July 22, 2020

Author Neal Schaffer on Influencer Marketing for B2B Companies: The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 16

Author Neal Schaffer on Influencer Marketing for B2B Companies: The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 16

Many business owners believe the key to digital marketing is having a strong social media presence. You might feel this way yourself. So what’s the secret to getting real results from Facebook, Instagram, and the like?

On this episode of the ROI Online Podcast, Steve meets with author and social media expert Neal Schaffer about which social media strategies that actually work—and which ones are a waste of money.

Neal first entered the world of social media marketing through LinkedIn. As more and more people began communicating through social media on a daily basis, he started researching the best techniques businesses could use to do the same. He collected his findings in his first book, Maximizing LinkedIn for Business. 

Since then, Neal has studied each social media platform extensively, and he now helps business owners find the best platform for their unique audience. Many of his clients come to him convinced they need to make ads on TikTok or SnapChat, but he’s found that getting results from social media is much more than just ads.

When it comes down to it, it’s not about using the right keywords or posting the trendiest content. It’s about establishing a connection. Relationships have always been the driving factor behind brand loyalty, and this is especially true for social media. People use these platforms to connect with others. The most effective posts aren’t always the ones that go viral, but using conversations to start relationships with the right influencers.

Neal also shares a crucial piece of an effective social media strategy that many business owners overlook. It’s not enough to just have a strong social media presence. You need a clear website, email marketing, and content creation to convert any leads you get on social media into paying customers. Otherwise, you’ll never see an ROI for your hard work, even if you hire the best social media guru.

Neal’s new book The Age of Influence is available now and provides practical advice for how businesses of all types and sizes can use influencers to grow their bottom line. 

You can learn more about Neal here:

Here are the links to Neal's books, as mentioned in the episode:

And you can learn more about the ROI Online QuickStart Academy here: www.roionline.com/quickstart-academy

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{"version":"1.0.0","segments":[{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":2.0,"body":"It's like, \"Huh, if 1000 followers is considered someone that has a significant amount of digital influence to be part of that top 1%. Who do I know that has 1000 LinkedIn connections? Who do I know that that?\" I mean, my daughter has, you know, 400 or 500 followers on Instagram. She's 15 and she just launched her account six months ago. Right? Who is... So it's not a matter of having this incredible amount of influence. It's a matter of having some influence, but more importantly, influencing the community that's important to you and your company. So when I look at it that way, in my book, I say, \"People have it wrong. It's not about the followers. It's more about the brand affinity because if people know, like, and trust your brand, and they have some influence, they're going to want to collaborate with you.\" Instead of you trying to reach out to these celebrities, who if they've never heard of you, they probably won't want to work with you. And if they do want to work with you, being savvy business people, they're going to charge you a heck of a lot of money, and it's going to be a one-time transaction. Why don't you look at the people already following your company?\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":61.0,"body":"Hi, everybody. Welcome to the ROI Online Podcast, where we believe you, the courageous entrepreneurs of our day are the invisible heroes of our economy. You not only improve our world with your ideas, your grit and your passion, but you make our world better. I'm Steve Brown, and this is the place where we have great conversations with winners just like you while we laugh and learn together. Welcome back, everybody to the ROI Online Podcast and today, I'm proud to introduce you to Neal Schaffer. Now, I've known about Neal for a long time. I can't remember but it's been a long time. He first came out with a book about utilizing LinkedIn to help you grow your influence, and I've followed him ever since then. Neal, when did that come out, by the way?\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":115.0,"body":"My very first LinkedIn book came out in 2009, believe it or not more than a decade.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":120.0,"body":"So he was doing this before it was cool. So he's the author of the new book, \"The Age of Influence.\" I'm putting it here for those watching it on the video version of this, \"Age of Influence.\" When does this come out? It's just coming out in a few days, right?\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":138.0,"body":"It actually just came out March 17, 2020.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":141.0,"body":"All right, boom. So Neal is a prolific writer. He's also got a handful of other books, \"Maximizing LinkedIn for Business,\" \"How AI Is Revolutionizing Influencer Marketing,\" \"How to Build an Employee Advocacy Program,\" and on and on. He's also a university educator at Rutgers. And he's a social media agency owner as if he didn't have enough to do, and he also has a podcast called Maximize Your Social Influence Podcast. Neal, welcome to the ROI Online Podcast. \n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":178.0,"body":"Thanks, Steve. It's an honor to be here. \n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":179.0,"body":"Yeah, so you and I swim around in the same areas. We... I was telling you before we believe that the invisible heroes in the American economy are the business owners, entrepreneurs, because they put... They risk everything—their family's livelihood, they provide jobs for over half of the that workforce in our economy. And you and I produce materials to help them make it through the gauntlet. And one of the things that they get pounded over the head every day, is there's all these forces telling them, \"You need to be on social media, you need to do good on social media.\" And here's your book telling you how to navigate through those confusing, changing waters all the time. Tell us a little bit about why you... What was the inciting incident that made you go, \"Alright, I need to write a book about social influence.\"\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":238.0,"body":"Well, Steve, just as this podcast serves the community of entrepreneurs, right? I'm always about, when I create content, it's with someone in mind, and it's usually clients or when I speak, based on the questions I get. And over the last few years, this has been... Over time and since 2009, the questions have changed as we become more mature, we become used to using LinkedIn, etc, etc. More recently, it's this whole phenomenon around influencers, and really the concept of digital influence: how do we as a business, how do we leverage influencers? Is it just for like tech talkers? Or can B2B businesses use this? Can small businesses use this? Even how can my business become more influential in social media or how can I become a social media influencer? But as I started doing research around the topic, I realized that most people have really been misseducated on what it is and how powerful it is. And combining this with, we need to be digital first especially in the era of Coronavirus. So, I know a lot of people listening are sort of, \"Where do I start?\" I like to really simplify things. I'm sort of a meat and potatoes, straight shooter type of guy. So it's like, look, if you think digital first, what do people do when they're online? They're either searching, they're still using email, believe it or not, although there's more text but there's still tremendous ROI from email marketing, and then they're on social. And the problem is that, most businesses, just post it on social is not going to be enough because the algorithms don't work in your favor. They work in the favor of people. So for many businesses that thought social media was free, they find out it's really not free if they really want to get results from it. And this is where influencers and really collaborating with other people that have influence can come in and really help power your social media, really insight that word of mouth that when I talked to entrepreneurs and small business owners, and I asked them, \"How did you become successful?\" They always say word of mouth, right? Word got out. Referrals. And that's really the best way to incite that today. is on social media and it just doesn't happen organically like it used to, because these various factors. And that's where the role of really collaborating with other people to get the word out is just a really, really smart strategy for any entrepreneur, I believe.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":374.0,"body":"What do you think is the like the most misunderstood aspect of social media as far as how a business owner would look at it as a legitimate business application?\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":387.0,"body":"Well, I think most business owners that really aren't in social just see it as a big waste of time. \n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":391.0,"body":"Mm hmm. \n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":392.0,"body":"And it can be a big waste of time. Don't get me wrong. And I'm sure, Steve, you're the same. Really, we're not talking about, \"You got to be on TikTok.\" No, you don't have to be on TikTok, right. If you're not serving a teenage audience of Gen Z's, you shouldn't be on TicTok. So\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":408.0,"body":"Yeah, especially if you don't have rhythm too.\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":411.0,"body":"That's right. So it comes down to a number of things, but it's really saying, \"Look, if you can spend 15 minutes a day and tap into a few billion people, why wouldn't you, right?\" I mentioned, there's only a few things you can do digitally certain social email. So if you want to put all your eggs in the search basket, that's awesome. And if you get results from your SEO, your pay per click great, right? But I find, many businesses find, maybe sometimes they get good results, sometimes they don't. What else can we do? Email. Well, how are you going to build up an email list? it's going to come down to content marketing, and a lot of that content marketing is going to come down to social media. So it all sort of fits together. And therefore at the end of the day, when you just think about it rationally, all the different things you could do and what you need to do, social is gonna have a role. It becomes a core competency. Doesn't mean you're going to spend all your day there, but it means you need to understand at a minimum, how to use it strategically to drive those business goals. But these are the influences, what's exciting is that business is all about relationships as well. And social media originally was about relationships. So when you look at social media as a way to develop relationships with people that you can collaborate with for mutual benefit. That's where you really... That's where you tap into a lot of business value, just like you're going to a networking meeting when we could have met physically, but we can't today, and you meet these people, and you create partnerships that can really help your business. Now you're doing this online, and it's scalable, and it's global. And it's really incredible when you find people, when you meet other people in networking meetings, you don't know how much influence that person has. But online, you can see, what are they publishing? Well, who are their followers? How are people engaging with them? So it's another aspect that's very people related, but it takes time to develop relationships, right? But I'd rather you spend money investing in people and relationships than just throw it away at Facebook ads, unless you're getting good ROI from that.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":529.0,"body":"Yeah, you have to have a place for them to go if you're going to run those ads. They need to find when they click on and they land on your website, you shouldn't expect them just dig around until the hopefully they find something that's interesting. You need to send them to a very specific landing page that they expect from the ad is congruent from the ad that they clicked on or the post. What...\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":552.0,"body":"And then the targeting. I mean, there's so many things that can go—if you're not working with Steve or Steve's company—there's so many things that can go wrong in something as innocent looking at the Facebook ad, right?\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":561.0,"body":"So much, yes.\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":562.0,"body":"But targeting the creative and just the whole bit.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":564.0,"body":"Yeah. Because if it's not done with the strategy, if it's just done as \"I'm just gonna throw something out there, see if it sticks on the wall,\" which most people do, yeah, then the return on the investment of that is not going to be very impressive. And you're going to end up going, \"I don't think this social media ad stuff works.\" \n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":583.0,"body":"Exactly. \n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":585.0,"body":"So you're, as a university educator, what are the topics that you're teaching to the students or are you teaching non traditional students or business owners that would take that class? I'm curious at what that curriculum is and who's your audience?\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":606.0,"body":"So it's actually an executive education program. I treat it as a speaking gig in all honesty, because it's not a.. It's where companies send employees. A lot of marketers, there are some former executives that it's like, \"Hey, I need to figure out social instead of doing Coursera Udemy. I'm just gonna go to an accredited institution.\" And the records program, I believe now it might be it's either eight or 12 modules. And each module is taught by a different professor. And we cover different things. So I actually teach two modules on social media platforms. So everything from Facebook to TikTok to LinkedIn to Twitter, to YouTube, what have you, and really how... What are the functionality that businesses can leverage? And it goes into other things like content strategy and message as you can imagine, but that's the basic. There's one module that's purely unpaid social. There's one module purely on blogging and content. There's one purely on social media strategy. So that is one, we call it the Mini Social Media MBA. That's the official name of the program. I also sometimes teach as part of the Mini Digital Marketing MBA and cover the course on social media platforms there, the Social Inside Digital. I also teach at a program in Ireland at an executive education institute called the Irish Management Institute. And they have a digital business program where, I think over the course of several weeks, you have full-day sessions with a dozen or so instructors that teach different aspects of how digital is affecting the enterprise for what they call this digital business program. And I do a full day on digital. I cover the social platforms, but we also go into all these different elements of digital. The SEO, the content, marketing, influence, marketing, play advocacy... So it's the platforms and the concepts. And really, it's just over the course of a day is really a fast forward, your education and understand what is out there, how it is being used, and really help them do some soul searching when they get back to the company as how they can use it there. Or if they work with an agency, how they can better manage that agency or better work together with an agency.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":623.0,"body":"Yeah, to have proper expectations. Like, I think most business owners are like, they're behind the eight ball because they're supposed to hire people and direct them to implement this stuff, but they're not coming from that world. And they're having to transition from traditional marketing into modern marketing. And it's really frustrating and confusing. The point I was thinking about is that they naturally get that their business... The parking lots clean. It's very clear where you should park. It's very clear where the front door is, if the sign says open or not. When they come in, it's clear who they should go to at the reception desk or there's the menu board, they can see where to transact. But the problem is in their virtual world, we don't have that same intention to really get it squared away. Because it's confusing. And we're seeing it all over the place. And I'm... That's why I was curious. And if you're teaching students or if you're teaching business owners,\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":801.0,"body":"Yeah, it's more that they're executives, but some of those executives are business owners, some work at major enterprises. It's really a mix. But yeah, it's not a... This is not a university undergrad marketing program. And it really is more more tactical. So that there's there's direct ROI when they get back to the office.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":821.0,"body":"Yeah, that's... I think that's way more needed. I think the students that would go to that where they would, by the time they would get out, things would have changed anyway and it would... They still gonna have to learn what I call the street smarts application of the business application of what they learned. \n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":838.0,"body":"Yep. No, exactly. \n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":839.0,"body":"What are you excited most about this book? And I have to confess to the audience, you were kind enough to send it to me. But it came just the other day. And I wasn't able to get it read yet, although that is what I'm going to do. What are you most excited about in this book?\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":854.0,"body":"I'm just excited about already getting reviews on Amazon, what have you, and people that have read it, that it just completely resets what they thought about influencer marketing and about the role of influencers and how they can better leverage them. I am in the business, even through my agency, where we work hand in hand to really educate our clients, right? So it's really about changing people's minds so that they can take advantage of the situation, so that the people who read the book have a competitive advantage. That's what I try to do with anything I do, right? I'm sure you as well, your clients, you want them to have the competitive advantage. So when I see, based on the feedback I get, the people who read it feel they have that competitive advantage, that's what excites me the most of what I look forward to a year or two from now hearing all the case studies of companies that have leveraged what I teach and have gotten great results. But yeah, I just think like I said, it's about developing relationships and investing in relationships. And I truly believe that social media sort of brings or influence marketing brings the social back to social media, when you look at it as a collaborative platform instead of just a promotional platform. And therefore, I think it just it's just a win win for everybody. It's a win win for the for the company. It's a win win for that influencer. And it's a win win for the influencers, community who's going to be exposed to a great product or service. So big brands... I've always been a fan of the of the underdog, right? So big brands can just spew tons of money at this. They can do all the advertising, but the entrepreneurs or small business owners can't. We have to be a little bit more... We got to be a little bit more agile. We got to be in this growth hacking mindset. And influencers is definitely a part of that. Where I've seen smaller companies just leveraging influencers, competing with the big companies. That's what really excites me. I think it's really enabling for those that get it and that invest in the right relationships with the right people.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":972.0,"body":"So let's put a definition on influencer in this case. If someone's thinking influencer, that means that there are folks out there that have a large following. Is that the influencer that you're referring to in relationships?\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":989.0,"body":"So this is the traditional view of influencer marketing is you need to have a million followers to be considered an influencer, for instance, right? Which is just not the case. Because, in the days before social media, those traditional marketers, they knew that the communication channels were limited. So anytime they threw an ad up somewhere, they were going to get a defined audience. It just is not the case today because we're all over the place. And ask your kids who influences them. Ask me who influenced me I'm going to talk about, you know, actors and actresses and celebrities and sports heroes. Not the case today with younger generations, right? It's YouTubers. It's TikTokers like Charlie. It's... My daughter is fanatical about Chloe Ting, who I've never heard of, but she watches her ab workouts every day. And that's the reality of the day is that influence has truly been democratized. So I give you a great example, about not having to have a lot of followers. There was this one rule that I talked about in the book that it came out 20 years ago, someone said, \"Look, when we look at the internet, we can analyze the internet in this way. 90% of people in the internet are lurkers. 9% are true engagers. They'll comment on a blog post, they'll share that blog post. 1% are content creators.\" So if we... At the end of the day, someone that has influenced is a content creator. Sometimes they're just curating content. Sometimes they're just publishing random things. But they are creating content online on social media. They're a podcaster, blogger, YouTuber, what have you, but they're creating content. And from that content, they yield influence. From that content, people follow them. They find them. And if we look at that top 1%, right, so let's put that over to LinkedIn. LinkedIn has 500 million users. There are not just five influencers on LinkedIn. The top 1% of 500 million, if my math is correct, it's 5 million. \n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":1107.0,"body":"Yeah. \n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":1108.0,"body":"So you don't need to have 100,000 followers to be considered an influencer. And we'd like to kick it over to Instagram that's 10 million people on Instagram. And so I think that model even though it was written before social media, I think it still works today. So when we look at it that way, what brands have been doing in this traditional influencer marketing that only looks at followers is that these these major celebrities like on Instagram have priced themselves out of the market. Small businesses can't work with them. And brands are saying, \"You know what, these people work with anyone and everyone you They're not really the sort of social media influencers. They're almost like traditional celebrities.\" So they go down inside, they say, \"Look. Why don't we work with micro influencers. If you have 10,000 followers, we consider you a micro influencer.\" And they're finding the smaller you get in terms of follower size, the less fraud there is, the less chance they bought fake followers, the less chance that they're buying fake engagement. And the more in tune they are, the more niche they are, the more in tune they are with their community. And then a year or two ago, they said, \"Steve, let's take it down one more notch, let's work with more nano influencers, right? And these are people that have between one and 10,000 followers. So now when you get there, It's like, \"Huh, if 1000 followers is considered someone that has a significant amount of digital influence to be part of that top 1%. Who do I know that has 1000 LinkedIn connections? Who do I know that that?\" I mean, my daughter has, you know, 400 or 500 followers on Instagram. She's 15 and she just launched her account six months ago. Right? Who is... So it's not a matter of having this incredible amount of influence. It's a matter of having some influence, but more importantly, influencing the community that's important to you and your company. So when I look at it that way, in my book, I say, \"People have it wrong. It's not about the followers. It's more about the brand affinity because if people know, like, and trust your brand, and they have some influence, they're going to want to collaborate with you.\" Instead of you trying to reach out to these celebrities, who if they've never heard of you, they probably won't want to work with you. And if they do want to work with you, being savvy business people, they're going to charge you a heck of a lot of money, and it's going to be a one-time transaction. Why don't you look at the people already following your company? Why don't you look at your friends that you're connected with? Why don't you look at your customer base, and see, \"Hey, I didn't know that Jane had 1500 followers on Instagram. I didn't know that Dawn had a few thousand followers on Twitter and have open ended conversations. You know, we want to get more traction and social. You're already there. How can we work together.\" And if they're a customer, if they're a follower, if they know, like, and trust you, it's gonna a heck of a lot easier for you to find a win win, than to reach out with someone that has 10 times more followers where you're probably going to have to pay money. With these people, Steve, what we're finding out is you don't even have to pay the money for just giving them product or service can get you a lot of mileage when you work at that level. And that's really where I see a lot of really, really long term benefits for companies when they have their own little pool, their own little army of influencers. And these influencers are really brand advocates. And if they're not brand advocates, you want to convert them into becoming a brand advocate. And when you do that, this is how you're inciting word of mouth. They're talking about you without you have to ask them to because they love what you do so much. That's the ideal. That's the concept of influencer marketing I'm preaching, which is very different than probably when people are listening to us, \"Oh, Neal is going to talk about TikTokers and Instagramers. It's only for B2C.\" This is relevant for any industry, any. And in fact, the smaller companies can make the biggest impact.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":1317.0,"body":"Let's talk about some... I'm not just going to ask them for, \"Hey, can you do a testimonial?\" What are some like really good ideas or help... Help a business owner that has a business that's wondering, \"Well, what kind of conversation would I have that would feel comfortable and real?\"\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":1338.0,"body":"So here's here's the process. So this is where you got to have a basic understanding of social media, right? So you're not going to waste your time there. This is very, very targeted, very strategic. But you need to figure out first of all, what are going to be the main platforms that your customers are on or that your target customers are on? And I think today, it's not too hard to figure out which are going to be the best options depending on your industry. So you're going to go into those places, and you're going to do searches. You're going to do searches that if I was interested in this product, or in this service, what keywords when I use the search? And who do I find that's talking about that industry, that product that service my competitors? And you're going to go into the Pro... It takes a little bit of time, you could outsource this to an internet research VA if you wanted to. But at the end of the day, you need to confirm: what are these people talking about? Does it sound like they're talking about things that if they were to talk about my company, would it help me generate business at the end of the day? So here's a common one. It's a case study, I forgot if I use it in my book or not, and this is more B2C, but it's the same concept of a female bodybuilder influencer on Instagram had maybe 100,000 followers. So there's a startup that makes swimwear for female bodybuilders that it that is sort of suited for the bodybuilding body, but it's it's female. It's like bikinis and stuff, right? So they partner together, but they didn't understand that 90% of that influencers audience were males who were just drooling over her photo. So this is the type of misalignment... This is like that misalignment in Facebook ads we know not the strategy. So this is what can happen. That's what you really need to take a deep look. But you're going to create a list of people, right? You're going to look at their content, you're going to look at, \"This person's posting five times a day, but they're not getting any engagement. This person post once every two days, but they get a heck of a lot of engagement. Let me check out some of the people. Let me check out some of the people commenting.\" And if you just spend a little bit of time you begin to create this list. And then the step two, once you figure out who are the people that seem relevant, you engage with them organically, right? You like their content. You comment authentically that, \"Hey, we couldn't agree more. That's why we started a business around that concept,\" or whatever it is, you follow them, and after a while, some of them may comment back. Some of them may follow you back. And now you've used what I call sending social signals to be able to break the ice. \"Hey, thanks for the follow. I just want to let you know, really enjoy your work. I've developed this product that really is based around the same types of things that you talk about. I don't know..\". Here's the thing, because everybody has been pitched to these days. \"...So I don't know if you work with other businesses. But I'd like to have an open ended conversation to see how we might be able to help each other.\" And this is the thing. This is businesses... Even as an entrepreneur, you have a network, you have assets, you have ways that you might be able to help influencers. So, it's funny, there was this one company that I met at a conference right before we went on lockdown. And they're like a video marketing company. So they have a video marketing tool. And it... They sort of offered to shoot a video, like a professional video, of me while I was at the conference. I'm like, \"That's awesome.\" And they gave me one year free use of their tool. They're doing this the right way. And as I was talking to them, they go, \"Neal, any advice on how we can reach out to more influencers and what we can offer them? You know, we can only offer them like one year or the tool.\" And as I was talking to them, they're located in Silicon Valley, and they have a professional video studio that's always open. I'm like, \"Dude, why don't you as you talk to influencers who do a lot of video, offer them your studio. Offer them the ability to shoot videos there with your staff for free. That is something that a lot of influencers who want to do video would love to do.\" So these are the types of things as a business, you begin to think about. It's like... Yet last night, I was on a call with a client who is a realtor. His wife is a realtor. He used to do yacht parties. He was a caterer. And every summer in Manhattan, he'd do these yacht parties on the Hudson. It's like, invite influencers to your party. They love... That's something that doesn't cost you money. So there's a lot of things as entrepreneurs that you have that you can... Maybe it's an introduction to someone. But this is the sort of open ended conversation. And probably in business as an entrepreneur, you've had these similar sorts of conversations. You want to get to someone to that point where you can have that conversation. And in order to do that, do your research, send social signals. It's like a sale. You're not going to convert everybody. You're going to do this with 100 people, maybe only 10 people reach out back to you. And this is why, if some of those people are already following you, or if you start with your followers, that 10% conversion becomes 25,35,50% conversion and you're gonna build that pool faster. But if you wanted to do it the other way around, just who's talking about us, that would be the approach and just keep an open mind. There are people... The worst thing you can do, which a lot of companies do, is: we're going to offer you like $100 amazon gift card if you share this photo.\" First of all, you don't know what the market price is. Second of all, if the market price is a lot more than that, you have just truly offended that influencer who probably will never respond to you again in the future. And number three, maybe they're not in it for the money. Maybe they're an entrepreneur as well. And they just want different things. So most brands just get it all wrong. They impose. They think of influencers as programmable ad units. \"Well, we'll hire influencers $100 a pop and see what we can get.\" No, no, no, no, no. Have an open ended conversation. What's in it for you? The basis of sales? WIIFM? I have a B2B sales background, which is why I bring all this up. \"What's in it for me?\" What do they want out of a relationship? So first of all, they have to have an interest in you. And if you've gone through this process of social signaling, and you get a response, you know at a minimum, they've checked you out. And that they have a minimum amount of interest, which gives you the green light to at least, we call it sliding into the DM, or filling out their contact form and saying, \"Hey, is there a way we can work together? I'd love to have a short phone call with you and explore possibilities.\"\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":1712.0,"body":"I want to pause here just for a moment and talk to you about a program that we have just released called the ROI QuickStart Academy for authors. Every day. I talk to business owners just like you who struggle with quickly getting their fundamentals in place. We want to create a great foundation and we want to grow our business but things that are in our way: our lack of knowledge about the specifics we should put in place, what kind of technology, what kind of messaging and what kind of campaigns? And that problem exists for authors as well. And we just gel so good with authors because, well, I'm an author, and I understand everything that you struggle with. You have a great idea. You have a great book. But what do you want to do? You want to get your book in front of more people. You want to make it easy for them to find you, learn how they can schedule a time to talk with you, hire you for a conference, or maybe sign up for the services that your book promotes. So what is the QuickStart Academy for authors? Imagine working with a small group of like-minded authors, and the experts from the ROI QuickStart team. It's a great way to get your messaging clear, to be confident with the technology in your marketing automation, and how to run a strategic campaign to get you more of what you want from the investment of your book. To learn more about the QuickStart Academy for authors, you can visit roionline.com or click in the link in the show notes below. And now, back to this episode. So, you talk about the content. The reason that you want to do the content is you want to grow your email list. You don't go buy an email list anymore. Your expectation is people will come check you out, they find something that they like, and they're happy to trade their contact information for whatever it is that you offer of value. But for example, I had this client for a while. He was really smart. He invented this machine that would lift the heavy slab of granite and then you could just push it right on to the counter in the kitchen. And before that, you had to have a bunch of meatheads that would ride over there with you and bump the walls and stuff. And I kept telling him, he needed to have two girls slide that on. That would be so convincing. But that would be a great idea is to get her since she's a bodybuilder and to do some sort of fun way of demonstrating that device.\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":1879.0,"body":"If you believe that the buyers of that device is a male dominated audience, then absolutely. The same reason why this this realtor husband... In a lot of households, it's the woman who make the decision at the end of the day when it comes to real estate. So he was actually pushing to go more on Pinterest and more targeting female demographics. So that's just smart marketing. That's smart business of understanding your audience and aligning your messaging and your visuals and your communication with that audience in any way that you can. So I agree 100% with that approach, Steve, I think that's awesome.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":1912.0,"body":"So you know, we... I'm a little older than you but, you grew up thinking there was like only four radio stations and three TV stations and a couple of newspapers and those only channels that you could advertise on. But now there's millions. And the advantage is: you don't need to compete against your competitor. You need to be creative and figure out this little niche that's no one's hanging out on. You would own that area.\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":1941.0,"body":"Yeah, and Steve, I may be older than I look, but I have memories of that of those days. And I use that analogy a lot as well. And that's why I talked about this democratization of everything. And really what we have, we have fragmented audiences, even within YouTube, Steve, that the \"viral video\" that you saw yesterday I may have never even heard of. We are just all over the place. And that's why doing a flip side of talking about influencer, marketing about how people build influence is they focus on a niche as you said. Businesses can also focus on a niche. So it's not about this mass advertising in USA Today when it was the only nationally syndicated newspaper to everybody. It's about within these fragmented audiences, where's my posse? Where are the people that are going to appreciate my product or service? Where are they hanging out? How do I get to them? And that's why, you know, as a company, you're sort of at a disadvantage because the reach of your brand's posts and social aren't that high. When you advertise, it's seen as an advertisement, which people blocked out, they don't have the trust. But people trust people like you and me. They trust people that they can relate to. These are people that are already following, that are already influencing them. And that's where that power comes in once you find those people. Even if it's... Here's the thing, Steve, if you only have... I have a startup client that I'm really proud of. We started from scratch through up to 70 Twitter followers. They're B2B, right? But we're doing webinars with companies that we've been able to find doing this on Twitter that have thousands of followers. So, whenever they do that, it's not it's not just influencers saying, \"Oh if you have 1000 followers, you have influence,\" it's also relative to where you're at. So if you only have 70 followers, and you're opartnering with companies that have thousands if not tens of thousands of followers, that's huge. That is more influence than you have. So influence is very relative. And you think about it in those terms, anybody that has a bigger following and more engagement than you have, consider it influencers is really a great way to think about it.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2057.0,"body":"I giggled when I saw one of the titles of your blogs was: \"How to figure out who has fake followers.\" Talk to us about that blog.\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":2066.0,"body":"Yeah, there's a lot of it out there. So, you know, it's funny. When I started writing the book, and I started man back in 2017 Q4, were the first iterations. So being in social media since 2009, I sort of knew who is influential on LinkedIn, who are influencers on Twitter, who are influencers in Facebook, and every now and then we saw some new people come around. And that's sort of natural. There's always people trying to climb there. They become content creators, they engage with their audience, they build a new community, that's awesome. But when it Instagram came out, I found there were just huge numbers of people that had these huge followings that I'd never seen on these other networks. And they didn't even have a URL. Who are these people? How did you know? If they were big YouTubers, or if they were big on Twitter, and they were able to translate that audience into Instagram, I get it. But these were people that I had no idea who they were or how they got that influence. And to me as a marketer, it's like... It just doesn't add up. And the more I looked into it, and did my research, the more I realized that there's there there is a lot of fraud going on Instagram, because it's very, very easy to do. You can do it on the other networks, on any network you can buy fake followers. It's not going to add to any any benefit. But at the early days of influencer marketing, especially with Instagram, there was so many companies throwing so much money at people with lot of followers that there was an economic incentive from a business perspective to buy fake followers to say I have 100,000 followers. And then, well, you need to get engagement, buy fake engagement. Even if you don't buy fake engagement, there are things called pods. And pods began with Instagram. But we see these in other social networks where it's a bunch of people that basically are commenting on each other's post to drive up the engagement, so it's all these... It's not real engagement. The problem is if you work with them, any activity is not going to go to real people. And the activity is not going to be real either. So you're not going to really going to get any ROI out of it. And this is because the brands were chasing vanity metrics, followers and likes and comments. It just it doesn't add to anything. So this is why there's been a lot of people and even people in the social media industry that I work in, it wouldn't surprise me if there were people out there that have done the same thing. Because it's like, \"Well, Mary has 10,000 followers. Why am only got 1000 followers. I'm way more famous than her. I'm just gonna buy followers.\" So the market now is caught up to leveraging that, That ebook about artificial intelligence in influencer marketing, to look for tracking someone's Instagram followers by day and then if they see a growth—the average growth is like five per day—and if they see a day where they gave like 500 followers, it's going to flag it and say you may want to check why over this day, they got that increase. So the technology is catching up to the point where you can start to see if someone has done any of these fake things, if things just don't add up. So you know, how do they get their influence? You look at their past posts, if all of a sudden they were getting an average of 50 likes and one post they get 1000 likes, why? And by just looking at those anomalies, over followers over engagement, and then doing an analysis of who the people engaging are who the followers are, you begin to get a feel as to who might be a little bit more real than fake.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2267.0,"body":"Totally, I like to look at... So I make a post. So I might get 1.3 new followers after three posts or something if you did the math. So if you look at this person all he's done seven posts, but they have, like 6000 followers.\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":2287.0,"body":"Yeah, it doesn't add up. Does it? And that's where common sense comes into play. Right? It's like, there's just no way, you know, sorry. So yeah, I agree with you. And that's the thing you need to look at. And I think companies are getting smarter about that. But on the other hand, Steve, what I've found is that if you are truly niche down... So whenever you post, I'm using Instagram as an example, but it's everywhere. And this is where the branding comes into play. So one of my most viral posts, it made the discovery page. It was I post a lot of food stuff. So it was this... It was called Manhattan roll ice cream. And I went to this and I go to Japan a lot. So I was in Japan and I did this one minute sped up video of how they create ice cream from this thin little roll. It's basically a thin ice cream like in like the thickness of a crepe, that they roll up into an ice cream cone. It's really fabulous. Yeah, this this video just gets... I mean, it's gotten literally thousands of instances, just today, I got another like on it. And what happens is people find you through a hashtag or on the Discover page, and they go to your profile. And it's like, this guy isn't even about food. I just sort of post about food as a hobby. I'm a marketer. So I don't get... It doesn't convert into a follow, right? But if the content is relevant to my profile, which is I'm a foodie, I discover the best ice cream in the world, then those people that engage are probably going to follow me. And that's why the riches are in the niches. That's why people niches do really well in social media, especially on a platform like Instagram, they get a higher conversion of new followers. And that's how those people just go up and up and up and up in terms of number of followers where a lot of other people because they're not branded well enough or their content isn't aligned with their brand, they find it a lot harder to gain new followers there. So that's, that's just a great case in point.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2393.0,"body":"So, to the folks that are listening to this podcast, Neal walks the walk. He reached out to me on LinkedIn. He asked me, he said, \"Hey, Steve, I got a new book coming out. I'd love to send you a copy, if you would consider writing a review.\" And so being an author myself, I said, \"Yeah, send me the book. I'm happy to do that.\" And then the book comes, and then I got to thinking, \"I ought to have Neal on my podcast and interview him.\" And you didn't you didn't suggest that. That wasn't... So here's a great example, this conversation of me introducing you to my audience, and vice versa. But that's influencer marketing in play right there.\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":2441.0,"body":"Yeah. And Steve, I mean, I didn't say... And I'm pretty sure that wording I use also is, \"If you found it to be recommendable. I'd be honored with a review on Amazon.\" So I'm not pushing you. But you want... If you want to incite, word of mouth marketing about your brand, you need to get the word out there. You need to get the products you need to have people using it. I needed people reading it so that they can talk about it and insight that. So the cost of a book and sending it to you via immediate mail is nothing compared to the value of appearing on your podcast or you mentioning the book to a few entrepreneurial friends and maybe one of them decides they want to work with you someday, I don't know. But that's how it works. And that is, I actually use my own case study of how I'm promoting this book as an influencer marketing case study because it really is the same concept.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2491.0,"body":"Gary Vee... It was a quote one of his books, I don't remember exactly, but he talks about how our grandparents were more inclined to excel on social media than we are because they got the value of a relationship. You know, if you had if you had a meat shop and the people come in every day, and you don't treat those people good, then they tell everybody. And that's something that we're oblivious to, or maybe we could do a lot better. But that's why the reviews, that's why liking a post or making a comment, that's... It's still in play, it'll always be in play no matter what platform. \n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":2536.0,"body":"And Steve, that's why I love working with people in their 40s, 50s, 60s that have never used social media. I go, \"Look, you're going to get this really fast. And you're going to become a much better user from a business perspective than a lot of younger generations because you understand the value of relationships. This is just a new tool, but the old rules of social etiquette of networking of business are still in play, and you get those, you can't teach those to a new generation that's grown up making relationships primarily virtually, it's just not the same.\" So I agree with you and this client whose wife is a realtor, he's in his 60s. He's like, \"Neal, this is brand new to me. I went on a snapchat for the first time. I have no clue what I'm doing.\" But he'll get it for that same reason that you brought up there with Gary V's quote.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2582.0,"body":"Yeah, you think about... Remember when smartphones came out? I had a Trio flip phone and I had all my contacts in there. I thought was really cool instead of the usual phones that we had. Finally, it was a little bit of a useful business tool. But I had all these friends that would go, \"No, I'm never gonna do that. I don't have time to put all that.\" iPhone comes out. It's like everybody has one. My mom has one. And it's like, it's, of course, we would get an iPhone. It's interesting. And so your example of the 60 year old, you'll adopt to it just fine. And you'll utilize it in the best way that fits you, not like you see all the time.\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":2625.0,"body":"And Steve, I remember back in 2008, 2009, when I was writing that first LinkedIn book and I was talking to executives, \"Why would I want to connect with someone I don't personally know on LinkedIn?\" Look where we are now, but yeah, and that's what I thought. But when you see all these things as tools, they don't become the solution. But they are tools that you use as part of this business problem or business solution that you're looking for that is not directly related to social, but when you look at it as the tool, it really unlocks a lot of power.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2660.0,"body":"It's a complimentary cohesive... It's just a piece that's going to complement a legitimate business process that's in your business.\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":2669.0,"body":"Yeah, one of my famous quotes, a lot of people quote me on social media: \"Social media replaces nothing. It complements everything.\" And that's it exactly. You're not going to stop doing everything you're doing. You're just going to figure out the best ways the best pieces you can use to help you build that puzzle.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2685.0,"body":"It's not the silver bullet. So what's the one question that I didn't ask that you wished I would have asked?\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":2694.0,"body":"No, I think we covered a lot. I think that... I'm not... I don't have an influencer marketing agency. I don't get money by you working with influencers more. So it's just another piece of the puzzle that I want to teach people. But, at the end of the day, I have and I think you need to have a really, really holistic perspective on all this because email marketing is still really powerful. In fact, my last podcast episode was about email marketing, because people are forgetting about it. And it's funny because I listened to a bunch of podcasts, one is like this young Instagram marketing dude. And everything was all this tactical stuff about Instagram marketing, and now all the things talk about email marketing, he goes, \"Well, you need to do instant Instagram marketing, but you need to build a list because that's the only way they're gonna convert.\" And he starts talking about Click Funnels and all this stuff. So, and it's... I've seen this with so many podcasts like that, where they just start on a given social network and they realize that that alone does not generate business at the end of the day. You need to have a website. You need to do content marketing, have lead magnets, you need to have emails to get multiple touches. So it all works together. But if there's one thing that you want to do in social, don't do the ads. In fact, in Asia where influencer marketing is more advanced than it is here in the United States, a lot of brands don't even have much of an organic social media presence. Or if they do, they're just republishing content of influencers talking about them. You don't even have to post organic content in social in all honesty. You want to post something to have credibility. But I believe a social media strategy that's almost 100% focused on relationships and content that you build from those relationships might be the best way to do that. And then focus the other content on the content marketing, on the email, on the blogging. I think that's just a really, really good mix of things. You'll have to find your own mix that works for you. But just as social media replaces nothing, it complements everything, influencer marketing is the same thing. It's not going to replace everything. But you're gonna try to find out where you can use that in alignment with everything else that you do.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2826.0,"body":"Well Neal, thank you for your time and being a great guest on the ROI Online Podcast. Why don't you tell people where they can reach you again?\n"},{"speaker":"Neal Schaffer ","startTime":2839.0,"body":"Yeah, well, I've gone to a different brands over time, but I realized that your name is probably the best brand. So I am Neal Schaffer everywhere on social media, NealSchaffer.com. N EA L S C H A FF E R. There are few shapers out there, but I'm the real Neal. And my book, \"The Age of Influence\" is available wherever you can buy books and all sorts of formats. And if you're into podcasts, check out the Maximize Your Social Influence podcast where I talk about this this unique lens of looking at online and digital and social media marketing through the lens of digital influence.\n"},{"speaker":"Steve Brown ","startTime":2871.0,"body":"Awesome. So for those looking, watching on the video, there's an image. It's great, nice clean book cover. I like it. It's a very well thought out. And it's published by Harper Collins. And I encourage everyone to get it and meet Neal and Neal, thanks again for being on the ROI Online Podcast. Thanks for listening to another fun episode of the ROI Online Podcast. For more, be sure to check out the show notes of this episode. And feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, where we can chat and I can help direct you to the resources you're searching for. To learn more about how you can grow your business better, be sure to pick up your copy of my book, \"The Golden Toilet,\" at surprise, thegoldentoilet.com. I'm Steve Brown, and we'll see you next week on another fun episode of the ROI Online Podcast. "}]}