You Can’t Just “Tap” Into Influencers

Influencer marketing seems to be the latest buzzword over the last few years and platforms like Klout, Get Little Bird and Traackr have dominated this space when it comes to identifying influencers within specific markets.

At W2O Group, we have proprietary methodology that combines quantitative scoring and human intelligence to identify the top 1% of influencers (in a specific category, topic, geography, language) that actually move the market when they speak.

Before diving into influencers you must first understand the market and how it’s shaped. (Click to Tweet!)

Influencer MarketingWe look at the market through the lens of the 1:9:90 audience framework. We didn’t create this model but we have perfected it over the last 7 years in activating programs and the model has proven to be true regardless of what vertical or industry you work in.

The “1%” drive the market based on their actions – what they write/tweet about or what they say at events and interviews. They are influencers and are seen as subject matter experts for a specific topic.  Our algorithms show that there are never more than 50 people who drive the majority of share of conversation for a brand or a topic in a given country or language.

The “9%” are highly active online. They recommend, share, sign up, download, comment and other actions that let their community of peers know what they think about certain topics. In many respects, this group serves as the “trust filter” for the rest of the market.

The “90%” are the great majority of any market. They lurk and learn. This group is satisfied with using search for discovering new products or consuming the content of their peers. They decide how compelling the 1% and the 9% really are in telling your brand’s story based on their purchase behavior.

In the upcoming PRSA webinar, I will go deep in explaining how we arrive at identifying the 1% of influencers; and then provide very actionable examples of how you can activate those influencers across paid, earned, shared and owned media channels.


Michael Brito Michael Brito leads social strategy for the W2O Group – an analytics driven marketing and communications firm. He is also an Adjunct Professor at San Jose State University and author of “Your Brand, The Next Media Company”.  You can connect with him directly on Twitter and LinkedIn

Three Alternative Methods for Identifying the Right Media Contact

As new PR pros, you’ve likely sat through a webinar or listened to some sort of training for PR software and services such as Cision or Vocus.

Three Alternative Methods for Identifying the Right Media Contact While an extremely useful tool for building media lists and identifying media contacts to reach out to with the awesome story you have to tell, don’t fall into the trap of letting these portals be the be-all and end-all of how you determine who you’re going to pitch or share your news release with.

As an entry-level PR pro at my first job right out of college, I was asked to build a list of media contacts that might be interested in sharing details of the large-scale art installations at an upcoming music festival. Of course, my list included the likes of the local weekly alternative publications and those already who had shown an interest in the music festival.

But it also included Rolling Stone, and Forbes.

My supervisor – and mentor to this day – immediately questioned me on this. Why would Rolling Stone, let alone Forbes, write about a collection of art installations? That doesn’t exactly fall into their realm of the publications’ typical coverage topics.

But I stood my ground because I knew I had done my research. Sure enough, Rolling Stone was the first-ever national placement of my career on the art installations of an electronic dance music festival.

What’s the lesson here? I didn’t use Cision to find these contacts.

Here are three alternative methods for identifying the right media contact for your pitch or news release:

Use the outlet’s search function.

Admittedly, this is easier when you know what outlet you’re hoping to see your client’s story featured. For example, you know you have an excellent finance story.

Head to (or whatever outlet you’ve identified) and search for topics similar to your client. Is the pitch on the state of the economy? On an innovative payment system? Search using these terms to identify who has covered this type of story for the outlet in the past and go from there.

Take to Twitter.

More times than not, you will find a reporter using the method above and find that their email address is as elusive as the golden snitch. This is where social media can be an excellent tool to identify a media contact’s info.

A simple tweet to the journalist giving them a quick synopsis that you want to reach out to them with a story idea and a request to have them DM you their email address can work magical wonders.

Additionally, consider using Twitter to cross-check that the journalist is the right fit. Often times, you’ll find that their designated beat / what they cover is referenced in their Twitter bio.

Ask another reporter. 

Read: this is not to say email or call a random reporter and ask them who you should pitch.

Rather, this is a recommendation to never take no for an answer. As part of pitching or sending a news release, there’s the follow-up phone call. If a reporter turns you down, don’t let that be the final word. Ask them, “Do you think this might a better fit for someone else at the outlet?”

Remember that the person on the other end of the phone is in fact a person. They are likely willing to help you and point you in the right direction.

And if not, the worst they can tell you is no.

These are just a few tried and true methods I’ve found to be helpful when Cision or Vocus just doesn’t have the answers you’re looking for. Do you have another tool or route you’ve taken to find a media contact? I’d love to hear it! Share with me on Twitter at @shandihuber.

Shandi HuberShandi Huber is a senior account executive at Wordsworth Communications, a public relations agency in Cincinnati, Ohio. An enthusiast for all social media platforms, you can often find her pinning her dream closet on Pinterest or posting photos of her new puppy on Instagram. Connect with Shandi on LinkedIn and Twitter(@shandihuber).

Book Review: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: Telling Your Story In A Noisy Social World

Training. It’s a part of an athlete’s life, but it’s also important to PR pros.
From newbies to veterans, we all need to train ourselves to be storytellers for our companies, our clients and even our personal brands, on all the right social networks.
jab jab right hook book reviewConferences are great for training, but if you’re on a tight budget, especially as a new PR pro, your best bet is to hit the books. Enter Gary Vaynerchuk and his third book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” which will train you how to tell your story in a noisy social world.
Vaynerchuk asks readers to consider “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” as a “training camp to prepare you to storytell on today’s most important social media sites.” 
The objective of great storytelling is to create outstanding content on the right platform, and he compares doing that to the sport of boxing (hence the jabs and right hook).
Key takeaways
I highlighted a lot of great points throughout my copy of the book, and the following three takeaways stood out to me most.
1. “Content is king, but context is God.” 
You can create really great content that is compelling, but if you put it out on the wrong platform—or it misses what a certain platform is all about—it won’t be the hit you expect it to be. And as Vaynerchuk points out, content for the sake of content is pointless.
2. “No matter who you are or what kind of company or organization you work for, your number-one job is to tell your story to the consumer wherever they are.” 
It could be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter , etc., but it is most likely that customers are on all three and even more than that. You need to make sure that your content is relevant to your customer on the platforms they utilize most.
3. “Skillful, native storytelling increases the likelihood that a person will share your content with a friend.” 
That increases your brand’s audience further and further. Shareable content makes your brand more memorable in the future and tells your story beyond your network of consumers.
Train by example
If you’re the typical new PR pro, you were probably a first adopter of many social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest) that Vaynerchuk covers in “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.”
You know the ins and outs of these sites. But don’t think that means this book isn’t relevant to you!
It is easy for brands to get in the grind of posting the same content to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (I’ve seen it happen before), but that way of promoting content is a great disservice for the very reason why context is so important.
The best way to complete the training that this book offers is to flip through to the “color commentary.” This is where he breaks social networks up by chapter and gives countless examples of good and bad content with screenshots of various campaigns.
Some will make you rethink your strategy, and others will make you cringe, asking “what were they thinking?!”
Do you believe in the power of storytelling and context? What do you consider to be the most important way to get your brand noticed?
Victoria BepplerVictoria Beppler is a graduate of Waynesburg University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations as well a Master of Business Administration in Market Development. She currently manages social media, email marketing, the annual fund and more for her alma mater as the Assistant Director of Alumni Relations. When she isn’t in the office or traveling to alumni events around the country, you can find her working on a DIY project or hanging out with her husband, Josh, and their dog, Brinkley. Connect with Victoria on Linkedin and Twitter (@victoriabeppler).

Likeable Social Media: Book Review

714bRDv3idL._SL1500_As a new PR pro, one of the many roles you may play on your team is to manage the social media accounts for various clients. I already know what you’re thinking. How hard can it be to post on a client’s page once a day?

When you take on this responsibility, it’s important to keep in mind what you think might be common sense, isn’t after all. I was reminded of this after reading Dave Kerpen’s “Likeable Social Media: How to delight your customers, create an irresistible brand, and be generally amazing on Facebook and other social networks.”

A New York Times and USA Today bestseller, the book explores the basics and fundamentals of managing a Facebook page on behalf of a client while offering real-life examples from Kerpen’s own experience. Cofounder and CEO of Likeable Media, Kerpen uses his own experience with national brands such as, Neutrogena, Uno’s Pizzeria and more to paint a picture of real-time case studies.

What was interesting about Kerpen’s approach and what I especially appreciated were the action items found at the end of each chapter. While I was highlighting ferociously every time I came upon something I found relevant or applicable to my client, I found it super helpful that there were three to five quick takeaways for how the reader could apply what was covered in the chapter on their own.

Here are my own three quick takeaways from Likeable Social Media that hopefully can serve as food for thought in your own social media strategies:

Be human.

When posting and engaging on behalf of your client, converse with your followers in the voice and tone that is appropriate for the client. But be careful to not come off as a robot. For example, a luxury eyewear brand wouldn’t respond to a customer’s compliment with “That’s totally awesome. Thanks for sharing!” Instead, their response would likely sound a bit more like “Thank you so much for your kind comment. We appreciate you taking the time to share your great experience with us.”

Respond to your positive comments, too.

This might be a no-brainer, and a bit of a “duh” moment. No matter how simple it might seem positive comments might get overlooked more than a negative comment would. Think about it – one negative comment from a customer complaining about customer service or a product on your website and the entire team can go up in arms, trying to respond to the customer in a timely and appropriate manner. A simple thank you from a customer, however, could go unacknowledged from the company for hours – even days.

Take the time to respond to your positive feedback. After all, these are the people who could possibly be brand ambassadors for your company down the road by sharing your company’s news with their friends.

Create a community.

Kerpen shared various examples such as Stride Rite that successfully created a community using their Facebook page. The shoe company achieved this not by posting about shoes every day, all day. Rather, the company decided to shift gears and take the approach of sharing content that would be interesting and relevant to their target audience: moms – and their kids who wore the shoes.

Now, this community of moms is consistently engaging on Stride Rite’s Facebook page on tips for new moms, pictures and videos of babies and milestone moments, and general questions for raising a child. And what’s key is that Stride Rite has embraced this and responds to comments, questions and shared items. As a result, Kerpen says the company online sales increased steadily week over week since the initiative launched.

Finally, my one criticism of the book was that I was searching and hungry for additional best practices on other social media platforms, specifically Instagram and Twitter. If Kerpen decided to come out with a book on best practices for Instagram, I’d read it.

If you’ve just started your first PR job and will be handling social media for a client, I’d highly suggest this book. It will take you from the newbie in the office to the rock star rookie with stellar social media strategy in no time.

If you have any questions or want to chat more about what I found interesting from this book, find me on Twitter at @shandihuber!

Shandi HuberShandi Huber is a senior account executive at Wordsworth Communications, a public relations agency in Cincinnati, Ohio. An enthusiast for all social media platforms, you can often find her pinning her dream closet on Pinterest or posting photos of her new puppy on Instagram. Connect with Shandi on LinkedIn and Twitter(@shandihuber).

Three Quick and Easy Ways to Build Your Online Community

Three Quick and Easy Ways to Build Your Online CommunityWe know for the good old- fashioned sales funnel to work, your message needs to have the widest possible reach.

In an online and socially-driven world, that means brands need to pay attention to building their online communities. But, it doesn’t have to be complex or take hours a day.

Here are a few ways to use some common social media tools to get you where you need to be in just minutes.

1. Use Twitter searches.

The Twitter search feature allows you to look for tweets and users talking about a specific topic. Perhaps your company is a car dealership. You can search for the phrase “new car” and peruse the tweets for potential customers. You can narrow the search down to tweets near you, and you can even use the Advanced Search feature to find tweets in a specific zip code or date range.

Once you find your new potential audience, interact! Find those tweets about needing a new car and respond to the user with a link to the latest deals on your website. Encourage them to stop in to your dealership. Follow some of the users.

When a brand interacts with a user on social media, that person feels like he or she is getting special, personal attention. This is essential for creating brand loyalty, and, ultimately, revenue for your organization.

2. Stay on top of trends.

Facebook now displays a list of topics that are trending in its network on every user’s home page.

When you click to expand the topic, you can see more articles on the topic, Facebook posts from individuals named in the stories, what people in your own network are saying about the topic, and a live feed of reactions to the topic from all over the world. Use these trends to create customized social content to draw new users into your online community.

A word of caution: This is only effective if your brand is relevant to the trending topic. If you try to involve your brand in the wrong trend, it could turn into a PR disaster.

For example, if Car Company A is trending because it announced a massive recall, your dealership, which sells vehicles from Car Company B, could post an article about your product’s safety ratings and an offer for an extra 10 percent on a trade-in of a Car Company A car. Your brand and content are totally relevant to the trending topic.

Things start getting a tricky when the trending topics involve politics, tragedy, natural disaster, etc. It is best to avoid linking your content in these sensitive situations. Any content or comments made in bad taste will turn into a PR gaffe.

3. Do an Instagram promotion.

With nearly 300 million monthly active users, brands can’t forget about using Instagram. The visual-only platform is the perfect place to show off products.

Launch a photo contest by creating a hashtag relevant to your brand and encouraging users to send in their own photos that pertain to the topic. Offer a special giveaway for those who engage with your brand through Instagram.

Don’t forget to do your part by interacting with the users and their photos. “Like” some of the photos that are posted and respond to comments as much as possible. Remember that two-way communication is imperative for building an online community. Let the community know you’re listening.

Jennifer MaterkoskiJennifer Materkoski is a graduate of Kent State University with a Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications with a specialization in Public Relations. She has worked as a writer and editor for both newspaper and television and as a member of a non-profit marketing and development team. Materkoski is the owner and principal consultant of a boutique public relations firm, Songbird Public Relations. She is an avid sports fan, a yogi and also owns and operates an online store selling essential oils and natural products. Materkoski resides in Wheeling, West Virginia with her husband and son. Find her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @MrsMaterkoski. She can be reached via email at