Influencer marketing has been a hot topic for a few years now. While most of the publicity has been dedicated to high profile campaigns in the B2C industry, it’s arguably a better fit for the direction in which B2B marketing, particularly at enterprise level, is going.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a strategy where your business forms a mutually beneficial relationship with influencers in order to a) signal boost your services and b) influence the clients and companies that you want to do business with.
Think of it as Word of Mouth, but where you control what is being spread.
Sounds pretty ideal, right? Especially as word of mouth is consistently found the most effective form of marketing there is, for a number of reasons:
- it comes from a person whose opinion and advice you trust
- you don’t feel you’re being sold to, which makes you naturally more receptive
- it tends to be relevant to you rather than be a spray and pray approach
Influencer marketing essentially does the same thing. The key is to find people or businesses, who are influential to your target market, and get them to promote your services to them.Influencer Marketing and Word of Mouth have more in common than you think.... Click To Tweet
There are a number of ways of getting influencers on board.
The most effective one is to get those influencers to care about your business, so that they would naturally want to promote it to their followers. This kind of relationship doesn’t grow overnight, so you would do well to hire an influencer outreach strategist to help you with this (*cough* hi *cough*).
Another is to hire influencers in your field to act as evangelists for your business. Think of how Salesforce hired Vala Ashfar for example! This approach also makes a lot of sense, and adds clarity to the process, as….
….nothing makes an influencer marketing campaign go down like lead like the sniff of a hidden ‘sponsored’.
Authenticity is what makes those campaigns effective, so you want to make sure things are as transparent as possible.
In most cases, I would advocate reciprocity rather than a paycheck: create a mutually advantageous relationship that gives you access to each other’s networks and resources.
Who are your businesses’ influencers?
This all depends on who you want to influence!
Influencer marketing goes hand-in-hand with account-based-marketing.
Rather than wasting time with buyer personas, identify a number of businesses you want to target, and within them, the key people you want to reach (decision makers, people with influence within it etc).
Now that you have a list of real people, there are various ways you can find out who has an influence on them, for example:
- Who are they retweeting? Whose articles have they shared? Who do they favourite? Who organizes the Twitter chat they participate in?
- Which groups are they part of? Whose posts do they like or comment on?
- The news. Have they mentioned anyone in interviews?
- Thought leadership. What have they written? Can you draw conclusions from this?
Influencers aren’t always who you’d expect – they might not have 100k followers on Instagram or 5,000 connections on LinkedIn. But they have spent time nurturing and building meaningful relationships with their audiences.
Beyond the specific micro or macro influencers your specific targets have, you will also want to look bigger and identify the big-fish influencers of their industry. An ideal campaign will involve both.
There are also some apps that can help you with this:
- Buzzsumo helps you to identify influencers and filter them by authority – a great way to differentiate between perceived and actual influencers.
- Buffer now has an Influencer section under Analytics, which shows you your most influential and engaged followers. You can also identify influencers on your top keywords, and see who is sharing your content. (Buffer is also a fantastic social media management tool which I’ve raved about before).
What does an influencer marketing campaign look like?
This depends largely on the goals of your campaign, which you should identify from the get go.
Influencer marketing is often associated with Instagram, but for B2B this can include things like social media updates, email marketing, thought leadership, mentions during public speaking opportunities, inclusion in reports, and so on and so forth (including good old word of mouth).
Effective influencer marketing isn’t paying someone to share an Instagram photo and then buggering off.
The relationship you have built up before the campaign continues to be essential during the campaign – think of it as a collaboration!
p.s if you’d like to hire an influencer outreach strategist to help you with this, get in touch asap!Effective influencer marketing isn’t paying someone to share an Instagram photo and then buggering off. Click To Tweet
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