June 05, 2016

Influencer Marketing in the B2B Arena

To appropriate Star Wars, “The Force is Strong” with some on social media. Known in marketing as influencers, these are the people you want to identify to enhance your B2B marketing. Influencers have the power of a social media force (the Yoda-side, not Sidius), to make a difference in terms of customer engagements with your brand.

Who are the Influencers?

To stay ahead of the curve, it is important to listen to what the influencers are saying. Follow:

  • Influential execs
  • Bloggers
  • Analysts

Influencer Marketing in the B2B Arena

An influencer’s endorsement could give a new B2B product release a big boost. Or you might come across someone who would make a good partner for a guest blog or another inbound marketing initiative.

Looking at the individual’s bio in Hootsuite, you can see the number of followers they have, their location, posting activity, and Klout score. Or you might use LittleBird, Augure, Traackr or BuzzSumo to identify those with the attention of your target audience.

You might also search out influencers by filtering within a social stream by “keyword” or by “Klout.” Klout scores provide a measurement of a user’s social reach. You can use the slider scale in the Klout search bar and see the stream repopulate based on the threshold you set. Someone who’s nationally known will likely have a Klout score of 80+.

Engage with Influencers

Sharing influencer’s posts to your brand’s social networks can provide valuable resources to your followers and position you as an innovator, too. Especially if your marketing team relates the posts to your brand in a way that creates added value when you repost.

You might also add the influencer to a particular list on twitter to identify the content and area of industry interest they represent. Ultimately, the more you engage with and show interest in an influencer, the more attention they are likely to show you in return.

Keeping in mind that influencers can be bombarded with pitches, you might also target the influencers’ sources to find new ways to increase your content’s audience. For instance, when pitching a new product to an industry influencer, it may be difficult to stand out. Instead, the brand might instead identify someone upstream with fewer followers, that the influencer uses as a source, and that your brand can reach out to personally.

The Power of Referral

For consumer audiences, the value of influencer marketing is clear. A recent study by Nielsen found that 84% of consumers say they trust people they know over direct advertising.

Influencers can impact the B2B marketing to sales lifecycle just as profoundly. It’s a way to build relationships with the industry and target markets while also boosting your own brand’s credibility as an industry thought leader. After all, your target customers aren’t that different from consumers, they too are going to value what their industry peers have to say when researching a purchase decision.

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