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Top-Shelf Tip No. 130:

"Influencer marketing at its core is about developing real relationships to ultimately champion your influencers to market with you."

Amanda Maksymiw

The Value Of Influencer Marketing, Part 1

When the air conditioner broke at my house recently, I didn’t immediately look up ads for air conditioner repair services. Instead, my first step was to go to my neighborhood Facebook group and post a request for recommendations. I wanted to get the name of a repair shop that my neighbors had used and trusted. By doing so, I already had more confidence and affiliation with that company when I called to schedule an appointment.

This is an example of influencer marketing—also known as earned exposure—and it’s increasingly popular and effective in companies’ marketing strategies. There is an overwhelming selection of influencer marketing software and industry chatter that’s focused on the use of influencers to pitch consumer-focused products. Just look at celebrities on Instagram “mentioning” their favorite hair products or other items. However, influencer marketing is also critical to business-to-business marketing. According to influencer marketing expert Jay Baer, 91 percent of B2B transactions are at least influenced by word of mouth.

Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today shares 10 important rules about B2B influencer marketing and includes tips to help you get started.

1. Lengthen Your Time Horizon. Consumer goods companies can, in theory, pay a celebrity to promote their product on Instagram, and purchases will roll in almost immediately. It doesn’t work like that for B2B.

Because the factors that go into a B2B purchase decision are often more nuanced and comprehensive than for consumer purchases, the impact of B2B influencer marketing takes longer to take root. B2B purchases also involve multiple decision makers, so it is likely to take longer to touch multiple influencers. It can take six months to a year to see the results of influencer marketing for B2B programs.

2. Look First For Existing Advocates. It’s natural for companies to look outside their existing ecosystems to find “fresh” influencers. However, you may find some of the best brand advocates are those already associated with your business.

The first step is to analyze and evaluate your existing customers, fans, business partners and employees for evidence of advocacy and influence. You can do this by using tools such as Cision or FollowerWonk to examine social influence. Social chatter is so diffused now that it’s entirely possible that influencers are routinely talking about your brand without you even knowing about it.

3. Identify Who Influences Your Customers. Influencer marketing is about influencing the people who influence your potential customers. If you want to figure out who is really going to resonate as a B2B influencer, it really helps to know who your customers are already listening to, reading and watching .

Launch a quick survey of your customers using Survey Monkey or a similar survey tool. Ask them specifically who they listen to, read and watch. A great question to ask, according to Baer, is something like, “Among this list of B2B influencers you’ve acknowledged you listen to/read/watch, please rank them by how much you trust them.”

4. Don’t Focus Only On Social Strength. Social media reach is often used as a key measure of influence, but it’s by no means the only way to gauge B2B influencer marketing viability. In fact, some of the most powerful influencers in the world are not active at all in social media. For example, on the marketing front, Seth Godin is, by any measure, a massive influencer. Yet his use of social media is modest to non-existent. Consider influencers like respected authors, speakers, thinkers, podcasters and researchers.

5. Create B2B Influencer Dossiers. Once you have a list of potential influencers, it’s incredibly useful to be able to compare them using consistent data and a common format. Baer suggests creating influencer dossiers. Create a chart where you can track the following for each influencer:

  • Social channels
  • Engagement ratios
  • Topics covered
  • Hashtags used
  • Geography
  • Best-performing relevant posts/content
  • History of influencer work/relationships in the industry
  • Non-social influence platforms like books, speakers, podcasts
  • Media coverage
  • Results of your research into how relevant this person is for your customers
  • Ready to be influenced more about the importance of influencer marketing? Read PCT, coming to your inbox again tomorrow.

    Source: Convince & Convert founder Jay Baer is a 24-year digital expert, a global keynote speaker and emcee, a New York Times best-selling author, a trusted advisor to dozens of brands, an active investor in tech startups and a member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Hall of Fame.

    Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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