We’re currently living in the gold rush era of influencer marketing. However, we hardly see any B2B businesses including it in their marketing plans. Why is that?
The truth is that not a plethora of mainstream influencers cover B2B topics. What’s more, seeking an influencer who shares your company’s vision and can communicate its ideas is like finding a needle in a haystack.
For this reason, this B2B marketing trend hasn’t netted as much popularity in the B2B field as other digital marketing disciplines. But all hope isn’t lost. There is a way for you to obtain an influencer that’s practically tailor-made for your business, and we’re uncovering how through five conventional steps:
Step 1: Know your target audience.
Since we’re dealing with a business-to-business setting, your buyer profile may be radically different than if you were in B2C. However, the types of questions you’ll be asking won’t (sometimes) differ much.
Below are examples of questions to help you clarify the audience your influencer will be targeting:
- Who will my business benefit?
- What kind of issues or events would they be interested in?
- What type of influencer would they respond to or engage with the most?
Come up with as many questions as you want. It’s important to get this first step right if you want to find the perfect influencer for your B2B business.
Step 2: Determine the relevant metrics for your business.
Site visits are among the most important metrics to measure, especially for blogger influencers.
Depending on your company’s goals, you’ll also need to predetermine what metrics to evaluate. Let it serve as a guide for you to determine how successful your campaign is.
For example, in social media, some of the relevant metrics for most B2B companies are social following, number of shares/likes, comments, and replies.
For websites or blogs, however, it may be site traffic, readership engagement, traffic sources, and the influencer’s update frequency. Also, make sure to ask if an influencer is using a content delivery network, or CDN, on their site. Especially if you notice very slow page loading time, using a CDN can make a tremendous difference.
Metrics are significant for keeping your team focused on what’s important. Moreover, you avoid wasting resources on things that won’t move your B2B business forward.
Don’t believe in metrics? You might change your mind after reading this guide.
Step 3: Identify the key influencers in your industry.
It isn’t just about acquiring people with the most reach. You need an influencer with an attitude and personality that best aligns with your organization's values.
But first, you’ll need to build a database of the influencers that are already well-known in your field. The good news is that there are several influencer marketing and management tools that can help you find and collaborate with the right people for your B2B campaigns and increase your conversion rates.
After you have a few names, we suggest creating a spreadsheet and listing them all down in the left column. You’ll need this for the next step.
Step 4: Narrow down your search.
Now that you have nice list of the people you think can make a difference for your B2B brand, here comes the tedious part.
Take your list and rate each influencer based on several factors. A simple 1-10 rating will do nicely for this. Here’s what you should be rating them for:
Of course, some influencers will post content that’s more aligned with your brand’s personality than others. Go over their previous shared content and get a sense of the kind of people they are.
Are you looking for someone who’s conscientious about the environment? Or a thrill-seeking, adrenaline junkie to promote your sports gear?
You can find out all of that and more through the kind of content they share.
The image above beautifully markets the exclusivity American Express wants to project with their Platinum card. And they’re doing that with -- you guessed it -- an influencer.
Frequency of engagement
In many cases, there’s a direct correlation between how often an individual posts and the volume of traffic or engagement their posts have.
As with any kind of digital marketing, it often takes multiple exposures to eventually convince others to check out or come back to your site.
Quality of engagement
Influencers are naturally busy people. Still, one-word responses like ‘Okay’, ‘Thanks’, or ‘Nice’ may not be in line with how you want your brand to be perceived.
Some influencers will be happy to invest additional thought and time crafting meaningful responses. And if they refuse to or can’t, then just move on to the next person on the list.
While reach is a good metric to consider, it shouldn’t be at the top of the list. Instead of focusing on the numbers, see if they’re targeting your brand’s preferred audience. And don’t forget, your brand may benefit from a larger following on one specific platform than another.
These are platforms that specialize in visual engagement, so they work better for industries that benefit through visual marketing, like food or travel.
This may sound counter-intuitive, but influencers with a smaller number of sponsored content can appear more authentic and trustworthy. That’s because personal stories are more effective than paid-for product reviews.
There’s nothing like a compelling story to engage readers and make them feel more connected to your influencer. So try and see if an influencer has a knack for storytelling rather than just sharing dry reviews.
Step 5: Interview.
Reach out to your prime candidates, tell them about your business, and schedule interviews. It’s important that you find the right person for your business, so get as much information as possible.
Example questions to ask the influencer:
“What do you think about my business?”
“What approach would you take to tell your audience about my business?”
“Do you have favorite tools to use for managing your profile(s)? If yes, what are they?”
“Are you willing to use other tools to make your profile management easier and faster?”
“How do you deal with negative comments or criticism from your audience?”
Any one of these questions could lead you off into different directions. So be prepared in advance for the possibility that you won’t get all your questions answered.
Instead, create a list of top priority questions and try and keep the flow of the interview consistent with getting those questions answered. And once you think you have all the information you need, make sure to thank the influencer for his or her time.
And That’s It!
There’s so much you can accomplish with influencer marketing, especially if it’s done right. But before you can even think about generating results, you’ll have to find the perfect influencer to represent your brand.
Fortunately, the steps we’ve shared with you above will guarantee that you land an influencer that’s everything you need and more.
Just remember that influencers are real-life people with an immense power to market your brand. But they’re still people in the end. Build a good working relationship with them, find out what they do best, and be willing to compromise. This is the most important part if you want to succeed in influencer marketing.