I am getting excited for the publication of my 4th book, The Age Of Influence, so I felt it was time to make a formal introduction as to why I wrote the book and and how it will help you become a better marketer in today’s age of influence. For those of you that are interested in reading the book, you can download a free preview of the book here.
Why Write a Book on Influencer Marketing?
I see writing a book as part of my content marketing efforts to promote myself in the market by sharing my expertise.
My first book, Windmill Networking: Maximizing LinkedIn, was really an attempt to write a book purely for networking purposes as I had yet to launch my business. Publishing that book actually facilitated the launching of my social media strategy consultancy, now called PDCA Social, and that is when I shifted to sharing my professional experience in my 2nd book, Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing, where I was writing about social selling and employee advocacy, concepts which would not become popular for a few years afterwards.
My third book, Maximize Your Social, was both an attempt to share my professional experience in social media strategy consulting as well as responding to the most frequently asked questions I received at the time:
- How do you create a social media strategy, and
- How do you measure social media ROI
As the market matured after that, I was frequently being asked about tools and marketing technology that could help companies scale and generate larger ROI. That is when I launched the now defunct Social Tools Summit.
I then began noticing a lot of interest around influencers and influencer marketing, which now became the most frequently asked question I received. Marketers were not only asking me about influencer marketing but also about how they themselves could become more influential in their industry. Combining this was the fact that I was already speaking about employee advocacy, which I consider treating-employee-as-influencer influencer marketing, but I also saw more and more brands reaching out to me as an influencer. In fact one brand said they sponsored my Social Tools Summit because they saw it as influencer marketing, with me being the influencer.
It was back in 2017 when Lee Constantine from the author crowdfunding platform Publishizer reached out to me to test market my idea for my next book, which I knew should be about influencer marketing. A casual conversation when teaching at Rutgers Business School with fellow marketing author (and virtual cousin!) Mark Schaefer helped validate the idea further. My Business of Influence campaign on Publishizer was a success, and that evolved into a publishing deal with HarperCollins Leadership and finally publication of the book on March 17, 2020. For those aspiring authors out there – or if you are simply curious about Publishizer – please see my detailed interview with Lee about this history and their platform below:
The successful test marketing of the book proved to me that there was an audience that wanted to learn more, and the more research I did on the topic, the more I realized that there was a lot to teach a marketing industry who I believe have been miseducated about influencers and influencer marketing.
It was time to take my unique perspective and experience and try to move brands and marketers forward in The Age of Influence.
A Peek Inside The Age of Influence
As with my other books, I wanted to create a playbook for businesses, marketers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs to best leverage this latest marketing trend. However, in order to leverage the trend, you need to first understand what it is, its history, and be equipped with the right mindset to be most successful.
Below is a rough overview of the Table of Contents to give you some idea as to what to expect when you read the book:
PART ONE: Why Influencer Marketing?
- The Origins of Influence in the Modern World
- The Emergence of Digital and Social
- Social Media Was Made for People
- How Visual Social Presents New Challenges to Businesses and New Opportunities to Influencers
- Your Community Is Always a Subset
PART TWO: Understanding Influencers and the Ways You Can Engage with Them
- Understanding the Influencer Landscape
- The Employee as Influencer
- The Sixteen Different Ways to Collaborate with Influencers
PART THREE: How to Work with Influencers to Generate Massive Results
- To Buy or to Build
- Developing the Foundations of an Influencer Marketing Strategy
- The Art and Science of Influencer Identification
- Creating and Managing Influencer Relationships
- The Tools of the Influencer Marketing Trade
- Measuring Your Influencer Marketing ROI
PART FOUR: Becoming An Influencer Yourself
- Why and How Every Business Should Become More Influential
- How to Become a Social Media Influencer Yourself
- Final Thoughts
How to Market in The Age of Influence
Once you read The Age of Influence, I believe you will see that the following will provide the best results for your marketing regardless of industry moving forward, so without giving away too much of the advice that is included in the book, here is a snapshot of some big takeaways:
There is No Company However Small and Regardless of Industry That Shouldn’t be Leveraging Influencers
This podcast I recorded from my Maximize Your Social Influence show (you are a subscriber, right?) better illustrates this topic and my reasoning:
Figure Out the Objectives for Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Just like I wrote in Maximize Your Social, marketing begins with objectives and managing their associated KPIs in PDCA style. An influencer marketing strategy is no different. Figure out how influencers can help complement your overall marketing strategy and then devise a program and campaign mechanics that will best deliver on your strategy.
Create a Stand-Alone Influencer Marketing Budget
Some companies like Estee Lauder have announced that they are investing 75% of their marketing budget in influencer marketing. As working with influencers has been proven to have high ROI and is fundamentally different than other types of digital marketing, it makes sense that more and more companies are creating dedicated budgets for influencer marketing, comparing KPIs to other forms of digital and social media marketing. Even if it is a small percentage, it will commit your team to investing and measuring and beginning the process of deriving influencer marketing ROI for your own company.
Not convinced on influencer marketing ROI? Check out this statistic from Mediakix:
Create a Long-Term Influencer Program
As I often say, influencer marketing is about building community, not a campaign. When you take a campaign-based approach to working with influencers, it is simply a one-night stand with only temporary benefits. When you invest in a long-term relationship, you begin to see greater ROI as the influencer gets to know your brand as well as your products and culture better, and long-term collaboration also gives you the opportunity to convert influencers into brand advocates where they begin to talk about your brand without asking them to. This can only happen with a long-term approach to working with them.
Influence is Everywhere in Digital and Social Media
Choosing the wrong influencers is one of the biggest mistakes brands make in influencer marketing. Don’t let that happen to you. Once you understand that influence is everywhere in digital and social media, you will do better at influencer identification. This podcast episode of mine illustrates that point:
Train and Educate Influencers – including Employees Who Join Your Program
As we move from working with celebrities and macro influencers and engage more with micro and nano-influencers, we find that the sheer number of potential influencers that we can collaborate with increases. This also means that some of your employees might already be considered an influencer by some brands. Whether or not that is the case, brands can invest in their influencers – and employees – by creating a formal program which includes training and education. If you want your influencers to take better photos or shoot improved videos, why wouldn’t you bring in an expert to help teach them? An investment in your influencers – and employees – becomes a smart investment into the future of your own brand.
Build and Yield Your Brand’s Own Influence in Social Media
The more influence your brand is perceived of having, the easier it will be to work with influencers, who will have a greater chance of actually recognizing your brand name and seeing value in working together with a company thought of as a leader. With that in mind, every business should look to not only build digital influence, but also yield that influence by collaborating with all of the key influencers in your industry and recognizing new ones – before your competitors do.
What Others Have Said about The Age of Influence
I am honored that so many in the marketing community that I reached out to had an interest in not only previewing the book but also adding their own voice as to the meaning and significance that this book will have for marketers everywhere. Here are some of the many who generously endorsed The Age of Influence in alphabetical order by last name:
“There are many voices seeking to help you navigate the world of influencers for business, but Neal Schaffer stands alone as someone with more hands on experience and more close connections with actual practitioners and their benefactors. If I were to point you towards a resource for learning about this, this is where I would send you.”
Chris Brogan, founder of the StoryLeader™ system
“On time and on-target, The Age of Influence is the ultimate guide to the most important customer acquisition technique of the 2020s. If you don’t read it, your competition will.“
Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert and co-author of Talk Triggers
“While others watch as the effectiveness of both paid and organic channels drop, Neal shows you how to thread the needle. There is a world of opportunity in that little space between advertising and social media. It’s about investing in people. There’s a playbook for it. You’re holding it in your hands.”
Andy Crestodina, co-founder and CMO of Orbit Media and author of Content Chemistry
“Neal has written the manifesto for influencer marketing. If you’re trying to figure out how your business can IGNITE from the explosion of digital influencers, look no further.”
John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneurs on Fire
“Business has always been about relationships, and in today’s digital world relationships with influencers can have a profound impact on your business. Learn how to navigate this new world of digital influence by following all of the advice in The Age of Influence.”
Jon Ferrara, CEO of Nimble
“Neal Schaffer has done it again. ‘The Age of Influence is essential reading for all marketers and business owners. Neal deftly explains both why influencer marketing is critical and how you go about harnessing it’s undoubted and still underestimated power. The book is well written and is packed full of examples, international insights and practical advice. Influencer marketing is all about using the power of people to get your market talking about your brand – something everybody in business wants to happen and Neal lays out exactly how you can do this.”
Ken Fitzpatrick, CEO, Digital Marketing Institute
“Influencer marketing is often mistaken as paying truckloads of money to a celebrity who pretends to like your product. But in reality, there are influencers all around you — your customers. By demonstrating that you value them through genuine engagement and remarkable experiences, you’ll find that they will speak positively about your brand with unmatched authenticity. Neal Schaffer gives you all the tools to make this happen in his “influential” new book, The Age of Influence. And will cost you far less than a celebrity!”
Dan Gingiss, customer experience speaker and author of Winning at Social Customer Care
“Neal has been an inspirational speaker at the Irish Management Institute for several years. Feedback from the Digital Business Masters programme participants has constantly said that Neal’s sessions were the highlight of their Executive Education journey. It is fantastic to see him opening up his incredible content to any business that wants to leverage his perspective and experience in growing their business through engaging with influencers. This book is a must-read for any business trying to negotiate the complex world of marketing influencers”
Jeremy Hayes – Programme Director of the MSc in Digital Business at the Irish Management Institute
“If you are in marketing, you need to read Age of Influence. If the word influencer makes you roll your eyes, then you definitely need to read this book. The future of your brand depends on it!”
Shama Hyder, CEO of Zen Media & Best-Selling Author
“Whether you want to become an influencer or influence an influencer Neal’s book is such a smart, important read”
John Jantsch, author of The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur and Duct Tape Marketing
“Social media has turned the world of influence on its head. Who an influencer is, what they look like and where they come from is anyone’s guess. No one understands this better than Neal Schaffer. His book throws open the doors to the world of influence and explains how it works. Whether you’re a business wanting to tap into this technique or an individual ready to become one yourself, this is the book you need to read to succeed.”
Carla Johnson, international speaker, best-selling author and CMO
“The Age of Influence is a must have for any marketing leader looking to navigate successfully in today’s new digital world. Two huge Likeable thumbs up!”
Dave Kerpen, NY Times Bestselling Author of The Art of People & Chairman, Likeable Media
“Neal Schaffer has written a must-read primer for anyone considering influencer marketing…Read this book – and learn from one of the best.”
Larry Kim, CEO of Mobile Monkey
“’The Age of Influence’ is a great book exploring the world’s most desired marketing discipline. Few get it more than Neal Schaffer who unlocks the key to creation of truly powerful influencer campaigns. ’The Age of Influence’ is a highly informative book – and powerful addition to your marketing library.”
Martin Lindstrom, New York Times best-selling author of Buyology and Small Data
“How to succeed in the ocean of social media among vast array of messages and organizations? How to reach your target audience via social media? Using enormous amounts of money could be an option. This book explores the other option, how to create a community and empower influencers. Neal Schaffer shows convincingly how the era of social media opens new avenues to build and leverage influencer community and get your messages to the desired audience.”
Ari Manninen, Director of Executive Education, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
“I have had the privilege of Neal presenting to my Executive Education classes over the years and his content has always engaged and inspired the students. Neal’s new book is a further example of the knowledge and experience that he has. The book offers new insights that are invaluable to those striving to get the most from social media for their organisations”
John McAvoy – Course Director, Digital Business, Irish Management Institute
“It’s refreshing to see an influencer marketing book using best practice recommendations for measuring the performance of influencers. Too many books go with vanity metrics, rather than focusing on measuring influencers with real business outcomes like revenue. Neal offers practical advice using tools you already have, like Google Analytics, to find out what influencers are really doing for you.”
Chris Penn, Co-Founder & Chief Data Scientist, TrustInsights.ai
“Every business creates vast amounts of content. Each one needs to spend significant resources to market and distribute their content. Perhaps the best way to do this is through an influencer strategy…and this book is the new influencer handbook.”
Joe Pulizzi, Author, Killing Marketing, Content Inc. and Epic Content Marketing, Founder, Content Marketing Institute
“The data-based book on influence marketing the world has been waiting for.”
Mark Schaefer, marketing thought leader and best-selling author of Return on Influence, Known, and Marketing Rebellion
“Neal breaks down the “why” and “how” of influencer marketing with actionable advice that will transform your marketing and business.”
Marcus Sheridan, President, Marcus Sheridan International
“Influence = the ability to change behaviors or case desired effect. Neal demonstrates how influence in a digital economy changes sales and marketing forever.”
Brian Solis, digital anthropologist, futurist, author of X: The Experience When Business Meets Design
“The principles and tactics in Neal’s book work in the real world. How do I know? Because in 2013 I became an influencer for my company using the same methods Neal teaches in Age of Influence. To date, I can track over $10M in revenue those methods have generated for my business.”
Josh Steimle, Founder, MWI and author of 60 Days to LinkedIn Mastery
“Trust is essential for the modern marketer. Working with trusted influencers is the lever that can break open opportunity. Neal Schaffer shows you precisely how to unleash influence so you can rapidly accomplish your marketing goals,”
Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner and Social Media Marketing World
Hope you’ll be one of the first to read my new book. Should you have any questions whatsoever, feel free to reach out to me or comment below.