For most savvy B2B companies, content marketing, paid advertising and social selling have become commonly used strategies for lead generation and sales. And therein lies the problem. Audiences and markets are bombarded with content, much of it excellently crafted, yet are paying less attention to it and sharing it less frequently. And while digital advertising is everywhere, online users become immune to it and simply don’t trust paid ads.
That’s where influencer marketing comes in. By creating compelling and helpful content, backed by the trust of the fans of an influencer, you can expand your reach in ways not possible with paid social campaigns. People trust people more than they trust ads. When your work is discussed and distributed in social media networks by an influencer, you are tapping into the credibility and trust that audiences associated with that influencer. That kind of organic brand recognition is hard, if not impossible, to buy.
As consumers are increasingly turning to the internet to get to know, like and trust you and your brand, you can no longer get away with being invisible online – or thinking you can just buy your audience. Influencers have the trust of target audiences that you want. But first, you have to earn the trust of the influencers.
Below are five stand-out articles that will help you build or refine your influencer marketing strategy. Please share any feedback on these and I welcome your suggestions if you think I have missed any.
Most companies use paid marketing to increase their reach and engagement. However, with so many companies using pay-to-play marketing initiatives, like Facebook advertising, people are growing immune to ads and not paying as much attention to the content. When you employ influencer marketing and engage existing influencers within a community, Neal Schaffer says, people take notice which helps build engagement far greater than a paid social campaign ever could.
“Influencer marketing is about community and not a singular initiative to meet a specific KPI for a particular campaign.” ~ Neil Schaffer
When we discuss influencer marketing strategy, many people assume we are talking about working with celebrities that have large online audiences. While this may make sense for large, consumer-oriented brands, it is far more effective to focus on niche micro-influencers in many B2B sales situations. These niche micro-influencers have smaller audiences, but they have closer and more trusting relationships with them and their opinions often carry more respect because the influencers have subject matter expertise.
“It’s not enough to simply identify a group of micro-influencers and decide that you want your brand to work with them. The next step is to start creating a relationship with these micro-influencers. At this point, the group of influencers has become your target audience.” ~ Paz Segura
In this one-hour webinar presentation, influencer marketing expert, Marshall Kirkpatrick, discusses how brands can build a demand generation feedback loop through influencer listening. He uses practical examples to show how the smartest brands use influencer engagement to capture insights, relevance, and foresight into their industry. The key takeaway: the benefits of effective influencer outreach and engagement activities can go far beyond traditional marketing initiatives and include actionable intelligence and insights about your target markets.
Influencer marketing in the B2C space exploded quickly, but many feel influencer engagement work doesn’t fit well for B2B technology companies. Jake Athey, shows how B2B businesses can build powerful online communities, tap into content narratives, and leave signals that direct consumers to company making their influence authentic and powerful.
“Influence is just a byproduct of doing the right thing for the people in your business community.” ~ Jake Athey
The core component of influencer marketing is rooted in a brand’s ability to establish long-term partnerships and co-create engagement content across various channels. Guillaume Deront argues that brands needs to expand beyond building strategies that target a specific audience, to instead building long-term collaborative relationships with influencers.
For more insights, check out these related influencer marketing articles I have written: