Utilize Influencers in Your B2B Marketing Strategy
The internet is a flutter with brilliant B2B marketing efforts.. Just having a well executed piece of content is no longer enough. In this day where new information is being written and published online by the second, it’s easy for scintillating content to get lost in the wind. Within the past year, “influencer marketing” has exploded as a new form of digital marketing. In the B2B realm, this type of marketing is being completely underutilized and untouched.
So what is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that identifies and targets individuals with influence over potential buyers. In the past, you’d see celebrity endorsements used this way, but there is a new way to target everyday influencers that can be just as powerful.
Everyday influencers may have a large social media following in your niche, or they may simply be respected and knowledgeable in your industry.. Influence doesn’t mean just hunting down people with the largest followings.
A good equation to use when looking for influencers is:
Influence = Audience Reach (# of followers) x Brand Affinity (expertise and credibility) x Strength of Relationship with Followers
Steps to Utilizing Influencer Marketing in Your B2B Marketing Strategy
#1 Identify Influencers
B2B influencer marketing works the same way that B2C influencer marketing works.
Who are the industry leaders in your niche? Is it a company you’d like to partner with, an individual who dominates the space? Ask yourself, “What does your brand want to be known for?” And then identify which individuals or companies can help you get there.
Identify a Social Platform
Where are the industry leaders spending their time online in your niche? There are a plethora of platforms that you can take into account. Make sure that you pick a platform that aligns with where your target demographic is, as well as where the thought leaders are. YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, & LinkedIn are full of thought leaders in a huge variety of niches.
Once you’ve found your platform, you can utilize tools like BuzzSumo to search for industry leaders in your niche.
#2 Build Relationships
Building relationships is crucial to being able to successfully carry out an influencer marketing strategy. Once you’ve identified who the industry thought leaders are, show them some love.
When you are at a conference, go introduce yourself to thought leaders, and keep in touch. Follow them on twitter, write about them, send them a personal message, offer them discounts, or let them be first to beta-test your product or service. Showing them that you care by being genuinely interested, and authentic will go a long ways.
Once you’ve started gaining trust from industry influencers, talk to them about creating content together.
- A Co-Branded Webinar
- A Co-Branded eBook or WhitePaper
- A PodCast Discussing Both Sides
- A Co-Branded infographic
The possibilities are endless! With Co-Branded content, you get the benefits of more exposure, and more trust for both brands. This is a win-win scenario, and if the relationship is there, it’s relatively easy to create.
Scott Cook, the founder and CEO of Intuit, said it best, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is–it is what consumers tell each other it is. So, by building yourself with a company that is already aligned as a leader, your customers will be more loyal to your brand.
#4 Promote & Measure
Make it easy for industry influencers to share your content. Give them pre-written tweets, embed codes, and short URL’s. Make it as easy as possible for the word to get spread about your new campaigns, and then start tracking the numbers.
Influencer marketing done right can be a huge for your company in the B2B space.
#5 Nurture Relationships
Once you’ve created a valuable partnerships, it’s best not to leave it as a “one and done” type relationship. Continue to nurture the thought leaders in your space, you never know what great idea you’ll have along the road that you might want to utilize them for in the future.
If you’re interested in learning more about B2B influencer marketing, contact us to learn more.