People buying products or services are no longer impressed by traditional means of advertising. Today, you have to go that extra mile to convince consumers and businesses alike, that you are the right choice. In this pursuit, marketers are turning to “social media stars” to showcase products and services towards “hard-to-convince millennials”. This is a trend called ‘influencer marketing’, which is a rapidly up-and-coming form of marketing in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. In today’s world, businesses rely more on third party content for legitimate data. Thus, if you can back your product with positive reviews from a celebrity or a blogger, more people are actually likely to make the purchase.
However, simply paying social media celebrities to cover your brand on various platforms doesn’t cut it as a B2B influencer campaign, you have to go that extra mile, pick the right digital personalities, approach and engage them in order to reap the full potential of this modern day marketing phenomena and here’s how.
Decide who is going to head your B2B influencer campaign:
- Brand Advocates:
Who better to recommend your brand than those who are already delighted with it? Companies need to realise these customers in their databases and get them to share branded content and acknowledge and recognise them along the way. There is no better way to spread information than word of mouth. Providing softwares to organisations, use testimonials and work out deals so those businesses using it can provide some form of mention for your business.
- Industry Analysts:
This is where the juice is really worth the squeeze. Find yourself an industry analyst who is looked up to in that space. Someone who is followed by the business you cater to. Every industry has analysts coming up with reports on various products and services, which tend to ‘opinionate’ not only the masses, but primarily other businesses and leaders. This shows how influential these analysts are. With the advent of numerous media streams like podcasts and the emergence of videos as the next big marketing medium, these influencers are growing in strength every day.
- Thought Leaders:
One cannot stress enough on the importance of social media. In the age of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, you need to identify what Social Networks to be present on and build on it from day one!
- Employee Supporters:
Most employees are active on social media and already make recommendations to their personal networks, also many of them believe in your company and know everything there is to know. It is a recipe for success!
Blogs, online publications, and magazines receive maximum traction as influencers. One must make a conscious effort to build and maintain relationships with editors, writers, and bloggers. Reach out and ask what they like to cover and which story angles resonate most with their audience.
Identifying influencers can be a trickier than it looks. People often pick influencers on the number of likes and followers that they have, rather than those are actually influential among your target audience. When it comes to B2B Influencer marketing on social media, influencers should essentially be based on their credibility and their expertise in the field. Most people tend to ignore this fact. So a celebrity might be able to do wonders for your brand on the B2C front, someone from the industry will do you wonders on the B2C front. Take for example, the ‘astro turf fields’ sprouting up all over the city. As a business, you’d rather trust Mr. X who is an expert in this field over a socialite or a sports-person.
Building relationships with influencers is essential in influencer marketing for B2B. Asking influencers to do something for you right off the bat doesn’t really pan out well. While dealing with influencers one has to answer the question- “how can they be of any help to the influencer?” Let your influencer avail what you have to offer. Try to show them how your product/service is the right fit for any other business that you could cater to by showing its worth to said influencer. A relationship with any influencer is a two-way street and helping them out in any of the above-mentioned manners will help an individual or a company get noticed by that influencer.
An influencer brings with him/her great credibility and that much-desired trust factor. When done right, influencer marketing is an honest and engaging way to create tremendous brand value, generate traffic, leads, and even sales! Influencer marketing is expected to grow even further in 2017 and 2018 and everyone can benefit from it. Start small by contacting a handful of influencers and remember that it’s all about identifying the right people for your brand and building valuable relationships with them!