opportunities for upsells

Responsibilities:

  • Showing partners how to generate revenue and become successful with the Vendasta Platform, foundational Products and Marketplace
  • Providing exceptional service and training for assigned partners
  • Maintaining product knowledge and awareness of developments (being able to brief partners as necessary)
  • Coordinating feedback from partners on product development suggestions
  • Working with the team to come up with plans and initiatives that will drive partner success and help Vendasta reach our revenue goals
  • Traffic controller for the partner ensuring all issues are passed on and dealt with accordingly (billing, tech support etc.).
  • Onboarding all new partners (includes white label set-up and training – but technical aspects will be completed by support)

Why Vendasta

Vendasta’s platform empowers agencies and media companies to grow their sales of marketing solutions for small and medium-size businesses. Our system identifies hot leads who are interested in the products you offer and allows you to provide scalable tools at the right price and service model when businesses are ready-to-buy.

Learn more about Vendasta

The post Premium Partner Success Manager (Account Executive) appeared first on Vendasta.


Source: Vendasta

#24 – Acting ugly hurts your employer, Uber’s desperate need for a brand lift, and what makes a great influencer? 0

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Can someone call Uber a taxi? They need to go home and sober up their reputation!

Each week, Erin Jones and I take a look at the most interesting reputation management stories, answer your questions, and share valuable ORM tactics. In this week’s episode:

If you have a question you would like us to tackle, please leave a comment below or on my Facebook Page.

Enter our subscriber contest below!

Subscribe to the Reputation Rainmakers podcast

Transcript (forgive us for any typos):

Andy Beal:                  Welcome back for another episode. I want to start off by telling you guys a story. I went out for lunch a few days ago to a place called Winston’s Grille. If you’re ever in Raleigh, North Carolina, I highly recommend it. It’s one of those institutions. It’s been around for 30 years. It’s a really popular place for lunch. In particular, business lunches. In fact, if you try to go on a Saturday, it’s actually closed, because obviously nobody is going there for a business lunch because most people are off on Saturday. It’s a really popular place for business lunches. It’s also a popular place for the church crowd, for brunches. It’s a really nice place. It’s not a rowdy, casual place. It’s a place where you go and there’s a certain expectation of behavior.

After setting the scene, we’re sitting outside and there’s a table two or three tables from us, and the guy is just super loud, super obnoxious, and foul-mouthed. He is just cussing. He can’t go a sentence without dropping an F-bomb or just saying something obscene.

What’s interesting is I’m not normally a prude. I don’t like that behavior, especially in a nice restaurant like that. If it’s a sports bar and it’s loud, then fair enough, but when you’re sitting outside and enjoying lunch you don’t want to hear that. But he is wearing a company polo shirt that is recognizable to anybody, even from a distance. I just can’t believe that this guy is sitting here having this conversation.

I don’t know whether his dining mates are cringing at his behavior, but I’m thinking to myself, “Okay, making a mental note here. If this is his behavior when he’s outside of the store, this is not the kind of company that I want to do business with based on the type of people they’re hiring.” They may not have a clue, but by his very actions of wearing this shirt, I’ve made that mental connection even though he’s off the clock. He’s not specifically representing this brand, but I just don’t think you’re ever really separated from that reputation of your employer, especially if you’re wearing the company shirt. What are your thoughts, Erin? What do you think about that?

Erin:                  First of all, I completely agree. I find it incredibly off-putting. As someone who does run a company, I would want to know if someone that I’m paying to represent me is behaving that way in public, whether they’re on the clock or not.

A good example. I worked at a ski resort for a while between my college years and my grown-up job years. We lived on the mountain and we all had employee-identifiable ski jackets, clothing. Everybody could tell if you worked on the mountain, so if you weren’t on duty, they required that you have your own clothing that you wore when you were out and about, whether you were out at the bars, or if you were skiing with the guests. They wanted that completely separated out. But even still, we had a code of conduct that we had to follow regardless of what time of day it was, whether we were on shift or not. If we worked for that company, we were expected to follow a code of conduct.

I think that it really showed that they were really forward-thinking about this, knowing that whether you’re on the clock or not, if someone has an interaction with you and they find out that you’re a representative of the company, you’re a representative of the company regardless of what time of day it is or what day it is. It’s kind of that if you see the corporate car parked at the strip club, that’s going to stick with you whether the person’s working or not. This kind of behavior strikes me as the same way. I can’t think of someone that I would want to give money to that I would be okay with them behaving that way, whether it be in my home or a service for my brand.

Andy Beal:                  It’s interesting. You could call me a prude and you could say, “Lighten up, he was off the clock,” whatever it may be, but you’ve got to consider that you are a representation of your employer. No one ever said, “You know what? That guy over there, he’s not said a single swear word all lunch so I’m going to boycott his company.”

Why not just be careful? You’re wearing a shirt. It’s bright red. You’re standing out. I can see the logo from where I’m sitting. I want to say something, but I’m thinking to myself, “Eh, you know what? I’m just going to try and ignore it.” But at the same time, I’m thinking to myself, “Okay, well, I’m not going to say anything, but he should know not to behave like this, so I’m just going to not shop at that store.” I know exactly where the store is. I’ve actually shopped there before, but not anymore.

This extends as well to your online behavior. There are so many people that have, whether it’s their language, whether it’s their political rants, whether it’s their social rants, whatever it may be, and then they think they can hide behind putting in their Twitter profile that it says, “Opinions are my own and not that of my employer.”

Erin:                  Yep. Not working anymore, buddy. You know? It really appalls me. Do people not realize how they’re acting or do they just not care? I wonder that a lot about a lot of things that I see, both in the real world and online.

Andy Beal:                  To go back to your example, the employer needs to let employees know that, “Look, your behavior outside of the office could have an effect on our business because people, maybe they recognize you because we’re a major employer in the area. Maybe you’re wearing the company polo shirt. But your actions, whether it’s online or offline, can have an effect on us. If our reputation gets damaged, that hurts our ability to keep you employed. Not you specifically, but if we start losing business, we’re probably going to have to start firing employees. Yeah, you have the right to act the way that you want, but if you damage our company, it’s going to hurt everybody, yourself and others. We’d appreciate if would just conduct yourself, or not wear your company shirt, whatever it may be.” I think that companies need to do a better job of letting employees know just what a valuable part they are of their reputation, and let employees buy into that, and have a stake in the reputation so that they want to act in a way that doesn’t harm their boss’ reputation.

Erin:                  Definitely. I don’t know which side of the table I’m coming from here, but I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t be embarrassed to realize that they are representing their company in such a horrible way. It almost sometimes feels like it’s self-destructive.

Andy Beal:                  I wonder. This gentleman in particular was an older gentleman. That’s not really an excuse. It’s not to say that if you’re over the age of 55, you don’t know how the internet works, but maybe he’s just more ignorant to the fact that there’s that association is going to be made between the way he acts, technically off work, offline, and the reputation that’s perceived for his boss.

I think that the lesson here is you’ve got to understand what’s the reputation your employer is trying to build and are you helping them with your behavior? If you work for a sports bar or if you work for someplace where there’s an expectation that there’s no need to mind your p’s and q’s, if you like, then fine. That’s totally fine.

Maybe I’m being a little bit harsh on this particular store. Maybe I’m holding them to a standard that most other people don’t hold them to. But if you work for a company that is trying to have a reputation for being polite, civil, offering a fantastic service, then certainly if you’re out at a restaurant that has that reputation … You’ve got business people there conducting meetings. You’ve got people that do their company outings. Gosh, I’ve seen people doing presentations in private rooms. You’ve got your church crowd on a Sunday morning. This is not the kind of place where you go and start dropping F-bombs.

Erin:                  Sure. There may be a time and a place. Clearly, he was in the wrong place to do that. It goes back to the whole I tell my clients a lot, “If you wouldn’t say it to your grandmother’s face, don’t say it in public, and don’t say it online. Things can follow you around a lot more easily now than they used to.” It’s just plain, old off-putting. That alone should be enough.

Andy Beal:                  Yeah. All right, well, that’s our rant. I think it’s good. We’ll leave it there, your advice about the grandmother. I think that’s a great litmus test. Unfortunately, we’re not moving onto any story that’s more of a feel-good story. We’re probably still going downhill from here because Uber is in the news again. There’s a new report out. Why don’t you go over that, Erin, and tell us what’s happening there.

Erin:                  Speaking of things you would not want your grandmother to read about you, Uber was being investigated based on some sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and really overall, in general, bad behavior claims. There were several independent investigations. I think the most popular one is the Holder report.

As a result of that report, more than 20 employees were let go from the company. It has been decided that the CEO is going to be stepping aside for a while. I’m interested to see what happens with this. He’s not being fired. It came along with a timeline. His mother was recently killed in a tragic accident, so he’s taking some personal time. It looks like they’re going to do some work to revamp the company while he is on his leave.

Andy Beal:                  Yeah. That’s sorry for him. It’s a convenient excuse that allows them to say he’s stepping aside, but they’re not firing him. He’s not quitting. The report made 47 recommendations, including creating a new oversight committee, rewriting Uber’s cultural values. Get this: reducing alcohol use at work events. Prohibiting intimate relationships between employees and their bosses. The normal stuff that most good companies have in place.

You’re asking yourself, “How did they allow this culture to be built?” To the point where even, I think it was yesterday, one of the board members said something inappropriate when they were discussing these findings, and now he’s had to resign because of a sexist comment he made just this week. It’s like the culture is just rife with this whole sexual … I don’t know. It’s terrible. I mean, I think they’re putting some more women on this oversight committee to help them there to understand normal, decent behavior.

But what’s really interesting for me is I see a lot of people talking about this. It’s really showing that Uber has almost a divided reputation. Now that runs contrary to what I always preach, but if you look at what’s going on with Uber, you’ve got journalists, you’ve got investors, you’ve got employees. They’re all really saying Uber has this terrible reputation.

But if you look at the customers, you’re not really seeing a lot of everyday individuals boycotting Uber over this. We’re still using Uber because it’s convenient and we’re getting cheap fares. There’s almost this disconnect going on where it’s the customer say, “Well, it’s not anything that’s directly affecting me. I still get cheaper fares than taxis and it’s more convenient, so eh. You know what? Let them figure it out and I’ll just keep using the service.” It’s kind of puzzling.

Erin:                  It is. It almost feels like people have, like you said, separated. “The drivers don’t go to the office. The drivers don’t interact with the board or the CEOs, so it’s okay to support them.” Or, “We’re still taking our rides because it’s easy and convenient.” Then over at the corporate offices, there’s this Wolf of Wall Street situation going on where it’s just a free-for-all it seems like.

The fact that they had to put out a press release saying that they were hiring a COO who was diverse to take over some of the current CEOs duties, why are we having to tell people that in this day? Like, “Hey, we’ve got some diversity.” Well, congratulations. Welcome back from the 1950’s. This is stuff that people are already expecting. We’re not going to celebrate you for doing what you’re supposed to do.

Andy Beal:                  Yeah. It’s really strange that we’re not holding them more accountable. I wonder if it’s because we are at least seeing that Uber is trying to do the right thing. It’s not like this culture exists and they’re not willing to do anything about it. Now, they did suppress it and they did have a terrible HR where these claims were suppressed and ignored. There was that. At least once it came to the public light, they’re saying all the right things. They’re doing all the right things. I’m wondering if that’s given them a little bit of breathing space because everybody is waiting to see, “Okay, well, how are you going to handle this? What are you going to do?”

Kind of like what we’ve seen with United Airlines. United continues to have these issues, but at least they came out with a new customer care policy. We’re waiting to see if that’s going to make a cultural difference. I wonder if we’re waiting to see that here.

But the problem is it goes back to one of the three keys for whenever you have a damaged reputation. The last one is consistency. That is you’re demonstrating to your stakeholders, your customers, employees, investors, journalists, that you are consistently improving your behavior. This was an isolated incident. Problem is when you’re announcing your plans, and your changes, and all that, and one of your board members makes a sexist comment in that meeting, you’re not showing that consistency.

Erin:                  No. I also wonder if we give these companies that started as really small startups and exploded, seemingly overnight, more of a pass than we’re going to give older companies like United that have been established for a long time as a corporation. Are we letting them get away with a little bit more because they’re still in their infancy and we see them as being run by “children”? Are they getting a chance to grow up in the spotlight? I do feel they get away with a little bit more.

Andy Beal:                  Well, that’s kind of funny because you know a friend of mine, [Dean Shore 00:15:52], put something up recently. He was mocking because they were trying to defend President Trump’s actions by saying that, “Well, he is new to all of this.” Well, that’s not really-

Erin:                  No, he’s not.

Andy Beal:                  That’s not really a valid excuse. I don’t think we can say, “Well, they’re just a startup. They didn’t know any better.” No. Basic rules of decorum, and values, and ethics should apply here regardless.

But I have worked at a startup where everything was going great. When you’re small, you don’t have these issues. But as we got larger, there was all kinds of inappropriate things happening. HR was completely at the mercy of the CEO. They were just doing his bidding.

I ended up leaving under just terrible circumstances. Not really anything for me, but I saw what was going on. I’m like, “Look, this is going to hurt my reputation personally. You guys are not looking to stop this. I’m out. I don’t want to be a part of this.” Then that company eventually had all kinds of accusations and then closed its doors eventually. I think that what happens is as a company gets larger, they realize because they didn’t have these policies in effect from the beginning, which is fine when you’re really small, everybody knows each other, you open up the keg on a Friday because there’s only 20 of you, you know, that doesn’t scale.

Erin:                  Exactly.

Andy Beal:                  Those small things escalate and expand once you become a large, multi-billion-dollar company.

Erin:                  I completely agree. I think we may have worked at the same company. I had a similar experience. It’s the same thing. You learn a lot through the process, but you definitely get to a point where you go, “Oh, I don’t know that I want my name tied to this, where this is headed.”

Andy Beal:                  Absolutely. At some point, you need to realize that your reputation is extremely important. Just as you represent part of your employer’s reputation, your employer’s reputation represents your personal reputation. It’s definitely a two-way street there.

All right, let’s move on. We’ve got a question here from [Matthew Starts 00:18:12], who asked on Twitter, he said, “Thought leaders and influencers always claim to have a “great network,” but how can you tell? How can they prove it?”

First of all, thanks for the question, Matthew. It is easy, especially for people that are on Twitter, or Instagram, or one of these social networks, to point to their numbers and say, “Look. Look how influential I am. I have this great network. I’ve got 150,000 followers. I’ve got half a million followers.” Whatever it may be.

They somehow claim that that makes them a thought leader, makes them influential, but really I’ve seen “thought leaders” that have used software that follows everybody back so that it escalates their numbers. I’ve seen people that go out and use software that follows people. Then if they don’t follow them back, it unfollows them. There’s all kinds of trickery that can happen to inflate your numbers. Heck, you can even buy followers on these social networks.

To answer your question, Matthew, one of the things I look for is engagement. First of all, I don’t care how many followers you have. How many of them are actually paying attention to everything you say? Are they engaging with you? Are they leaving comments? Are they retweeting you? Are they liking your posts? Are they sharing your posts? Are there comments on your blog post? Because I want to see that if I’m going to invest some time building a relationship with you, I don’t want you to just broadcast it out into a vacuum that nobody’s listening to. I want to see that there is a level of engagement. I want to see results, not just audience reads. What are some thoughts you have on that, Erin?

Erin:                  I absolutely agree. Actually, my first two points were to look at their interaction and engagement, and be wary of the echo chamber. Another thing that I think is important is looking at who they are engaging with. You may have somebody that’s got great engagement in the tech sector or in the online world, but someone who is a great tech influencer may not be someone who is going to influence your small-town bakery or your children’s toy store. I think it really matters who they’re engaging with and how they’re engaging with them. Are their posts genuine? Are they getting good interaction? I think if you really take a good look at it, you can start to see patterns in their communication.

Andy Beal:                  Right. There’s some services out there. There’s Followerwonk. There’s Klout. There’s lots of different services that can give you more of an idea of what topics are the influential on. If you’ve got somebody that’s a generalist with a million followers, they may not necessarily be an expert on anything.

But you could have a smaller audience, but very engaged with a lot of influence because they’re talking about gluten-free recipes. When they talk, when they share something, everybody listens, everybody shares. Yet they may only have 20,000 followers. But the amplification of that could be huge because those 20,000 followers could be influencers themselves. Of that 20,000, it could be somebody that’s got their own million followers, but they happen to be gluten-intolerant, and so they listen to everything you say and then they amplify it.

There’s that. Last thought I have on that is generally if someone has to tell you that they’re a thought leader or an influencer, they’re probably not.

Erin:                  Yes. Thank you.

Andy Beal:                  All right. On that note, we’ll leave it there. Appreciate your question, Matthew. If you guys have a question, please head over to our Facebook page, andybealORM, or head to andybeal.com. Find the latest podcast and just leave us a comment. We always appreciate you guys tuning in, listening, and leaving your questions. As always, Erin, thank you so much for joining me.

Erin:                  Thank you. I’m happy to be here.

Andy Beal:                  Appreciate you guys tuning in. We’ll hope you catch us again next time. Thanks a lot and bye-bye.

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