B2B influencer marketing is a game-changer for organization brands. By partnering along with influential thought leaders within your industry, you can reach brand new audiences, create trust and credibility with current customers and prospects, and drive sales.
Planning and executing a B2B influencer marketing strategy is difficult. There are several moving pieces that require attention and focus. But the most critical factor is how you identify the influencers you choose to collaborate with. If you get this part wrong, your entire program can get derailed with bad performance. In addition , you’ lmost all need individuals who are respected and well-connected in your industry plus who align with your company’ s values.
There are several ways to identify influencers. Unfortunately, spending 15 minutes looking Google isn’ t one of these. Over the years, I have experimented with identifying influencers by topic, station, role, and audience.
Topical-based influencers are usually experts in their field. Their own posts are crafted to teach and inform their audiences about the latest news, developments, or trends within their subject of interest. Industry influencers are similar, but there are some differences. The topical influencer is more specific. They might be futurists, thought leaders or innovators focused on helping others stay ahead of the curve. Over the last year, I have observed a rise in metaverse influencers across Twitter and LinkedIn. Many of them talk about the metaverse for business and how manufacturers can tap into this new technology.
Industry influencers focus on macro-level topics like healthcare, finance, or manufacturing. It doesn’ t indicate they won’ t generate content or talk about how the metaverse can be used by pharma or within a factory. But they are talking about other topics too.
Topical ointment influencers tend to have a more involved and passionate following of users who are deeply interested in the subject matter. For companies or brands looking to promote their products or services within a particular industry, partnering with a topical-based influencer can be an extremely effective online marketing strategy.
Channel-based influencers specialize in building an audience and authority within a particular platform like TikTok. They have got a solid understanding of the platforms, capabilities, and algorithms. As social media platforms become much less relevant, they will become earlier adopters of up-and-coming apps and networks. They will have previously tested and tried new platforms, so their supporters don’ t have to. This really is valuable because it helps save time for people who want to be for the cutting edge but don’ capital t have the time or ability to do all the research.
While it’ t smart to partner and collaborates with channel influencers, you will find that their influence is too narrow to impact the larger digital ecosystem . In addition , their focus is usually on one platform instead of several. So if you’ re searching for an influencer to help you achieve a new audience or promote your brand across multiple channels, a channel-based influencer may not be the best fit.
Functional-based influencers are well known individuals within their field or industry, and they often have a substantial following across many social platforms. They use their platform to educate, inform, and entertain their audience. Many of them will also be thought market leaders who are highly regarded for their knowledge and experience.
There are several different types of role-based influencers, including:
- CEOs & Founders
- Industry Analysts
- Influential technologists (engineers, developers, data scientists)
Functional-based influencers can be very effective because they are subject material experts, and many have cross-channel influence. They can help you achieve new audiences and market your brand across multiple channels.
There is another way to identify influencers, but it starts with building a target audience first.
Using Audience Data to Find Influencers
One of the benefits of working in B2B marketing is that it’ s not too difficult to find your audience on social media. Many B2B decision makers plus technologists self-identify as such in their bios. This makes it easier to find and connect with them. Additionally , most of them are already referring to their specific pain factors and needs online.
For example , let’ s say you build an audience of 4. 5K IT decision-makers (ITDMs). There are two ways to identify who influences this specific audience-using affinity and conversational data.
- Affinity data computes the percentage of an audience that follows a particular accounts on social media. For example , when 30% of an audience comes after a specific individual, that account has a high affinity together with your audience.
- Conversational data looks at the relationships (likes, comments, shares) among an account and your audience. This can help you identify which accounts are already talking to your target audience and engaging with them in a meaningful way.
Let’ s imagine 55% of the audience comes after a certain influencer. This changer was a 20-year veteran at IBM and even served as the CIO during his period. But when you explore the speaking data of the ITDMs, merely a very small percentage engage with him.
On the other hand, 13% of the audience follow an additional influencer who’ s already been a DevOps engineer for about 10+years. So even though the viewers affinity is low, the particular engagement rate from the target audience is off the charts. This is because she is always talking about the newest trends in the IT business, sharing her point of view upon new tech and how they can be applied to solve specific issues.
As you can see, it’ s essential to look at each affinity and conversational information when identifying influencers. In this particular example, the DevOps professional has a lower affinity but more influence over the ITDM audience.
As we transfer to 2022, the digital marketing landscape will continue to modify and evolve. And as a result, the way we identify and match influencers will need to change. In order to connect with influencers successfully, it’ s essential to understand the different types and the best practices to identify all of them.
When it comes to market data and research, you have to keep a few key points in mind. First, research is important to determine which type of changer would best fit your company. Second, research will also assist you to choose the ideal platform for the influencer marketing strategy. And lastly, analysis will help you understand how to measure the achievement of your campaign so that you can optimize and improve your results with time.
No matter what, remember that the most important thing is to focus on quality over quantity. It’ s better to possess a smaller group of highly influential people promoting your brand than a large group of people along with little influence.
Michael Brito is a digital strategist as well as the Global Head of Analytics at Zeno Group. He’s also an adjunct professor at San Jose State University, TEDx speaker and content creator on YouTube. You can connect with him on social media or have a look at his social media marketing weblog .