meshmarketing Q&A: Danny Brown

Over the past few years, Danny Brown has become one of the leading social media experts and someone who delivers great insight on a regular basis on his blog.

An area that Danny tackled recently was the role and power of influencers through a book, Influence Marketing, he co-authored with Sam Fiorella.

Danny and Sam will be doing a session at meshmarketing about influencer marketing, and how brands can effectively identify and engage with influencers. We caught up with him to do a mini-Q&A about what he’s seen on the social media and influencer landscape.

What do you see as some of the more interesting trends within social media? What should brands be focused on? 

Authority content is becoming even more important to brands, as Google looks to clean up the web and place import on social content and authority articles over SEO and keywords. While a good content marketing strategy may have complemented a good SEO strategy before, now it seems to be much more emphasis on the content versus SEO. This is a huge game-changer, especially given the recent Hummingbird announcement from Google.

Real-time advertising based on behavioural data is also making a big play, with companies like eyeReturn here in Toronto leading the way. If you can impact an ad whilst your target audience is consuming the content where that ad is displayed, the potential for sales increases exponentially. It’s native advertising taken to the next level.

Where do most companies fall short when it comes to social media?

Short term vision over long term strategy, and lack of success metrics. Why is your brand using social media? Who’s leading the charge internally? How does it complement your other business tactics across the company (versus just being tacked onto the marketing department). How have you broken down what success metrics will look like over a period of time (months, quarters, years, as well as share of voice over financial return and vice versa)?

Too many companies are looking to social media as a golden bullet for their business, when they need to sort out their business first and then see how social can help them meet their goals, internally as well as externally.

How is influencer marketing changing? What’s the low-hanging fruit when it comes to approaching influencers (a loaded question!) 

We’re finally moving into utilizing influence marketing as an important part of a business strategy, versus seeing it as a way to get quick buzz from purported influencers because of their Klout score. Brands are looking at multiple ways to use influence – marketing is still very much a natural fit, but now we understand that influencers can be a third-party and neutral communicator in disputes; influencers can sway career decisions; influencers can truly impact purchase decisions and help advertising or marketing campaigns get back on track after a negative hit.

Brands are also looking for real influencers – not those with a high score, but those that people turn to at a given time. I may turn to my friend for advice on buying a car, but I won’t listen to him when looking to buy a great book, I’ll turn to my wife for that. Brands are finally beginning to realize this level of complex understanding is where true influence comes into play. The low-hanging fruit is still the scoring platforms, since they can provide a huge amount of data, but to get to the really tasty fruit, you need to really dig into the orchard!

Any new or favourite digital tools these days? 

I’m enjoying playing with Atomic Reach, which looks to score content before it’s published, to help you create the right level of content (language, complexity, etc.) for the type of audience you’re after (say, B2B decision-makers, or educated students, as two examples). I also like the way Medium is approaching comments – they’re more like sticky notes versus actual comments, and they can turn a piece of content into a living, evergreen entity.

Until Oct. 30, tickets for meshmarketing are $199, while full-time students can pick up tickets for $49.

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