Influencer marketing and the importance of social capital

Photo courtesy of Fintech Talents 2019.

I recently had the pleasure of stopping by the Onalytica offices in London, UK to speak with Jack Morel-Paulo about influencer marketing and the importance of social capital when partnering with influencers.

We chatted about how many business leaders don’t really know how to leverage their online social networks strategically to build valuable business relationships. Social networks are not a pipe that you use to push out corporate messages, they are a critical extension of their social networking. Simplistically speaking, social networks are networking tools that you can use to build organic and authentic relationships with other leaders who may be able to support your work or would be an asset to know.

I have seen with many clients and on my own social accounts that when you approach a relationship equally it’s a two-way street. In order to get something of value, you have to give something of value and that means investing time and energy and content. And what you get back is in the form of relationships. These relationships can be very valuable to you in all kinds of ways, not just sales. The social capital you get from relationships can be used in your business in very strategic ways.

See: 10 things every business leader should do on social networks to advance their career

For more insights into why online social networks are the most powerful tool you have in to scale your business and boost your career check out my video with Onalytica in their Influencer Marketing series below. I have also included some questions and answers I shared with them to help you get to know me more and the reasons why I’m so passionate about helping B2B influencers build authority and visibility online.

What are your passions?

I’m passionate about social networking as a tool for building and nurturing productive business relationships. Most business leaders recognize their social networks are their most valuable business assets. Yet many businesses and their leaders are missing opportunities to be growing and nurturing those networks by using online tools effectively. So I’m passionate about building businesses through relationships.

And there’s my family – which is the other thing I’m passionate about! 😉

Which influencers do you find influence you?

I’ve published lists of top influencers on my website and appeared on other lists (including Onalytica’s top 100 wealth management influencer list) and many of the people on those lists are influential to me – and some have even become friends.

Some of my recent influencer lists include:

When a brand reaches out to you for the first time what do they typically ask you?

Brands often want to find ways to get their marketing messages OUT. They want their influencer marketing activities to drive prospects to their websites. What I try to emphasize is that B2B influencer engagement is a long game. Success comes from building productive relationships with influencers over time. And relationships are better when they are between two people, rather than the brand and the influencer. So I encourage brands to identify internal leaders who can be ambassadors on behalf of their brands and build real relationships with influencers. All the brand’s content marketing is complementary to this, but the ROI of B2B influencer work is often best measured in the real relationships formed between your brand’s business leaders and the top influencers in the ecosystem.

See: The power of personal brand for online influencers and business leaders

If a brand wanted to work with you, what activities would you be most interested in partnering with them on?

We focus on identifying influencers, then supporting individual business leaders to engage meaningfully and develop relationships with these influencers. We curate relevant content. We help share that content to social feeds. We help business leaders develop their thought leadership voices. And we create content that engages influencers and the broader ecosystem.

What value do you look for in a brand when deciding whether to work with them?

Good question. Brands need to be committed to social engagement – not merely interested in a transactional way. While ROI is very important, and overtly short-term obsession with what YOU are getting from social networking misses the real value. Often, failure to GET results is a reflection of a failure to INVEST anything of value in the strategy.

When it comes to business leaders and helping them engage in social networks with influencers, I’m always looking for that leader who is a social animal. They are curious and interested in PEOPLE. They care about people. They are open to learning new ways to interact. These are the traits that help one succeed in influencer outreach and engagement.

If there was one thing you could change about the influencer marketing industry, what would it be?

The industry seems to want to make it seem easy when it’s not. My message is always clear: if you want short-term attention, there are many digital marketing tools that will give it to you, such as SEM, PPC advertising, paid social media reach, etc. But if you want long-term trust, attention and engagement, you need to roll up your sleeves and do the work. BOTH approaches have value, but fewer businesses and leaders are willing to do the long term work to build relationships and trust among the online influencers in their industry.

See: At the end of the day, it’s about building relationships

How important do you think it is for brands to make use of Influencer Relationship Management tools?

There are all kinds of valuable tools to use. You need social analytics tools to find influencers. You need tools for managing your outreach and engagement. And tools for measuring results. But at the end of the day, relationship-based strategies are driven by human insight and human energy.

See: How to design and implement an influencer strategy and content plan

Where do you see the B2B influencer marketing industry going?

Automation and AI. Increasingly, influencer outreach, even engagement, will be AI-enabled. I think that’s in the immediate term, the next few years. Beyond that, we’ll see AI-based influencers, that is, synthetic digitally created personalities start to eclipse human influencers. This is starting to happen in pop culture, but it will eventually make its way into business settings.

Here are some other Onalytica Interviews in the influencer series that I found inspiring:

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