One of the great benefits of social media is the dual effect of creating access to people of influence while helping individuals with expertise and points of view become influential themselves. One of my connections that serves as a great example of this is Amy Lamparske, Head of Global Social Media at 3M.
Local events and blogging undoubtedly created mutual awareness, but I didn’t meet Amy in person until she was Director, Digital Marketing at Walmart and then again when she was Director, Digital and Social Media at General Mills. In her current role at 3M, I’ve been able to see Amy’s thought leadership in action in situations ranging from being a keynote speaker at the first Brandwatch user conference to host of a Conference Board event on Social Media. Each time was a learning opportunity because Amy provides a view into enterprise social media marketing and advertising that is deep, insightful and fast moving. I’m not alone in this sentiment:
“Amy is a world class expert in social media strategy. She understands how to reach, influence and transform minds in the corporate setting and beyond. Genius and a fantastic execution partner!”
Kamal Manglani, currently Director at eBay
Amy has plenty of experience with large brand social media advertising, operations and governance, but I’ve chosen to focus on the topic of social media influencers. In this interview, Amy talks about how influencer marketing has had an impact on social social media marketing, how to activate influencers, scale influencer marketing in the enterprise and measures of success.
I believe in empowering small autonomous teams to plow through roadblocks and old school thinking.
You’ve worked for multiple global brands throughout your career, tell us what you’ve learned through your experiences?
Every company has so much potential in digital and social – it seems every executive leadership team sees the dollars and wants to embrace the opportunity. Change management and organizational readiness are the keys to driving transformation and enabling digital to thrive within large complex organizations. I’ve had some amazing sponsors throughout my career; a huge blessing that allowed me to have fun being a change agent – disrupting from the inside out. I’ve learned to be more patient and persistent while recognizing how best to influence, inspire and motivate others. I believe in empowering small autonomous teams to plow through roadblocks and old school thinking.
Brands don’t talk…People talk.
How are influencers, or how is influencer marketing changing your industry?
Early in my career, a close friend shared “brands don’t talk…people talk.” This remains true today – this space is about relationships not simply clicks. Plus, brands aren’t able to get as far as they once did with organic social. In terms of content creation, brands don’t need to be the experts anymore. What is shifting is we’re giving online influencers the ability, power and control to develop content on our behalf. Some large companies struggle with content creation while simply trying to remain relevant. It can be far more efficient and effective to go with a third party and look at their expertise, credibility and authority online.
Brands are partnering more and more with influencers to insert themselves, provide value or utility and share their stories. There’s tremendous value in speed to market activating the crowd. Buying behavior is shifting dramatically – we see an influencer publish content one day and the next thing we know, we are buying it. Influencers are growing trust, people relate to people like themselves, not always executives or celebrities.
How can brands best activate influencers to help share and promote brand content?
There are a lot of options for brands to partner and activate these days – technologies and solutions continue to sprout ongoing. I view partnerships both from a media standpoint as well as with customers to be a simple way to improve content performance. Demonstrate offline relationships online for transparency and reach purposes. Some brands still try to control the message and the way content is developed via influencers – the best approach is to provide appropriate direction from the start, and allow them to run with it. External ideas can be fresh and drive business growth in new ways. If you crowdsource content, embrace it and promote it even if it’s not 100% on brand.
You’ll want real friends online that have your back when negative sentiment comes knocking.
How can you scale influencer marketing at an organization?
Build an influencer or blogger network internally so the organization has a clear understanding and can tap their relationships on an ongoing basis. Ensure this isn’t simply paid influencer efforts – you’ll want real friends online that have your back when negative sentiment comes knocking.
With anything in social media, if you can’t scale it, don’t bother.
How do you know when its time to scale up with influencers?
We continue to grow within the B2B side of our organization. Some areas of the organization are new to working with influencers while other businesses have already built up relationships and programs. With anything in social media, if you can’t scale it, don’t bother. The idea is to provide something that is of huge value to be leveraged ongoing across the organization. Scale it yet be smart about how you make it relevant and customized for each individual influencer involved.
What are some of the most important measures of success for social influencer marketing?
Measures that drive business outcomes including: sales, stock performance, lead/demand generation, share of voice, enhanced sentiment breakdown and volume or mentions to influence the crowd.
I’ve seen brands invest too heavy on the paid side where it backfires eventually – brands need to balance.
Do you have any advice to share with other brand marketing executives when it comes to paid vs. relationship based influencer engagements? How do you decide?
It varies – if it’s something that simply makes sense for the brand and company to be involved with ongoing, true relationship based influencer engagements are the way to go. If you are looking to activate a chapter in your always-on book or align with a major tent pole event, product launch or seasonality; a blended approach is fine. I’ve seen brands invest too heavy on the paid side where it backfires eventually – brands need to balance this.
Now let’s play a little social network word association. After each platform, share the first thing or short reaction that comes to mind.
- Facebook – Oldest yet most robust targeting
- Vine – Short & sweet video
- LinkedIn – B2B, requires real content marketing not simply snackable pieces
- Periscope – Was pretty cool for six months
- Twitter – When will you be bought? Partnership w/Google is good for SEO. Love you yet need you to be respected.
- Google+ – Enhances SEO, good for brands w/reputation management issues, product could offer the world so much more coming from Google
- Snapchat – Where everything is headed, wish I could just play here all day
- YouTube – Oldie but goodie, will love you forever
- Instagram – Requires high design, starting to provide analytics and better ads
- Flickr –Old school photo sharing still kickin’
Thank you Amy!