Does Influencer Marketing for B2B Really Work? When It's Done Right
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It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
That’s the belief held by most of your customers when it comes to making purchase decisions. In fact, Demand Gen found that 72% of buyers look to industry peers while researching relevant content for B2B purchase decisions.
No marketing is as powerful as a good word by someone your prospects trust.
What Is an Influencer?
Anyone your prospects and customers trust and listen to can be a potential influencer for your business. For most companies, this list of potential influencers will include bloggers, experts, industry analysts, current customers, and anyone else who has grown a strong following.
Beware though, follower count alone does not mean someone will make a good or willing influencer for your business. Everyone would love to have Sean Ellis or Mark Zuckerberg represent their brand, but this is rarely possible. It’s better to focus on the lower tier, niche influencers for your specific industry. Not only will they be more willing to speak about your business, but their opinion and knowledge will hold more weight when talking about your niche.
Why B2B Companies Should Do Influencer Marketing
According to Social Media Today, 59% of marketers are increasing their influencer marketing budgets in 2016. With the amount of content marketers are creating on a daily basis, you need a trusted voice speaking to your audience if you expect your message to cut through the noise.
81% of marketers who have used influencer marketing judged it to be effective. The main reason for this is trust. Because you are leveraging the trust that someone else has built with your prospects and customers, your relationship with them is starting off on a much better foot than a cold prospect who may be skeptical of your real value. It is this deeper level of initial trust that leads 51% of marketers to believe they receive higher quality customers through influencer marketing.
How to Find the Right Influencers for Your Business
The most important to remember is the need to find the right fit. Barack Obama has 76 million Twitter followers, but if only .001% of them are in your target market, he won’t be a valuable influencer.
A very short list on where you can start the search for them:
- Start by looking online through blogs, forums, social media channels, LinkedIn groups, and other industry specific channels. Industry specific is the key here.
- Tools like Buzzsumo and Keyhole can help you sort influencers by keyword and social following.
- Check out the speaker list at recent industry conferences, webinars or other events.
- Have a look at who has a large following in your eco-system
Once I’ve found them how do I engage?
- Your first step should be to engage with them in the channel you found them through. Reach out on Twitter, comment on their blog or attempt to meet them at the next conference. For example, retweet with, “Couldn’t agree with you more,” on their latest tweet.
- Engage influencers through interviews or by asking them to submit guest articles on your blog.
- Rewards influencers who are willing to test out and promote your brand through exclusive offers, paid incentives and other bonuses.
A great practice we found is a combination of valuable content for targeted readers as well as a reach out to people we believe would be great advocates for the company.
In this blog post we wrote for our client Aqua Security, we researched the most influential Container related people they follow. This way Aqua’s blog readers are introduced to other and maybe new content, and Aqua can begin to engage with these industry leaders .
Another blog post that was highly engaging was about specific Docker influencers, who are called Docker Captains. They are chosen by Docker as evangelists on the subject.
Non of these people are super star famous, they are professionals who share content and interests in the same and most importantly relevant, community.
Your audience has people they know and trust for recommendations. Finding and partnering with these people can be the best way to get your message to your target message in a way that will resonate. This is another example from the cybersecurity ecosystem.Looking for other ways to get your message out there? Book a free consultation with an industry expert today!