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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Influencer Marketing 101: Trending within Your Influencer Network

Dear reader,

In today's installment, the Metatag Hag and I will be sharing a little insight on the right way to use hashtags and trends in order to attract more influencers to your net... I mean, network.

Metatag Hag: Just like in biology, our own nets are populated by spiders and flies. If you have juicy flies for sale, the web community will only be happy to hear all about them. You need to develop a little agility in surfing the #juicy #fly #trend wave.

Insight 1. Use hashtags in standalone trends but not in dialogue

When you are talking to an influencer - any kind of influencer, which means everybody - keep the text clean of hashtags unless a particular trend is the subject of your discussion. If he/she is a popular person, you are using their popularity as it is, whether voluntarily or not. Everyone who reads their feed will stumble across your name, so keep in mind everything the Hag and I had told you about presentation, and do not overload your personal message with hashtags. You are talking to a person in the first place... not using them to get more outreach for your own cause. This, however, is a matter of taste, so even if you slip a totally justified # into your conversation, no one will blame you, but in my humble opinion, it is not classy.

Insight 2. Use suggestions to add trendiness to your message

If your social media accounts are connected, which is highly recommended, then you will be hashtagging across your platform, which is good. When you share a thought or a bit of news, do this: type a # before any word you want to make a keyword of, then look at the drop-down menu of suggestions and choose the #trend which is most appropriate for your message.

Metatag Hag: Do not forget to check out the trend if you do not know what it's about. For instance, when you come across a trend like, say, #ThrowbackThursday, there is no point to adding it to your Tweet about the new app or gadget you are reviewing. Or to the selfie you've just taken, for that matter. It is a popular trend started by a NYC museum - every Thursday, they would exhibit an oldie-but-goodie, and the nets picked it up. So if you have a meme with something your top influencer did 20 years ago, just share it:

Note: Kelsey Grammer is not my own top influencer, technically - I am just a fan, but then, there is a major possibility that my own target influencers are his fans, too. Or his colleagues. Or friends. Oops, look out, the Hag is preparing to sing, too!

Metatag Hag: *singing* It's a small world, after all...

Insight 3. Research, research, research!

If you are a regular social media dweller, then you are bound to know what's hot and what's not. Still, if you decided you're all grown up now, stop trawling Buzzfeed and Huffington for cats and epic fails concerning bras and tattoos. Start following "grownup" resources like The Guardian, for instance, and look out for trends that have something to do with you or your influencers. If you want to comment on some trend, first do a little research on things that have already been said about or regarding this particular trend.

Normally, you can learn about a trend by clicking the respective hashtag in someone's Tweet or post. Yet if you still cannot figure it out by reading the first couple of messages, just Google it. Chances are, you will not only find a useful trend to join, but will also learn something new. Like, when I found out what 5SosDERPCon was, I a) was convinced again that I was doing the right thing - researching hashtags and recommending my readers to do the same, and b) found another reason to be happy about having reached adulthood.

Insight 4. Use the trends list

It is probably no news to you that it is not only you who is analyzing social media. They do this, too. For instance, Twitter knows who you are and what you like based on what you Tweet, so it is offering you a list of trends to follow and join. Part of them is totally off the mark, but some are very useful to learn new things and to announce your message in a feed read by so many people only because it is hot. And for other reasons - for instance, when I share my business-related ideas, I use the #leadership hashtag a lot, and it normally causes reactions, because it is followed by - yes, you are right - leaders.

Metatag Hag: Yeah. Every morning, when it is not the Queen of Nerds' but my turn to Tweet, I read the list of trends and think about some snark to say about the buzz of the day. After the Pitch Wars bummer, though, my sarcasm-filled comments leave Anastasia's brain only after some censoring. You want to be polite, but you don't have to be sheepish. Too bland = total "blah".

Insight 5. When appropriate, saturate your message with hashtags

Sometimes, messages are so full of words that may be currently trended, it is a shame to miss an opportunity to hashtag the daylights out of it. Here is an example of my own Tweets of this kind:

is the of vital , along lines of , in a affording them . -

a on instead of & editing 5 of .

Every hashtag increases your chances to be noticed by more top influencers.

Insight 6. If you come across a clever quote and want to share it, tie it to the hashtags that might be useful to you

See example of Aristotle quote above.

Metatag Hag: It does not mean the quotes must be necessarily highbrow. You don't have to be a Queen of Nerds to rule. Just quote your favorite TV show, if you like... I don't know, quote True Blood, if you a) are a fan b) design book covers. Just don't do it for the sake of showing your affection for VampireTV. Do it to be noticed by Richelle Mead.

Insight 7. Use random hashtags for wider net-casting

For example, when the Guardians of the Galaxy premiered, I made a joke about organic green body paint becoming popular. I hashtagged the word #organic. And what happens next? in a couple of minutes a bunch of "greenies" were Retweeting it left, right, and center. I got some organic follower growth with that little bit of humor, too.

Insight 8. See what your top influencers are trending

Read your top influencers' feeds and see what words they are hashtagging. Use the same hashtags to get into the same feed. It may seem a trifle, but for third-party influencers, seeing your name on the same page with a top influencer's name is creating an association between the two names, sometimes subconscious.

For instance, once, as I was in my Queen of Nerds form, I Tweeted a joke about Babylon-5. I said it would be nice to return to the Green sector and share some ailecococ with Ambassador Delenn. NB: Delenn is a main character of B-5 and belongs to the fictional Minbari race. And in Minbari, ailecococ means both a small fish and the pleasure of meeting someone for the first time. That joke caused quite a reaction in the #Nerdpride community, I tell you.

It was retweeted directly into the outreach zone of J. Michael Straczynski, who does belong in my own network of top influencers... Should I come to a point when I need to contact him, this joke will serve as a great ice breaker, because ailecococ was mentioned only once in a huge series, is not a buzzword, let alone a hashtagged trend, and creators love connoisseurs who know their work by heart. Which is another bit of advice, by the way. You may believe it redundant, but I think that the "know your influencer" adage bears innumerable repetitions, so here it goes. Know your influencer.

Insight 9. When appropriate, fill up your message with trends

If the message per se is short, and you have a character limit in the particular media you are using, do not hesitate to add a bunch of hashtags and trends to fill it up. For example, I have just Tweeted the manifesto of the philosophic movement, to which I attribute myself:

is , not !

The actual message was the first four words. The rest are trends. Note that they are all, to a greater or lesser degree, related to the message.

Metatag Hag: Meanwhile, I am having fun with the #RuinAMagazine feed, Google stock images, and Paint:

Bottom line: under the right hashtag, do not deny yourself fun. Demonstrating your sense of humor around influencers is rather a good than a bad thing. But if you also have a haggish alter ego with a liking for black humor, be careful with jokes about serious stuff like religion or cancer. Even if you are in fact deriding, say, stupidity but not these topics per se, do not forget that many people like to jump to conclusions.

Insight 10. Be careful with acronyms and abbreviations!

When you are targeting a particular top influencer, make sure not to confuse him with someone else. For instance, the very J. Michael Straczynski is known in the fandom as JMS, but if you try to hashtag this acronym, you will actually land in the feed of #JMS aka Justin Michaels Sports, which is about American football. Not very good company for sci-fi talk, right?

Metatag Hag: For your benefit, and for the sake of experimentation, I just wrote this:

 is  for both  and          

The hashtagging in this message covers many unrelated fields. In an update, I will share news about its impact. For now, it got favorited by an Australian starter-upper. Well, it's 2 AM here in Montreal, which is the cue for Insight 11. Upd: one more golden star from Nutrition Express - who must be following the Omega-3 trend... and followed by two people from my network.

Insight 11. Watch the watch

If you are Tweeting or posting just for fun at 2 AM, that's fine. But when you are active within your social media platform, make sure to share your ideas when your actual and potential influencers are awake and active, too. There is no use or need to post wise words that just came into your head in the dead of the night when all the influencers in your area are asleep. If you have influencers in other corners of the globe... well, kudos for that. Keep Tweeting at any hour. Yet if they are concentrated in a certain area, keep an eye on that time zone's local time. Just make notes and Tweet or post your precious ideas at a more appropriate hour.

Insight 12. Create your own trends

For instance, I created #MakeAnInfluencerSmile. It's when you joke to or about your idols. Sadly, the "about" part is a bit harder because celebrities with joke-worthy lives usually have celebrity psyches, and that's a special field of discussion and study. And Level 2 influencers, the decision-makers, usually have healthy sense of humor but little time to enjoy it. Also, influencer marketing, influencer relations management, and especially influencer psychology are relatively new fields... so this is an example of the fact that not all hashtags become trends. Yet they are also a tool for expressing sentiment, so

Insight 13. Express sentiments with your hashtags

A mere #sarcasmalert or #joke hashtag can cast a totally different light on things you actually mean to say. Sentiment-expressing hashtags are not only the new black in the world of netiquette, but also a way to network. Say, if your potential influencer checks out the #bigbangtheory trend regularly, and you post a Sheldon-worthy joke under it, there is a chance s/he will like it and you will end up following each other, and sharing stuff, and then... who knows? Maybe s/he is the missing handshake between you and the producer to whom you would like to show your script some day.

Insight 14. Avoid the #influencetheinfluencer trend like the plague!

It is merely my advice, of course - if you feel you have something that requires this hashtag, it's a free planet. But I personally dislike this condescending and manipulative phrase. If someone tried to influence me this way, they would get the opposite effect. I would be influenced, but in a negative way... and I'd write them off completely.

Metatag Hag: And I'd dish out some snark about the subj, too.

Insight 15. Ask questions with your hashtags

Many top influencers are also knowledge sharers, and regularly feature on Twitter under the #ask hashtags. For instance, mentors in PitchWars, the initiative I described in previous chapters, answer questions of their mentees and other participants in the #askmentor feed. Literary agents follow the #askagent trend. Just research the #ask trends in your respective industry - and benefit both from precious insight and from the possibility to attract the attention of a potential node in your influencer network.

Insight 16. Beware hashtag fails!

Many of the situations described above can create or become the cause of a fail. In the situation where everyone is an influencer, you cannot count on things blowing over fast... of course, in such situation you can only count on being forgotten rather than considered not smart, but if your influencers are people with good memories, you'll need more reputational damage control than you can imagine... or afford.

Read about high-profile hashtag fails here. You don't want to be featured in this kind of list, do you?

Here's a classic that made the Hag chuckle for an entire minute, which is pretty much a record:

Courtesy of

Well, I hope you enjoyed the insight. Next, we will be discussing your homework you have to do to analyze your influencers, some simple ratios you can apply, and the many conclusions you can draw from just a little research.

Thank you!

Sincerely yours,
Anastasia Stratu and Metatag Hag