Top-Shelf Tip No. 131:

"A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is—it is what consumers tell each other it is. "

Scott Cook

The Value Of Influencer Marketing, Part 2

Earlier in my career I managed press trips for my employer, a hotel company. My job was to reach out to travel writers and partner companies (such as airlines), and arrange press trips to bring writers in to experience the properties and their surrounding local areas. Why did my employer participate in this laborious and expensive endeavor? It was so travel writers would create stories about our hotels and influence their readers.

This type of grass roots public relations is one example of influencer marketing. While influencer marketing is important in the consumer world, it has a very strong role in business-to-business marketing strategy as well.

Yesterday, Promotional Consultant Today shared five ways to manage B2B influencer marketing from Jay Baer, owner of Convince & Convert and an influencer marketing expert. Today, we’ll share five more of his tips.

1. Be Hyper-Aware Of B2B Influencer Conflicts. Many B2C influencers make all or part of their living doing just that: recommending products. My previous work with travel writers is an example. That is not the case with B2B influencer marketing. Most B2B influencers have a “day job” and are influential in part because of that position.

B2B influencer marketing programs are much more likely to have circumstances whereby a proposed influencer cannot participate, or at least can’t participate in a way your brand would find ideal, due to existing relationships, company partnerships or job restrictions. This is a reason why you need to make sure you give yourself enough time to find and activate B2B influencers.

2. Build Relationships With Trends And Predictions. When working with a B2B influencer for the first time, it’s wise to build those bonds incrementally. Unless your influencers are already huge advocates, they’re unlikely to immediately jump at the chance to work on something together.

A better approach is to tap into the influencer’s wisdom and connections by putting together a curated collection of influencer thoughts. You can create an article featuring insights from key industry influencers – a type of trends/ predictions report. This is a great first step because it doesn’t require a ton of the influencers’ time, and it’s a nice entrée into the brand, its products, and its messaging. After finding success with an initial trends/predictions report, expand and enhance the relationship to include more detailed and comprehensive content co-creation and promotion.

3. Spend The Time To Educate On Products. When you’re ready to expand the relationship beyond a trend piece, it is imperative that you spend time truly educating the people in your B2B influencer marketing program about your company, products, customers, competitors and culture.

The best influencers have genuine passion for the industry and for the company, so spending time learning more about the ins and outs is a joy rather than a burden. Also, B2B influencers—especially those who have some experience with these kinds of programs—know that the more they learn, the more effective they can be because they’ll be able to better tell company stories in their own words.

4. Focus On Co-Creation. The more influencers put their own spin on the benefits of the products and services, the more impactful and persuasive they are on your behalf. The best way to move the needle with B2B influencer marketing is to find the right people and educate them. Next, explain clearly what you are looking to accomplish with influencers, and why. Then, just listen. Let the influencers come up with ideas on how to create interesting content, how to promote your events, how to engage with key customers, how to enable your sales team and more. Influencer-led co-creation breeds better outcomes and is much more interesting for the influencers, as well.

5. It’s Okay To Have Fun With B2B Influencer Marketing. The best B2B influencer marketing programs are those that have a heavy dose of creativity. Baer shared this example from a LinkedIn post and article called “Great Marketing Stories Read by Top Influencers.” In that program, the company worked with a dozen marketing influencers and asked them to select a favorite, recent digital marketing blog post or article. Then, each influencer created an audio recording of themselves performing a “dramatic reading” of the blog post, which the company then published as a holiday-themed playlist. Fun and creative!

Begin to build your influencer list and make this a key part of your B2B marketing strategy.

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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