Schmooze Optimization: How to Make Influencer Marketing Work for You

Schmooze Optimization: How to Make Influencer Marketing Work for You
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Greg Jarboe

Last updated November 29, 2016


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In business, we optimize everything – whether it’s web design, landing page conversions, or Google ads for our products. But how far along are we when it comes to optimizing our professional interactions? 

Establishing connections with investors and influencers is one of the most important aspects of business today, so it’s only natural that a new category of optimization is emerging to deal with this fact: Schmooze Optimization.

What is Schmooze Optimization/ Influencer Marketing?

This may be the first time you’ve come across the term “schmooze optimization”, so let’s begin by defining its meaning. According to the Wiktionary, “schmooze” means “to talk casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection,” and optimization means “the design and operation of a system or process to make it as good as possible in some defined sense.” So, schmooze optimization is the process of making casual conversation with influential individuals who can help improve the visibility of you and your brand.

This article is going to focus on how you can use schmooze optimization to improve your digital video strategy – that is, how to schmooze the right people to increase views, advance engagement, and boost earnings on YouTube. While the term schmooze optimization is something of an inside joke among marketing professionals, the concept itself is gaining broad traction. You might have heard of it under another name: influencer marketing.

Why is Influencer Marketing growing so rapidly?

And data shows that interest in influencer marketing has grown almost 14 times since 2006. So, what could be driving this trend? According to the American Society of News Editors annual newsroom census, the total newsroom workforce has been cut by more than 40% -- from 55,000 in 2007 to 32,900 in 2015.  Influencers are filling the vacuum. They are topic experts, thought leaders, or brand advocates who possess strong credibility with your target audience.  Research shows that 3% of individuals generate 90% of the online conversations that impact brand lift and increase traffic, leads, and sales.

What are the challenges of Influencer Marketing?

According to a survey, marketing and communications professionals worldwide face 3 main challenges when rolling out an influencer engagement strategy:

  1. Identifying the right influencers (75%).  
  2. Finding the right engagement tactics (69%).
  3. Measuring the performance of their programs (53%).

So, whether you call this concept schmooze optimization or influencer marketing, here are some strategies for keeping your brand current and competitive in an ever-changing market.

How to use Influencer Marketing to drive engagement – for your brand

In the past, influence was exerted by select journalists, analysts, and celebrities. Today, influence is more spread out.

So, your first challenge is to find the most important people for your channel, business, or brand, whether they’re passionate fans, industry experts, or rising stars. There isn’t one tool that does this.  So you’ll want a toolkit of different tools to identify different kinds of influencers. Some of them are listed below.

Popular Influencer Marketing tools

  • BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a great tool that helps creators find influencers, bloggers, and journalists for any topic. YouTube no longer offers the Fan Finder Program or the Top Fans feature, but creators can use the new Community tab on their YouTube channel to engage with their fans in between uploads.

BuzzSumo Pro is the premium version of the software. It can tell you:

  1. Which networks that are getting most traction
  2. The days of the week successful content is published
  3. The amplification your content receives from particular influencers.
  • Traackr

Traackr is another tool that helps marketers identify the right influencers by reach, resonance, and relevance. Let’s break these terms down:

  1. Reach: Total audience size. Things like the number of YouTube subscribers go into this metric.
  2. Resonance: How much activity someone creates when they publish and the level of interaction with this person’s content. Things like engagements are good measures of someone’s resonance.
  3. Relevance: How relevant someone is to a topic. This includes how often someone creates videos that use keywords, how recent these videos are, the diversity of the keywords used, and the placement of keywords.

 

  • Tubular

Tubular is another tool that empowers brands or agencies to discover and then contact over 5 million video creators across YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. For example, e.l.f. Cosmetics used Tubular Creator Profiles to identify key influencers aligned with their brand. They then interacted with those influencers to achieved 16 million views for videos about their brand. Edelman, the social media agency, used Tubular software to set up brand deals with over 10 key influencers in the last year

How to optimize schmoozing with key influencers

The key points to follow are:

  1. Be relevant: Before reaching out to someone, find out their topics of interest, how often and where they publish, and what they enjoy doing outside of their influential zone.
  2. Be genuine: Engage by joining their conversations, leaving comments, and asking them questions; they’ll notice, so there will be plenty of opportunities to connect.
  3. Provide value: Tell journalists and bloggers about your new video under a news embargo. A news embargo is a request by a source that the news or information provided in advance to journalists or bloggers not be published until a certain date.

An example of relevant schmoozing:

Jesse Hamlin, VP of Client Services at Eastwick Communications, was struggling to get a client on the radar of an influencer. After some digging, she discovered that he had a side blog covering his interest in sports technology. When her client (a tech company) held an event at Fenway Park, she was able use that knowledge to send him exactly the right information to secure his attendance and long-term interest in her client.

An example of genuine schmoozing:

Orabrush – the makers of a tongue scraper product – created an unlisted video and emailed a link to Rob Beschizza, the managing editor of Boing Boing. Two days later, Breschizza wrote a post entitled “Orabrush tongue scraper.” It said, “Orabrush makes an inexpensive modern take on the classic tongue scraper, bristling with rubber fronds that ‘reach deep into the uneven crevices of your tongue.’ Alternative uses: muffin tenderizer, cat de-dandruffer, and scoring paddle for kinky lawn bowlers. Also, it was the best PR pitch I received this year.

An example of schmoozing in which you provide value:

Kate Larkin of Larkin/Volpatt emailed journalists before Google and YouTube announced they were extending the capabilities of Brand Lift to TV campaigns. This allowed them to plan ahead and include the news in their writing, even though their posts weren’t published until after the announcement.

How to measure the performance of your programs using metrics that really matter

Traditional metrics are not necessarily the most useful ones. You need to find the metrics that will really tell you how you’re doing. These are different for different groups:

  1. Creators are trying to build valuable audiences like the highly coveted 18- to 34-year-old demographic.
  2. Marketers are trying to get more customers to make a purchase (for an ecommerce site), complete a game level (for a mobile gaming app), or submit a contact information form (for a marketing or lead generation site). 3.
  3. Brands are trying to increase brand awareness, ad recall, consideration, favorability, and purchase intent.
  • For Creators

Creators can start use Tubular Video Ratings to measure the performance of their programs. The metrics that matter for them are:

  1. Views: There’s no standard definition of a “view,” since we can’t compare “watch time” across video platforms. Still, Tubular Video Ratings provides V30, which measures the number of views a video gets in the first 30 days.
  2. Engagement: This includes likes, shares, and comments across video platforms. Tubular Video Ratings also measures ER30, a video’s engagement rate across all published content (e.g. 2.2x more engaging than average). 3.
  3. Earnings: The “estimated earnings report” in YouTube Analytics was renamed the “revenue report” in February 2016.
  • For Marketers:

Marketers can use Google’s Campaign URL Builder to measure key characteristics of their organic video campaign’s performance:

  1. Acquisition: This metric measures the number of new users/viewers acquired per session.
  2.  Behavior: This metric measures aspects of user behavior like bounce rate, pages visited per session, and the average session duration.
  3.  Conversions: This metric measures the engagement levels of users/viewers
  • For Brands:

Brands can use Google’s Brand Lift to measure the performance of their programs. Brand Lift measures three key metrics:

  1. Awareness: It measures the impact of an ad campaign on brand awareness and ad recall.
  2. Attitude: It measures an ad campaign’s impact on consideration, favorability, and purchase intent.
  3. Behavior: It measures the impact TV and YouTube campaigns have on creating interest in a brand by using organic searches on both Google.com and YouTube.com. Early tests found that YouTube generates almost 2x more searches per impression than TV.

Why does Influencer Marketing matter?

According to Jill Pauley, Director of Online Marketing for hair-care brand Sexy Hair, Brands need relevant video content. “With the increase of videos appearing in organic search results, the importance of peer-to-peer reviews and YouTube being the second largest search engine in the world, brands can’t afford to sit idly by with fingers crossed, hoping that their products are reviewed by vloggers” she said.

Justin Marshall, a key member of creative agency POSSIBLE echoes her comments: “Influencer marketing is likely the only way brands will hack the pay-to-play algorithms built by social networks. As marketing leaders, we need to remember successful influence is pervasive, not invasive. There is a simple humanity to creating influence that leads us to look beyond buying what media execs sell to replace banner ads. Getting more for your media spend requires looking at influence at a macro-level and orchestrating every facet of influence, from paid to earned.”

About the Author

Greg Jarboe is president and co-founder of SEO-PR, an award-winning content marketing agency. He has authored and contributed to five books on digital marketing. He is on the faculty roster of the Rutgers Business School’s Mini-MBA program and the IAB’s Digital Leadership Program. Greg is also one of 25 successful online marketing gurus profiled in Online Marketing Heroes by Michael Miller.


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