InsightPool vs Traackr: Who Does Influencer Marketing Better?

Highwire Labs reviews the best in social influencer tools

 

In recent months, Highwire has seen increasing interest in influencer marketing and engagement from clients. While we currently use a platform called BuzzSumo to track influencers, we thought it could be time to kick the tires on other similar platforms.

The Highwire Labs team diligently looked into two of the leading influencer marketing solutions: Traackr and InsightPool. Here’s what we found:

Traackr

Traackr was founded in 2009 to serve as search engine for people in PR/marketing to discover influencers for a particular audience. Whether looking for influencers in “Big Data”, “Internet of Things”, “Future of Work” or “Artificial Intelligence”, theoretically, Traackr should be able to identify them in its platform.

Traackr has a stylish UX and looks a little like Tweetdeck on steroids. Agencies can use it for their system of record to track influencer engagement, determine share of voice and easily identify the number of interactions. The service features reach and relevance scores for influencers, and is platform agnostic so one social media platform isn’t prioritized over others.

The major con with Traackr is its price point. This is an extremely pricy piece of software that costs thousands of dollars annually for a subscription — all without so much as a trial period. Additionally, the baseline option allows for only three campaigns. Hard pass from these PR professionals.

Pros

  • Ability to track engagement and interactions
  • Share of voice metrics
  • Manual influencer profile upload
  • Manipulated search results in order to find the best fit, whether it’s by largest audience or an influencer’s reach

Cons

  • Price point and lack of trial option
  • Not user-friendly or intuitive – requires training
  • Sweet spot is B2B tech although Traackr works with consumer companies

physical web of influencersPhoto credit: Getty Images

 

InsightPool

Claiming to be the world’s largest social influencer database, InsightPool certainly didn’t disappoint in our initial demo. The company analyzes everything from social audiences and email database exports to uncover influencers and brand advocates that are most appropriate for client campaigns. What’s more, the platform allows users to sign up for a free trial before fully committing (Full disclosure: we’ve already signed up for two demos, both of which were able to meet specific goals outlined by our client).

Its user interface is easy to navigate, with cool features including scheduled social interactions, contact uploads and engagement monitoring. Once an influencer engages with you over social, you’ll also receive a notification in which you can schedule strategic responses via Twitter or Instagram. For example, after you receive a follow from a top target, you have the ability to slide into those DMs to personally thank them for being a fan of your content.

InsightPool also provides a unique social ranking system that ensures each and every influencer is right for your campaign. To do so, the platform scores each influencer in its platform using data sciences to determine true influence, including: Reach, Resonance and Relevance.

If we had to give it one critique, it would be its inability to easily compare share of voice among targeted influencers. While its segmentation feature provides analysis on what influencers are talking about, which brands are impacted and how their social network impacts your campaign, it could be presented a lot more clearly.

Pros

  • Influencer segmentation
  • Scheduled social engagements
  • Full-service trial period
  • Simple user interface

Cons

  • No SOV tracking
  • Complex presentation of analysis

Highwire Labs’ Take

If your clients are asking about influencer campaigns, get onboard with InsightPool — The free trial period should be enough to take care of any one-off campaigns. But consider making the investment if influencer marketing is increasingly being requested by clients.

Not only is the platform extremely user-friendly, the smart influence algorithms do a great job segmenting influencers, and its annual cost is significantly lower than that of its competitor. Believe the hype.

WINNER: InsightPool

 

Post co-authored by Haley Rodriguez, Account Associate, San Francisco

Haley Rodriguez is an account associate in Highwire’s San Francisco office primarily supporting consumer technology clients. She graduated from California State University, Chico with a degree in journalism and has experience in social media management, news production and copy editing.

Three Tips for Effective Industry Analyst Relations

While communications strategies have changed dramatically over the years, industry analysts remain an important part of a technology company’s marketing mix. Analysts provide a third-party view of a company’s innovation and approach to their respective market. Since they are close to technology buyers, they understand how vendor marketing messages will resonate with buyers. Highwire PR offers advice on the very latest technology analyst relations best practices, based on our work for clients and a conversation with Beth Hespe, Corporate Communications Manager at Ixia, a seasoned pro with her hands in both AR and PR.

Consider the Full Analyst World

When the topic of analyst relations comes up in conversations, the first names mentioned are always Gartner and Forrester. Both of these firms can be considered industry behemoths as they undoubtedly have the greatest mindshare across nearly every vertical. Businesses end-user organizations leverage these firms for their unmatched industry visibility and deep-rooted strategic market understanding. Gartner analysts alone take up to 250,000 client inquiries every year.

A contract buys you direct feedback on customer pain points and product needs and have an analyst as your advocate to recommend your product to potential buyers. As it relates to overall market understanding, Gartner’s annual Magic Quadrant Report and Forrester’s annual Wave Report are touted as industry gold standards. Finding your way into the correct quadrant of one of these reports can do wonders for your business.

At the same time, while Gartner and IDC both can provide a significant amount of value to organizations, they should only be part of a company’s analyst relations mix. Before solidifying marketing budgets, startups and established companies alike should consider additional firms, many with specific industry expertise, that can help guide their marketing efforts.

IDC is unique in providing market sizing data. 451 Group and Enterprise Strategy Group are known for investigating the intersection of different emerging technology areas. Within security, market-specific firms such as Securosis have their pulse on the specific needs of IT security buyers. Seemingly obvious but often forgotten, the benefits of smaller firms are more direct access to the analysts for inquiry calls, and — what we consider to be the biggest value add — media influencer and PR support. Analysts are often willing to provide a quote for a press release or speak to the media about the benefits of your new product release. It’s not uncommon to see them quoted in trade press.

Don’t Forget the Basics

Beth Hespe at Ixia notes a few important best practices for ongoing analyst relations programs:

  • Planning & Coordination – Build in the time to target and secure your analysts, brief them and work with them. And make sure they’re available – nothing is worse than having your analyst on vacation during your launch and unavailable for interviews.
  • Leverage Your Efficiencies – Leverage efficiencies by scheduling campaigns in conjunction with a high profile industry event when target media, analysts and potential customers are in one place and at one time.
  • Consider Providing Customer Access – Consider customers and whether they’re available. Getting your customers together with your analysts and then as press references can provide extra validation that your campaign needs.

Marry AR, PR and Marketing

Hespe also notes how an analyst relations program can impact PR and marketing, and she challenges herself to find ways to integrate the efforts, leveraging analysts for more than just their traditionally thought of services. She uses them for quotes, supporting documents like white papers and blogs, events such as webinars and roundtables, large-scale surveys, and social support such as Twitter Q&A’s or videos. While some of these can be a substantial investment, you can leverage one analyst or firm to bundle your packages and ultimately save money.

At most organizations, those managing analyst relations and public relations often find themselves working under the same larger marketing umbrella; however, there are instances when these two teams operate in silos, with little contact. As the media landscape evolves, journalists’ and analysts’ roles increasingly meld together and the need for PR and AR to work in tandem becomes imperative. Especially as analysts roles morph into what can be considered “journ-analysts”(a type of influencer) who share their own opinions over Twitter or contribute articles to media outlets on a regular basis.

A truly successful marketing and communications program will bring forth strategic elements from both traditional PR and AR initiatives. If you’re not sure where to start, your PR firm often has insight and past experience to guide you.

London Calling: PR and Media Across the Pond

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PR Across the Pond

The crinkle of the Monday paper, rumble of phone conversations and the aromas of tea and coffee brewing. These are the sensations that kicked off a week in London with Highwire’s sister agency Brands2Life.  

Agency Life

The similarities between Highwire and Brands2Life are many. We are both independent agencies with a focus on storytelling, teams, education and results. My Monday morning started with a office huddle where the agency founders fired up the team for the week ahead. I also had the opportunity to witness the month’s Impact Coverage meeting, where teams across the agency shared successful campaigns for a chance to win a prize. My favorites, an app built for a client launch and a successful newsjack, which resulted in broadcast coverage for old data. This reminded me of how Highwire recognizes its teams with team dinner celebrations and “High Fives”—in which individual and team efforts are praised.

As for the differences, most noticeable was the time zone advantage. In San Francisco, mornings are a juggling act with team’s catching up on email and news while simultaneously trying to connect with reporters. While this also holds true in London, the time zone made their mornings feel a bit more luxurious. I found the team’s morning news dissection huddles to be particularly amazing. Communication also differed. In the U.S., with teams across various time zones, we rely heavily on Skype, Slack, HipChat and BlueJeans to connect. In London, with the entire team in one office interactions happen at desks instead of over screens.  

PR Activities  

No matter the market, PR is the same at its core. Everyone is focused on telling a compelling story. We all place a big focus on relationships and spend our time connecting with reporters. We also all rely heavily on the creative power of bringing minds together. Brainstorms are when the best ideas are created, from unique takes on survey data to interactive elements like pop-up events that give target audiences an experience. One great example, is the high-speed selfie campaign that recently won the Brands2Life team PR Week’s award for technology campaign of the year—congrats!

During my time in London, I was lucky enough to help one of the consumer teams think of new ideas for a campaign targeting business travelers. We spent an hour thinking about our own traveling experiences and putting together ideas to help the client standout—airport concierge anyone?  

The biggest PR difference is the strategy behind campaigns. There seems to be a bigger integration between marketing, advertising and PR than in the States. I noticed teams developing advertising campaigns hand-in-hand with the PR narratives that would support them.

Press and Events

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Node-Red in action

By far, my favorite part about London was the people! I loved getting to meet our agency partners, witnessing media relations rockstars in action, and connecting with local clients and press. For instance, attending OSCON showed me how truly awesome and powerful Raspberry Pi is thanks to IBM’s Node Red. Plus the technical session on microservices was surprisingly easy to follow.

I also got the opportunity to meet with Kadhim Shubber of The Financial Times (FT) and Ingrid Lunden of TechCrunch. Both are incredible reporters and people. With Kadhim, I discussed the impact of Brexit on the London Fintech market. The biggest concern for him is VC investment given how much money comes from outside investors. I also got some pitching advice: all FT employees around the world adhere to a noon UK deadline for stories. Remember that next time you before you pick up the phone.

As for Ingrid, her range of coverage is broad. She’s interested in following the money. In regards to AI, she wants to dive into the new cases that are highlighting its power. From a pitching perspective, she’s OK with follow-up emails as her inbox is always overflowing and mentioned to check in with her as she probably missed your first email. 

Do you have a story to share about your international PR experience? We’d love to hear about it on our Facebook page.

5 Takeaways from the Go-To-Market Leaders Product Marketing Panel

Last Wednesday evening, we had the pleasure of co-hosting the Go-To-Market Leaders San Francisco Meetup and Product Marketing panel with Akoonu. We were joined by TIRO Communications president and founder Patrick Spencer, Slack head of product marketing Harsh Jawharkar, Anaplan vice president of global product marketing Folia Grace and Jasper Wireless director of product marketing Theresa Bui Revon. These panelists discussed the role of product marketing in shaping conversations with prospects and in supporting sales.

Here’s what we learned:

Be a mini CEO. One of the GTM Leaders Product Marketing Panelchallenges of the job of product marketer is that there are no boundaries. It can be anything. The product marketer is the mini CEO of the product. It’s your job to raise awareness of your product and make sure all teams (customer success, sales, quality assurance, product marketing and content marketing) are aligned in their understanding of the product, message and business goals.

Keep your message consistent, but tailor your language. Your message should remain consistent throughout the sales and marketing process, regardless of the vertical you are marketing to. However, it is important to keep in mind that while the message should stay the same, the language should be tailored to match your vertical. The challenge for product marketing is to make sure you use a vocabulary that the customer is used to hearing—while keeping a consistent message.

Ask for feedback from your sales team. Product marketing is not solely about product design, it’s about experience design. And there is no team better than your sales team to understand what customers are doing, how they are doing it, and what they need from you (the product) to do it better. Feedback from your sales team is absolutely crucial to understand how you can tailor your product—and the experience you can give to your customer. Ask your sales team if they see any gaps in what you deliver and what customers are asking for.  And make sure both the marketing and sales teams understand how to tweak your messaging and content, which can be the most challenging part.

Appreciate the partnership between social media and product marketing.
The partnership between social media and product marketing is invaluable. Social media teams have the opportunity to monitor and track conversations in real-time. Conversations on social channels shift at an incredibly rapid pace, and your social media team should be updating product marketing to make sure that their messaging is in line with what’s trending. If your customers are talking about security and you aren’t, that’s a problem. Additionally, social channels can also add value to your customers’ lives beyond the product itself—especially for customer support.

Customer success is key. It can be a challenge to drive revenue from an existing customer. But with customer success, it makes this task a whole lot easier. It’s imperative to deliver value to your customer on an ongoing basis. It’s about understanding what the difficulties are from step 1, to step 2, etc. Customer success should be at the heart of what are you doing. And if your product marketing team isn’t talking to your customer success team, you have a serious deficiency that needs to be addressed.

Simple Tips for Tweet Chat Triumph

SONY DSCSocial media has become a powerful component of PR and communication campaigns for brands big and small.

Twitter, in particular, offers a huge opportunity to gain visibility—companies can share their news, voice their professional opinions and even participate in or host specialized discussions, known as tweet chats or Twitter chats. By simply participating in these chats, brands can gain both social exposure and followers.

As a PR professional, I encourage you to take it one step further by hosting a tweet chat of your own. In doing so, brands can further strengthen their voice within their niche communities and directly engage with other thought leaders in their fields. These chats can be recurring (monthly, quarterly, etc.) or spontaneously tied to client news or events.

Ready to get started? I’ve outlined a few key steps to ensure a successful tweet chat.

Pre-chat prep to ensure a lively conversation

Most of the work that goes into hosting a tweet chat happens before the event actually occurs.

First and foremost, you should pick a chat topic for which your internal thought leader can serve as an expert. Anything too broad could result in too long of a chat session, so a specific angle or subtopic works well. For example, an email marketing company might want to host a chat on the basics of A/B split testing.  

Next, decide if your brand wants to partner with an outside expert or influencer in the field. This tactic will bring higher visibility to the chat and also add an extra layer of legitimacy to the session. Not sure who the right person is for your topic? You can use Twitter itself to find viable influencers and approach them about co-hosting a chat.

Once you have an expert co-host on board (or if you choose to proceed without one), you can get started on the basics. When scheduling the chat, aim for 30-60 minutes. Make sure your date is at least a month out so you have ample time to promote it. Additionally, create a unique hashtag for promotion and participation purposes. The hashtag is how your participants engage with you throughout the chat, so take the time to ensure you come up with something short and memorable.

When these tasks are out of the way, focus on the structure and content of the chat. In addition to the outside expert, determine who on the brand’s side will participate and what role they will have during the chat. One suggestion is to have two people on the brand’s side involved—one operating the brand’s handle, running the chat and posing the questions, and another (the one you are leveraging as the thought leader) on their personal handle, responding to the questions.

For content, draft the questions the moderator will be asking and responses the thought leader will be offering ahead of time (keeping in mind the 140-character rule, including the hashtag). Tweet chats can move quickly, and this trick will help participants stay up to speed. For a one-hour chat, draft around 8-10 questions. If time allows, it’s a best practice to create images that include each question. This makes the chat’s questions prominent in participants’ twitter feed, ensuring questions don’t get lost in the conversation.

Lastly, promote promote promote. Take to Twitter to communicate save-the-date messages. Create a simple image with the basic chat details and hashtag to catch followers’ eyes. Write a promotional blog and post it on your website. Send e-invites to friendly media folks so they can either participate or monitor the chat in real time. Identify individuals who are active in similarly themed chats and directly tweet at them inviting them to your chat.

Managing mid-chat

Once you’ve laid the groundwork, the chat can practically run itself. That said, one piece of advice is to have all participants dial into a conference number a few minutes before the chat is set to begin. This will allow for quick intros of the influencer to the brand participants, and the ability to address any last minute questions. Have everyone stay dialed in with their phones on mute for the duration of the chat; if the need for direct communication between you, the client or the partner expert comes up, you’ll have a means of instant access.

At the top of the chat, the moderator should thank attendees for coming; directly tweet them if you have time, but don’t wait too long to get the ball rolling. Have the moderator pose the first question and allow for the “experts” to weigh in with their pre-scripted responses. Give ample time for chat attendees to ask or respond to questions, and be sure that the moderator favorites and retweets some of the responses in real time. Allow for about 5-7 minutes between each question before asking the next.

Encourage your chat hosts to not just stick to the script but to also offer off-the-cuff responses to some of the questions—they should feed off of the conversation as it flows in order to not sound too groomed.

Post-chat repurposing

Lastly, the value of a tweet chat is not limited to only the 30 or 60 minutes in which it occurs. You can extend its shelf life by using the material to create further content, such as blog posts, infographics or SlideShares highlighting the top takeaways from the chat.

For instance, Highwire client Corvisa recently teamed up with customer service expert Shep Hyken to host a twitter chat, “Today’s Customers: What Do They Really Want?” Afterward, Corvisa repurposed the content of the chat for a recap blog.

If you are ready to engage with your brand’s audience and fellow thought leaders like Corvisa did, get the creative process started by checking out some upcoming chats to see what’s trending in your industry’s social spaces. Whether it’s a first and only or the first of many, tweet chats are a must-try for any brand.

Beyond Snowden: A New Era of Security Disruption at RSA 2014

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Say what you want about Edward Snowden, but the fact of the matter is that his recent leak of NSA secrets has brought cybersecurity to the forefront of national conversation. This year, conversations regarding privacy were constant at RSA, to no surprise. In 10 years, when we’re commuting to RSA 2024 via hoverboard, we’ll look back and remember RSA 2014 as the year cybersecurity and privacy discussions left the hacker forums and leaped to the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

Despite the controversial buzz surrounding Snowden, whose mystery is only exceeded by his power, the polarizing whistleblower and current Russian resident still played second fiddle to the central themes at RSA 2014: continuous disruption and the recent flock of investors targeting cybersecurity start-ups.

From the industry’s first bot killer to an evolved look at geopolitical nation-state cyber attacks, the innovation and research to emerge from the industry this year signaled a changing of the guard that was hard to ignore at RSA 2014. Several members of the Highwire PR security practice were on site this year to rep our growing security practice and learn more. See their highlights below:

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Nicole Plati, Senior Account Executive
At RSA 2014, we were reminded just how dynamic and rapidly accelerating the cybersecurity sector is. You could feel it in the air: this was the biggest RSA ever. One of the messages heard over and over again at RSA was clear: if the industry fails to develop disruptive new technologies and defense mechanisms, out-of-date solutions will become obsolete as soon as they are put into place due to hackers that simply work harder, better, faster (stronger?). At this year’s show, Highwire client Trustwave reminded us that we are officially in an arms race between cyber criminals and IT professionals, and without the latest and greatest technology, IT professionals will constantly be playing catch up.

Megan Grasty, Account Executive
Cybersecurity is by definition a constant war between the good and evil. This year, my favorite keynote was from HP’s SVP and General Manager, Enterprise Security Products, Art Gilliland, who taught us if we want to succeed, we need to “think like a bad guy.” Tying in a Star Wars theme (unfortunately, no lightsabers were broken out), Art reminded us that the bad guys usually had the cooler weapons, but it’s up to all of us to use the force and build our own cool weapons that focus not only on breach prevention, but on the full cycle of an attack.

Natalie Mendes, Account Associate
When I tell friends I represent enterprise security companies, most people’s eyes tend to glaze over. However, if we’ve learned anything from the cyber events of this year, it is that cyber security may just have the largest impact on consumers of any other sector. From Snowden’s NSA revelations, to Apple OS vulnerabilities, and yes, even the Mt. Gox exchange hack, cybersecurity has never been closer to the everyman. It was with this perspective that I attended RSA, realizing that the greatest vulnerabilities and threats in the cyber world are being rooted out and stopped by the companies in attendance at the conference. In fact, at RSA this year, security companies uncovered threats exposing the confidential information of consumers such as the iOS key logging flaw discovered by FireEye and Bitcoin-stealing botnet exposed by Trustwave. If there is one industry that should excite and interest every person it is security, and RSA is a conference that brought that fact to life.