5 Tips To Find & Work With Your Social Influencers [Infographic]

Gerry Moran

Social influencers can help small businesses, big brands and people reach an audience they cannot typically reach with their own marketing and messaging. So, why wouldn’t a marketer want to find and set up some level of a relationship with influencers to help them reach their business goals?

At SAP, we focus on two sets of social influencers – bloggers and tweeters. By connecting with each type of influencer on their terms, we can amplify our story and connect with those people new to our brand. This strategy is nothing new or spectacular. However, like a recipe, one might have the ingredients, but it’s the way that the dish is cooked that makes it taste great! So goes executing an influencer program – knowing how to mix the ingredients of seeking, finding and engaging with social influencers to strike a mutually beneficial relationship.

It is important for your company to find a social influencer set and use them to help extend your message. It’s inexpensive, authentic and powerful way to grow your business’ footprint.

5 Tips To Find and Work With Your Social Influencers

Here is an easy to implement social influencer plan infographic. You can start working on your influencer program today!

Infographic - 5 Tips To Find & Work With Social Influencers

Do you have an influencer success story or a few tips to connect with influencers? I’d like to add your tips to this infographic. If so, please share below! Or, please contact me directly on or via Twitter @GerryMoran.

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I hope I had some influence on you today to get you to start influencing your influencers! Good luck and please let me know if I can help!


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To Reach Out And Touch – Go Mobile

Terri Jo Tatusko

When a company like Yahoo! brings down the hammer on working from home, it makes you wonder. Is all of the excitement about mobile technology justified?

mobileYeah, it really is. And if you agree that mobile engagement is a good idea now, hold onto your cell phone. According to a Forrester Research report, one billion consumers will have smartphones by 2016. 350 million employees will use them for work. And the mobile app market will climb to $55 billion, pushing mobile spend to $1.3 trillion.

By 2015, business spending on mobile projects is expected to increase by 100%. If they invest wisely, companies anticipate that they can:

  • Improve customer satisfaction, stickiness, and trust
  • Serve customers at the lowest possible cost and instill in them a self-service habit
  • Increase business productivity and drive cost out of internal processes
  • Create significant new revenue sources from smart products and services

All of this may be easier said than done. In its white paper – Mobile Is The New Face of Engagement – Forrester identified some unintended consequences of this quick step to mobile nirvana. For example:

  • Coordinating data, access, and applications across multiple channels gets more complicated as firms pursue mobile engagement
  • Mobile apps will drive what Forrester calls the atomization of business processes across every engagement channel, forcing a rethink of every process interface
  • Dramatic increases in activity volumes could grind to a halt networks, middleware, and databases designed for occasionally used PC applications and networks
  • IT will also have to move beyond perimeter security to a layered security model that protects data and applications at every step on the data path, including the source 
  • Platforms diversity and time-to-market requirements will dictate a slew of organizational and process changes; and vendor management skills are a must

Making the Mobile Connection

Assuming you recognize the opportunities that going mobile represent, Forrester Research makes the recommendations:

  • First — Establish the office of the Chief Mobility Office to coordinate business and technology

The chief mobility officer will manage a team that sits between business groups and IT. It coordinates all mobile business and technology projects and it acts as an incubator for emerging business technology organization.

  • Second — Develop a mobile engagement guide to facilitate mobile business projects

The purpose of the engagement guide, said Forrester, is to ensure that business and technology teams understand that mobile engagement is not business as usual. The guide should document a clear understanding of the tasks that people do on their mobile devices. It should focus on user experience, not just on the user interface.

  • Third – Create a mobile architecture blueprint to manage mobile technology investments

According to Forrester, a mobile strategy will fail if it doesn’t adhere to an architecture that explicitly links task-oriented mobile apps to engagement software, application management, and back-end systems of record. The mobile architecture blueprint lays out the technology issues that IT must resolve in order for mobile engagement apps to work. The architecture focuses more on orchestrating the work of others than building apps, but it carries a clear and important set of responsibilities.

Want more details? Register to read the Forrester Report here.


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3 Leaders No Team Should Be Without

Ellen Weber

3 Leaders No Team Should Be Without

Ever watch talented teams talk but do little else? Or have you seen original ideas wilt away for lack of sustenance when people meet? Winning teams cultivate whole brain leaders who unlock three linchpin skills in order to co-lead innovative outcomes.

Go for ASK, STEP and SEE Leaders

Co-led teams pull together to strengthen, support, and sustain talent. But how?

Long before science revealed how synapses fire whole brain thinking, successful innovators used good questions to map new cognitive landscapes. From talented questioning abilities, to Steve Jobs’ knack for big-picture thinking, teams crave innovation in return for their talent.

Successful innovators used good questions to map new cognitive landscapes

Check out below, what ASK STEP and SEE leaders could add to your next meeting.

EllenWebers 3 leader skills

ASK Leaders Question Possibilities

Team differences create gridlock until its ASK leaders listen with their brains, to help resolve disagreements. ASK leaders move the team along with questions that elicit original offerings. They ask:

  • What if you added…?
  • Did you know that similar ideas succeeded in past because…?
  • Have you considered the possibility of…?
  • Have you considered how your ideas may work better if…?
  • What if you show how your innovation is new and different because…?
  • Did you know that this goes against broken approaches now because…?
  • How will this add more success to…?
  • What benefits will come and last because…?
  • How will you lead this innovation when…?

STEP Leaders Guide Action

Teams stagnate until STEP leaders motivate and guide visible action. STEP leaders simply facilitate meaningful opportunities to apply what is brainstormed. After hearing from many ideas, they suggest the next doable action step. With a STEP leader’s guidance, teams pound dynamic paths forward – by applying one small action step at a time.

STEP leaders simply facilitate meaningful opportunities

When stops and bumps disrupt the way – STEP leaders encourage teams to sidestep glitches in favor of applying and tweaking possibilities.

Have you ever seen a team lose its way before members act? STEP leaders clarify solutions that drive the next doable step. How so?

Perhaps a cynic dwells on problems – adding fog and distractions. Cynicism causes entire teams to lose sight of the target. STEP leaders convert “I can’t” into “what if you…” or “have you considered…?”; change “I’m confused” into “how can we clarify it together?”; refine “The problem is…” into “what possibilities do you see?”; redirect “don’t know how to” into “how can we all help you?”

STEP leaders convert “I can’t” into “what if you…”

SEE Leaders Spot and Navigate Big Pictures

Teams can swirl in circles, until SEE leaders collaborate and illustrate the overall team vision.

With whole-brain-visualizing, team members’ individual strengths make sense to teams. The SEE leader consults with others to list and sequence details that improve big picture targets.

SEE leader consults with others to list and sequence details

Team members might move from big picture illustrations of a group innovation to:

  1. Research answers obtained, and displayed. Perhaps a video will be completed to compare expert responses.
  2. Narrow the improvement being built to highlight one main problem or barrier that challenged team outcomes.
  3. Survey multiple intelligences to see people’s strengths so that projects include several intelligences across diverse departments at work.
  4. Reflect in ways that lead to “where to from here” steps and move the innovation design into its next iteration.

Most would agree that too many innovations fizzle and die before inception. ASK, STEP and SEE leaders together flip on that molecular switch and light up original ideas that teams crave.


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The Future of Marketing – Adapt And Be Creative!

Michael Brenner

future of marketingIn our last Future of Marketing interview, Scott Brinker riffed off the Marketing and Big Data idea by asking if the future of marketing was all about “Big Testing?

Previous interviews covered customer experience, thought leadership, , creating a content culture, the roles of content and technologythe future of search, the science of marketing, the rise of Content Brands and we asked whether the customer or the content is king in the future of marketing.

Today’s interview is with Telus Communication’s Social Media Marketing Manager Paula Cusati. Please follow Paula  online on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Tell us about yourself?

paula_cusatiI am a digital marketing manager at TELUS Communications –a national telecommunications company in Canada.

I’ve spend my career (15+ years) at TELUS working primarily in a B2B environment with a strong focus on web, social media and digital activities. I love technology and the potential it represents for individuals and businesses of all size.

What are some tough marketing challenges you face?

Some of the marketing challenges I have  faced over the years are not unlike those of other large organizations – a diverse customer base with a variety of needs, the requirement to integrate complex systems, determining the best way to embrace technologies such as sales process automation and social media all while offering meaningful value to our current and future customers. The way we’ve addressed these challenges is by having a focus on the customer – trying to understand their needs and opportunities and how we can support them via our products and channels to market.

What is your prediction for the future of marketing?

The world of marketing has changed a great deal over the past decade with the influx of technology into all aspects of our lives.  There are no lack of predictions about how technology will continue to have a large impact on businesses and marketing.  My take on the future of marketing is that it will continue to be driven by the customer and technology but I believe the changes will be swifter and more profound than what we have seen to date.

Why will this change be more profound? As we know there are many technology trends in play including the shift to use of mobile technologies , BYOD in the workplace and  the impact of the Cloud to name a few. A couple of trends stand out to me that I think will really drive change and ultimately expectations that marketers will have to address:

  • The growth of Entrepreneurship and its influence in our economy.  In his article Trends for 2013: The Rise of the Entrepreneur, J.D. Meier tells us that 2013 is the Year of the Entrepreneur and due to economic pressures and competition, innovation to find new ways to do things more efficiently is in demand.  “With the power of the Cloud and social computing, smart people can spin up businesses that reach around the world in a more cost effective way than ever before,” Meier said. Take a look at Mashable’s Launchpad to see examples of innovative startups already in practice.
  • Increased use of technology in the classroom gives a comfort level to up-and-coming employees and customers that we’ve never seen before.   We hear a lot about millennials and their comfort with technology largely because of their personal use – but another trend I’ve observed is how technology is being used increasingly in the classroom.  As a result we’ll see collaboration, innovation, and crowd sourcing via the leveraging of technology done at all levels of education. These activities will become a natural part of the problem solving process by young millennials coming into the work force. Smart marketers may want to invest in the technical education of young students to guide and learn from this generation.

Innovation via technology is creating opportunities for savvy businesses while customers and employees are highly technically-literate and open to new ways of working and achieving objectives.  In this environment it’s likely that organizations will experience intense competition from sources we haven’t even thought of – perhaps from an emerging economy or from a small start-up that creates service that addresses a customer need in a new and innovative way.

Whatever this competition ends up looking like, marketers need to understand how customers think, what their challenges are and to be open to supporting customers in different ways. Perhaps by partnering with a startup or even with customers themselves.  Marketers must lead the way by staying current with trends and anticipating how these trends can be translated into value for our customers and ourselves.

If we aren’t open to adapt and be creative in how we address our customers’ needs, someone else will.

Thanks to Paula for sharing her thoughts. Now tell me what you think in the comments below? And please follow along on TwitterLinkedInFacebook and Google+ or Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.


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Sitting On Cash Reserves? Don’t Be A Bad Apple!

Drew Hofler

Sitting On Cash Reserves? Don’t Be A Bad Apple!I once took a tour of a local apple orchard here in Minnesota and learned that apples can be kept “fresh” for up to 12 months when placed in a cold, low oxygen environment known as Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage.

This practice is widespread in the fruit industry and is in large part what keeps our grocery stores stocked with fresh fruit throughout the year.

Alas, the refrigerator in my basement apparently does not work on the same principles.

Opening that fridge the other day for the first time in quite a while, I was greeted by a rather pungent odor emitted by what I can only describe as shriveled alien heads wrapped in colorful wooly scarves.  At least that’s what the apples and peaches purchased months before appeared to have transformed into!

At the risk of torturing this analogy, there has been a lot of news in the past week about a slightly more famous Apple that has let the fruit of its labors sit in storage so long that it is starting to cause a stink.  With around $137 Billion in cash sitting on its balance sheet, Apple is a poster child for the new reality of large corporations holding on to truckloads of cash, and not doing anything with it to give shareholders return beyond keeping it safe in a bank vault.  And late last week hedge fund investor David Einhorn, initiated a lawsuit designed to force Apple to take some of their cash out of storage and use it in the form of a new type of dividend bearing stock.

In a Wall Street Journal article about this, it is clear this is just the latest manifestation of a now “…old problem, that of cash-heavy companies. U.S. companies have been retaining unusually large amounts of cash since 2008, in part because … the slow economy has made it hard to find profitable new investments.  But … shareholder pressure is growing to put that cash to work.”

Clearly, shareholders are starting to smell something rotten…the rotten return on cash sitting idle in a historically low-interest rate environment!

With shareholders on the one hand decrying the lack of return on idle cash, and CFOs and Treasurers on the other hand wanting to keep enough cash around to handle any unexpected swings in the economy, what can a company do to combat this conundrum?

As part of the solution, a growing number of companies are deploying some of their cash to invest in their own supply chains through a B2B network enabled practice called Dynamic Discounting.  With a dynamic discounting platform, these companies can collaborate automatically with their suppliers to provide accelerated cash flow to their supply chain while earning significantly better yield on their cash than they are getting from the bank.

With all the investor pressure, companies must at some point begin to draw down their cash stores through options like dividends to shareholders, stock buy-backs, capital investments, acquisitions and the like.  But given the painful lessons of the Great Recession, my money is on companies keeping a still large amount of cash on hand for the foreseeable future…just in case.

If they do, I hope they learn from those who have realized the benefits of dynamic discounting and put some of that cash to work earning something for their shareholders.  Otherwise, with interest rates not going anywhere for at least a couple more years, it will just continue to sit there earning rotten returns.

And nobody likes a bad Apple.


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