Lee Odden Demystifies the Confluence Equation to Help Marketers Get Better Results

Influencer marketing is not a new concept. Public relations professionals, journalists and forward-thinking marketers have been executing some form of influencer marketing for decades.

While that may be the case, times have changed.

The expectation for influencer content marketing has evolved, which means consumers have higher expectations and the influencers themselves are more particular about who they partner with. However, our Influence 2.0 report with Altimeter Group and Traackr found that 57% of marketers say influencer marketing will be integrated in all marketing activities in the next 3 years.

Last week at Social Media Marketing World, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden took the stage to help marketers transition influencer marketing from something they’d like to do, to something they can execute strategically.

Interest in Influencer Marketing is on the Rise

According to Google Trends, the interest in influencer marketing has outpaced email marketing, SEO, social media marketing and content marketing.

What is Influence Really?

Often, influence is confused with simply having a large social following. According to Lee, there are five areas that make up influence:

  • Personality
  • Passion
  • Popularity
  • Persuasion
  • Power

Not every influencer (even good ones) are going to have all five nailed down. Some may have a combination of passion, persuasion and power, but don’t have the popularity. That’s why it’s essential to include different types of influencers into your content programs such as brandividuals, niche experts, internal experts, up-and-comers, customers and prospects.

Influence is the ability to affect action. @leeodden Click To Tweet

How Can Influencer Marketing Help Solve Common Marketing Challenges?

Marketers are experiencing challenges in every stage of the buying funnel all the way from the attract stage to advocacy. Here are some ways influencer marketing can help at the different stages:


  • Reach new audiences
  • Inspire advocacy
  • Retarget influencer followers


  • Creators bring talent
  • Authenticity and voice of customer
  • Influencer and audience channel match


  • Influencers are trusted
  • Relevance increases action
  • Credibility converts


  • Community participation
  • Showcase employee influencers
  • Create info-taining utility


  • Showcase customer expertise
  • Testimonials
  • Create incentives for referrals

The people who are ignoring your ads are still engaging with peers and influencers. @leeodden Click To Tweet

Why Empathy + Ask + Reward (repeat) = Success

To create a successful influencer marketing program, Lee suggests implementing the following three steps and then repeating to continue developing audience and influencer relationships:

Empathy: Understand customer and influencer goals

Ask: Engage influencers to collaborate

Reward: Show recognition or compensate for influencer contributions

Be thoughtful about how you ask and how you reward when working with influencers. @leeodden Click To Tweet

How to Find the Right Influencers to Partner With

An essential key to influencer marketing success is to find the RIGHT influencers to partner with for content co-creation. Here’s how:

Topic: Determine the topic (aligned with audience needs) that you’d like influencers to contribute to.

Research: Based on the defined topic, begin searching for experts who are influential.

Validate & Refine: It’s best to use multiple tools (which pull from different sources) to validate the list you’ve created. Use tools like Onalytica, Traackr and BuzzSumo to research and correlate this information.

When you are creating content, think about which influencer you could include who might be willing to contribute and then share. @leeodden Click To Tweet

A Maturity Model for Influencer Marketing

As with any digital marketing tactic, it’s important to know where you are now in order to understand what it takes to get to the maturity level you’d like to be. Use the sample influencer marketing maturity model below to identify where your brand lands today:

What to Do Next

If you’re ready to begin your influencer marketing journey, or just want to mature your approach, follow the three steps below:

  1. Get Expert Help: Research the market and identify who your potential influencers are. Then develop a strategy to lead your efforts.
  2. Invest in Technology: Finding the right technology (or partner that has the technology) is essential to developing and scaling a successful influencer marketing program.
  3. Activate Influencers: Begin by interviewing your internal experts, clients and existing online community. Then you can identify what works best and scale your efforts.

To see some examples of great influencer marketing in action read: How to Succeed at Great B2B Content Marketing with More Credible Content

7 Down & Dirty Ways Brands Can Collaborate with Fans to Create Amazing Content #SMMW18

“So much time and so little content to create.” – Said no one ever

Let’s face it marketers, creating a quantity of quality content isn’t easy. Even more so, creating a quantity of quality content that your audience cares about is even more difficult.

So, when you don’t have an unlimited budget or execution resources, what can you do?

One way to create more impactful content, is to encourage and support the creation of user generated content (UGC).

But does it really work? According to TapInfluence, 92% of consumers turn to people they know for referrals above any other source. Additionally, 88% of consumers trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from their personal contacts.

To help determine how UGC can work for your brand, the Delightful Duo which consists of MGM Resorts International’s Beverly Jackson and Microsoft’s Karianne Stinson took stage at Social Media Marketing World to share some real-world, down and dirty tips for collaborating with fans. Here are the top takeaways:

#1 – Stock Photography: Yea or Nay?

Both members of the Delightful Duo unanimously voted nay on using stock photography. But why? Authenticity is a key factor in great UGC which means if your brand is creating and sharing original images, it will inspire and encourage your audience to follow suit.

The whole point of UGC is that it drives greater engagement and makes the content more authentic. @bevjack #SMMW18 Click To Tweet

#2 – Investing in UGC

Truth be told, most brands do not have a defined budget allocated for UGC. However, there is a big opportunity to invest in your UGC strategy. That means, taking the time to be thoughtful about how you will approach UGC and what you’d like to achieve.

If your brand is just starting out, there may be an investment needed to encourage UGC. @karianne #SMMW18 Click To Tweet

#3 – Work with Influencers to Inspire UGC

Engaging influencers to create content is a fantastic way to show a good example of the type of UGC content you’d like to see your audience creating. Working with professionals will help show your audience the power of what is possible.

Using UGC in a brand narrative alongside influencers, allows you to empower your audience to see what is possible with the product/service. @karianne #SMMW18 Click To Tweet

#4 – Make the Experience Special

According to Beverly, her team has taken photos of every possible angle of the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas. So, photos of the fountain may not be the best solution for UGC. Instead, find unique and special content that truly reflects what the brand believes and share that with your audience (which will inspire them to do the same).

Get past the thing that is the obvious and find the thing that truly makes the experience special. @bevjack #SMMW18 Click To Tweet

#5 – Make Branded Content More Like UGC

Brands, take a note from UGC. Your content should feel more like UGC because let’s face it; it’s the content they want. Learn to speak your fan’s language through your branded content. The two content types should be complimentary to each other.

If UGC content is more interesting than what your brand is creating, your brand is doing it wrong. @karianne #SMMW18 Click To Tweet

#6 – Strive for Content Authenticity

In the end, if your content isn’t authentic, the audience experience will not be a great one. Make sure that you are real and honest with your content in a way that your audience won’t walk away disappointed.

Focus on great experiences. What does the content mean for real people? @bevjack #SMMW18 Click To Tweet

#7 – Keep in Mind Rights & Legality

Ultimately, brands need to ensure that UGC is used with permission and that creators are compensated in some way (if it makes sense). If necessary, get permission to use UGC in writing to avoid any legal issues.

You can’t just take someone else’s content for free. @bevjack #SMMW18 Click To Tweet

Start Making UGC Work for Your Brand!

If you’re considering UGC but haven’t started, what are your biggest questions? If you’ve incorporated UGC into your content strategy, what has worked?

For more on influencer marketing be sure to join us at 4:10PST this afternoon for TopRank Marketing’s Lee Odden’s presentation on How Content Plus Influence Equals Results: The Confluence Equation.

50 Social Media Marketing Influencers to Learn From in 2018

Social Media Marketing Influencers 2018

It’s that time of year again for the conference extravaganza known as Social Media Marketing World.  Each year I pull together a list of influential voices that are engaging on social networks around the topic social media marketing. My goal? To help showcase speakers for people in the industry to learn from and follow.

Why are these people influential? That’s a great question. I would answer with, “Why is anyone influential?”. Because they have specific expertise that they share publicly, consistently and in a way that improves the knowledge, skills and perspectives of those who follow them.

Influence is not only popularity. Influence is the ability to affect action.

When I started out in my digital marketing career, it was thanks to connecting with some generous people that had a lot more experience than me that I was able to overcome introversion and reluctance to write and become an international keynote speaker, author and blogger with over 1.4 million words written so far. What I have learned about influence is that it is not self-assigned.

Influence is earned by being helpful, effective and relevant as well as having reach. Influence is also earned by mentoring those who are coming up in the industry. While working with influencers transfers influence by association, helping others become influential is when earned influence really skyrockets.

In this year’s list of Social Media Marketing Influencers there are many people who demonstrate this kind of helpfulness and I am encouraging those influencers as well as our community of readers to nominate up and coming social media marketing leaders. You can find more details on that at the end of the post.

About the Methodology for this List:

Specific Scope: Rather than scan the entire social web, the starting data set for this list is having been named as a speaker for the SMMW18 conference. Mike Stelzner and Phil Mershon of Social Media Examiner do an amazing job of hand picking speakers for this conference and this list is an extension of their research and expertise into finding, qualifying and recruiting over 180 social media marketing speakers.

IRM Platform Assisted: Ranking of the people in this list leverages data and algorithms from Traackr, an influencer relationship marketing platform. Unlike the vast majority of lists like this that are published online, this list considers many more data sources than just Twitter. To provide a better sample across the web, Traackr ranking can include citations and links from data sources such as blogs, publications, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

Ranking data sources and scoring: For the ranking, this list leverages a combination of data points including:

  • Relevance – A score that indicates how influential a person is to a specific topic based on the keywords you provide. Signals for relevance include keyword mentions, keyword diversity, content production rate, freshness of content and other contextual measures. In this case, it was “social media marketing” as well as 10+ derivative phrases.
  • Resonance – A score of how impactful the influencer is with their audience. Resonance measures engagement activity that occurs as a result of publishing (mostly social) content.
  • Reach – A score derived by the reach algorithm that takes into account followers, fans, subscribers, visitors and other audience metrics. Remember, this is more than just Twitter.
  • Audience – Overall social audience size

Each of these signal sources are factored into the algorithmic ranking for identified influencers with a focus on topical relevance, resonance of message with the audience and then audience reach. The result is a combination of broad based influencers as well as individuals with a very specific focus and very high resonance and relevance scores. What I like about pulling this list together is seeing a number of new faces as well as as a variety of disciplines and specialties represented.

This list of 50 industry experts speaking at Social Media Marketing World is worth checking out as you plan which presentations to see, who to follow online and who to meet.

Kim Garst @kimgarst
Live Streaming Strategist, Social Selling Pro, Keynote Speaker at Boom! Social
Presenting: How to Make Money With Live Video

Donna Moritz @sociallysorted
Digital Content Strategist, International Speaker, Visual Content Strategist at Socially Sorted
Presenting: Tips and Tools for Visual Storytelling on Instagram

Brian Fanzo @isocialfanz
Founder and CEO at iSocialFanz
Presenting: Facebook Strategy in Light of the Facebook Apocalypse

Koka Sexton @kokasexton
Advisor, SenderGen
Presenting: How to Turn LinkedIn Into a Funnel for New Leads

Madalyn Sklar @madalynsklar
Social Media and Digital Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Podcaster
Presenting: How to Up Your Twitter Game With Smart Tools

Dan Gingiss @dgingiss
Vice President, Strategic Group at Persado
Presenting: Why Social Media is Key to the Customer Experience

Ian Anderson Gray @iagdotme
Co-founder at Select Performers Internet Solutions
Presenting: How to Create Your Killer Live Video Show: Tools and Tips

Jeff Sieh @jeffsieh
Pinterest Manager at Social Media Examiner
Presenting: Visual Marketing for Non-Designers: Tips, Tricks, and Hacks

Viveka Von Rosen @linkedinexpert
LinkedIn and Personal Branding Expert, Co-founder and Chief Visibility Officer at Vengreso
Presenting: How to Best Use LinkedIn Native Video in Your Marketing

Neal Schaffer @NealSchaffer
CEO at Maximize Your Social
Presenting: How Brands are Breaking Through to Generate Results on LinkedIn

Josh Elledge @joshelledge
Founder at upendPR
Presenting: How to Get Traditional Media Exposure Using Social Media

Robert Rose @robert_rose
Founder at The Content Advisory & Chief Strategy Advisor at Content Marketing Institute
Presenting: Becoming an Audience First Company: How to Understand and Measure the Most Valuable Asset in Your Business

Gini Dietrich @ginidietrich
Chief Executive Officer at Arment Dietrich
Presenting: Crisis Communications: Tips From the Trenches

Carlos Gil @CarlosGil83
Founder, Gil Media Co.
Presenting: Snapchat Ads: How-to Use Snapchat’s Full Service Ad Platform

Darren Rowse @problogger
Founder and Keynote Speaker at ProBlogger
Presenting: 10 Things I Wish I’d Known about Blogging That Will Shortcut the Growth of Your Blog

Mark Schaefer @markwschaefer
Executive Director at Schaefer Marketing Solutions
Presenting: 10 Mind-Bending New Ideas for Our Social Media Marketing Future

Tamara McCleary @tamaramccleary
CEO at Thulium.co
Presenting: Innovating Your Way to Strong Social Media ROI

Mark Mason @masonworld
Quality Manager, Interface Products at Texas Instruments
Presenting: How to Make Your Podcast Stand Out: Tips from the Trenches

Rebekah Radice @rebekahradice
Founder at RadiantLA
Presenting: How to Make Visual Content Your Social Media Secret Weapon

Brooke B. Sellas @madsmscientist
Founder & Chief Executive Officer at B Squared Media
Presenting: Organizing for Social Success: Insource? Outsource? No Source?

Tyler Anderson @tylerjanderson
CEO / Founder at Casual Fridays
Presenting: Winning With Influencer Marketing: What Top Brands are Doing Now

Samantha Kelly @tweetinggoddess
Owner of Women’s Inspire Network
Presenting: How to Convert Twitter Conversations Into Customers

Ian Cleary @iancleary
Founder at RazorSocial
Presenting: 9 Content Marketing Tools to Drive More Traffic to Your Website

Mari Smith @marismith
Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist, Bestselling Author
Presenting: The Future of Facebook: What Marketers Need to Know for 2018 and Beyond

Mike Stelzner @mike_stelzner
CEO and Founder at Social Media Examiner
Presenting: Social Media Marketing in 2018: What the Newest Research Reveals

social media marketing speaker network connections

Andy Crestodina @crestodina
Strategic Director at Orbit Media Studios
Presenting: Building Better Mousetraps: A Content-Driven Approach to Conversion Optimization

Bernie Borges @bernieborges
Advisory Board Member at OneMob and Co-founder and CMO at Vengreso.
Presenting: The Secrets to Getting Employees to Engage on Behalf of Your Brand

Alex Khan @1alexkhan
CEO at Attractive Media GmbH
Presenting: Mass Seduction: Proven Techniques to Engage and Build Your Audience

Peg Fitzpatrick @PegFitzpatrick
Director of Social Media + Marketing at Kreussler
Presenting: How to Use Pinterest to Drive Long Term Traffic

Chris Penn @cspenn
Vice President of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications
Presenting: Seeing Into the Future: Predictive Analytics for Social Marketers

Michael O’Neal @inmikeswords
Host of The Solopreneur Hour Podcast
Presenting: Becoming an Interview Master and How it Can Massively Grow Your Podcast or Livestream

Brian Solis @briansolis
Principal Analyst at Altimeter Group
Presenting: The Past, Present and Future of Social Media

Park Howell @parkhowell
Founder and President at Business of Story
Presenting: How to Invest in Brand Storytelling to Earn the Greatest Return

Nicky Kriel @nickykriel
Social Media Consultant & Social Media Strategist at Nicky Kriel Social Media
Presenting: How to Use Twitter Data to Improve Your Content Marketing

Melanie Deziel @mdeziel
Brand Strategy Consultant and Speaker at Mdeziel Media
Presenting: 5 Branded Content Best Practices From the World of Journalism

Andrea Vahl @andreavahl
Social Media Consultant at Andrea Vahl
Presenting: Facebook Ads Strategy for Small Businesses

Jay Baer @jaybaer
Founder at Convince & Convert
Presenting: How to Prove Social Media Works to Skeptical Managers

Steve Dotto @dottotech
President at Galileo Consulting and Producer of Dotto Tech
Presenting: YouMake YouFortune on YouTube: Making Money on YouTube

Ann Handley @marketingprofs
Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs
Presenting: Creating Better Content in Less Time: 5 Real-World Writer Secrets

Lee Odden @leeodden
CEO at TopRank Marketing
Presenting: How Content Plus Influence Equals Results: The Confluence Equation

Guy Kawasaki @GuyKawasaki
Chief Evangelist at Canva
Presenting: Achieving Social Media Success by Defying Conventional Wisdom

Shaun McBride @Shonduras
Owner Esports/Shonduras Inc
Presenting: How to Influence Influencers: The Creative Process

John Jantsch @ducttape
President at Duct Tape Marketing
Presenting: How to Grow a Highly Profitable Consulting Practice Without Adding Overhead

Jessika Phillips @jessikaphillips
Relationship Marketing Evangelist, President at NOW Marketing Group
Presenting: Relationship ROI: How to Grow Your Business by Focusing on Repeat and Referral Relationships

John Lee Dumas @johnleedumas
Host of the EOFire Podcast
Presenting: How to Grow Your Podcast Audience and Fuel Your Business

Roberto Blake @robertoblake
Owner at Create Awesome Media
Presenting: Mastering and Measuring YouTube Analytics for Video Marketing

Shep Hyken @Hyken
Chief Amazement Officer and Owner, Customer Service Speaker and Expert at Shepard Presentations
Presenting: How to Turn Social Customer Service Into a Marketing Strategy

Jasmine Star @jasminestar
Owner at Jasmine Star Photography
Presenting: How to Create 30 Days of Instagram Content in a Single Day

Bryan Kramer @bryankramer
Keynote Speaker, Emcee and Event Host at PureMatter
Presenting: How to Humanize Your Social Brand for Better Conversions

Brian Peters @brian_g_peters
Digital Marketing Manager at Buffer
Presenting: How to Build and Maintain an Authentic Community on Instagram

If you want to follow all 50 of these fine folks, then check out the speaker list on the SMMW18 conference schedule page.

What about non-digital influence? 

I think this is a great question because not everyone that is influential (especially in the B2B world) spends as much time tweeting, blogging and posting Instagram photos as many of the influencers listed above do. And yet they are highly influential.

For example, here are several more speakers that are pretty influential to me, even though they are not on the list above: Amisha Gandhi (client), Beverly Jackson, Brian Clark, Chris Brogan, Konnie Alex (client), LaSandra Brill, Shannon Paul, Tim Washer, and Ursula Ringham to name a few.

Suffice it to say, I think when you are deciding on which influencers to work with, it’s important to get out of the digital bubble and consider offline-specific influencers as well – especially in B2B.

Big Questions About Influencer Lists & Influencer Marketing:

  • How do you find the right influencers?
  • What do you collaborate with them on?
  • How do you measure influencer marketing performance?
  • Are there processes and formulas for success?

These are some of the most common topics that come up through my agency’s influencer content marketing consulting with brands like Dell, SAP, LinkedIn, 3M and even mid-market companies like DivvyHQ or Cherwell Software.  I’ll be tackling these questions and more in my presentation at Social Media Marketing World 2018. Here are the details:

How Content Plus Influence Equals Results: The Confluence Equation
Thursday, March 1st at 4:10pm Room: 32AB
Content marketing and influencer marketing are hot topics for marketers all over the world as two of the most promising strategies for attracting, engaging and converting ideal customers. But how do you find the right influencers? What kind of content should you collaborate on? How do you best measure influencer and content success? Join Lee Odden to learn from his experience working with brands big and small to develop efficient and effective formulas for influencer content success.

I hope to see you there!


I know some folks are feeling left out and others would have added other social media marketing speakers to this list. Lists are exclusive by nature, but I think it would be amazing for the experts on this list as well as our readers would nominate up and coming industry social media marketing pros that are consistently providing useful expertise, leadership and engaging with their communities.

Please leave full name, title, company and Twitter handle (or other social profile) of your nominee in the comments. I will follow this list up with a People’s Choice style list of Rising Social Media Stars after the conference.