As a student trying to learn as much as I can about social media, PR and marketing, I embrace every opportunity possible to hear from experienced professionals. The most recent opportunity was at the 11th Annual YouToo Social Media Conference at Kent State University. Keynote speakers included Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing and Shonali Burke, President and CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting.
Each speaker touched on tips and trends in today’s marketplace.
Lee focused on participation marketing and the value of influencers. He began by debunking a common myth: one’s influence is solely based on popularity. An influencer, by definition, is someone who has the ability to affect action. This can include creators, industry experts, micro influencers, etc. According to Lee, “everyone is influential about something.”
Lee left us with three tips on how to effectively implement influencer marketing:
- Identify topically relevant influencers
- Align influencer topics with brand opportunities
- Invite collaborators in a meaningful way
Shonali focused on social PR, explaining the importance of being people-focused. She stated the most successful companies put people at the forefront of their PR strategies. “When other people start telling your story for you, it’s infinitely more powerful,” she explained.
Shonali provided us the three social PR rules to follow:
- Make your work outcome-focused
- Be a part of your community
- Take leaps of faith
Prior to this conference, I had primarily thought of social as a tool used by companies to build their brand and interact with their audience. I now realize that successful social PR gives a voice to its audience rather than only marketing to it. Those who support your brand can become your greatest assets in social PR.