You are an influencer; each day, you influence your friends, family, and work colleagues.
The latter is more important as recent research revealed that most business-to-business (B2B) decision makers rely on their colleagues and peers more than salespeople, product reviews, vendor content, and other sources of information to make buying decisions.
Thus, it’s no surprise that there is an increasing interest in B2B influencer marketing.
Who influences consumers?
As a marketer or business owner, you know who your prospects are. The secret is to figure out who has a substantial influence over those prospects, their colleagues and peers. The influencers may include market analysts, bloggers, thought-leaders, industry executives, and more.
What’s more, these influencers could be using social media daily to interact with their audience. Taking advantage of social media is an excellent way to identify the influencers that your prospects care about.
Some of the top influencer marketing tools include BuzzSumo, LittleBird, and Traackr. These tools use different social media platforms to identify who get the highest level of attention from your customers and prospects alike.
These tools reveal who engages with your brand, industry or content and who has much social media influence in terms of relevance, reach, and authority. Also, these tools can make things easier when it comes to creating your list of relevant influencers.
It’s also recommended to leverage some of the numerous influencer lists on reputable online publications or use a blogger outreach agency. Keep in mind that you should focus on working with an influencer who sways your customers and prospects in a specific way.
For instance, some organizations research the individuals that CIOs mention most on social networks such as Twitter. Such lists are worth considering.
Engaging with influencers
Once you get the right list of influencers, that’s when your work begins. That means just because you have identified your list of influencers doesn’t mean that those individuals know about your company and products.
You need to go through the entire process of getting their full attention to align their interests with your company objectives, and engage them. You know, creating lasting relationships.
So, how is this done?
During a recent survey, the researchers asked several influencers on Twitter to share their views about ‘engaging influencers effectively.’
Here is what some of the influencers said:
- @BrennerMichael: ‘you should make the entire conversation about them. You need to recognize them, offer them exposure or the chance to share their opinions on a top trend.’
- @ValaAfshar: ‘To an influencer’s attention, study the good work of the influencer and promote it on the social media platforms. For instance, you can comment on their logs, share branded links, and more.
- @MargaretMolloy: ‘Choose influencers that have a genuine interest in your solution or product or content.”
During the influencer engagement process, make it about them and not you. Consider starting with influencers who seem to have a natural affinity for your company’s products.
Here are other tips to help you reach the right influencers and keep them engaged.
Follow and monitor the influencers on social media
Once you figure out the most relevant influencers, follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms to get a sense of the information they are more likely to share, learn how they engage, and the hashtags they are more likely to use.
Of course, a more significant number of these influencers will follow you back. It’s wise to set up a Twitter list of your preferred influencers and share the right content in this feed regularly.
Get to know the influencers better
Take the time to know the influencer. Focus on discovering topics, products, and themes that the influencers are passionate about.
Use a customized social approach
It’s time to forget about the ‘one size fits all’ approach. Map out the intersection of your business story, products or content, and the influencer’s interest. Use these details to determine how you will get on each influencer’s radar effectively.
Promote their content
Always be on the lookout for chances to acknowledge and share the influencer’s content and make everything about them look good. For instance, you can ask a specific influencer about their opinion on a relevant topic and then showcase their response in a presentation or a blog post.
Engage with they share with their audience
Comment or ask relevant questions on their bylines, blog posts, and other pieces of social content. This is an excellent way to initiate a dialogue with influencers.
Utilize your network to get better introductions
People in your social or professional network perhaps know one or two of your preferred influencers. So, get introduced to your influencers. During the early conversations, focus on learning more about the influencers’ interests and how you can help out.
One step at a time
The process of creating awareness, connecting with the influencers, and keeping them engaged takes time. If you are looking for influencers to become more than just content shares, focus on a few influencers at a time.
There is a way of speeding up the process of connecting with new influencers and engaging them – pay them. Remember, most influencers are looking for advertisers, clients, and paid writing opportunities.
Depending on your marketing budget, you can consider paying a few influencers to move the dial with your prospects and customers. You can also give them free use of your products and services as this will help them discover why they should advocate for your brand.