The For Immediate Release team of Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson organised a great Google+ Hangout on Air (live multi-participant broadcast) on Saturday 16th June about Influencer Marketing.

On the panel (replay below – seen L – R) were

Andrew Grill CEO at influencer platform Kred
David Armano EVP, Global Innovation & Integration at Edelman
Shel Holtz – For Immediate Release (Host)
Gini Dietrich CEO at PR firm Arment Dietrich & Spin Sucks blogger
Neville Hobson – For Immediate Release
Zena Weist VP of Strategy at social software company Expion

We covered a lot of ground in 60 minutes, and hopefully helped highlight some of the challenges facing marketers in not only finding influencers (or advocates).

One key take-way is the real need for education to dispel the myth that anyone with  a high influencer score is automatically valuable to a brand.  We need to go “beyond the score” to find our why someone is influential.  As David rightly stated, even with the tools available, you still need humans who know what they are looking for to make sense of the information you uncover.

The other key takeaway is that you as a brand or agency need to know exactly what your goal is before you even start the search for influencers or advocates.

We also discussed the need for PR firms and agencies to engage with and employ bloggers and influencers.

I repeated my story where I attend a [big name] PR agency and ask who has ever met a blogger in person? No hands go up.

I then remind them that they all shook my hand on the way in and I’m a blogger [cue shock].  We then spend the next 20 minutes talking about what it is like to be approached by a brand from a blogger’s perspective. Cue frantic note taking. Cue facepalm from me.

See my take on the “score envy” that we seem to be encouraging in my recent post “why two influence metrics are better than one”.

On a side note, this was the first time the FIR team used a Google+ Hangouts On Air (HOA) and it worked really well – also recording it to YouTube.

A tip for future HOA participants – even though you are not talking, whatever you are doing can be seen so don’t look around the room or do something you would not want broadcast! With HOA your camera is always “on air”.

Thanks again to Shel and Neville for inviting me to participate in the discussion about influencer marketing – a hot topic at the moment!