Influencer 101: A guideline for influencer marketing campaigns

Social media post example of influencer marketing

By Corie Fiebiger –  Communications Coordinator

More often than not, businesses and brands are turning to social media influencers to help spread their messages, gain awareness, and win over the masses. These pay-for-play personalities make it their jobs (literally) to make you happy and can change the way your business engages and interacts with potential customers. Successful social media campaigns must be a comprehensive mix of your personalized voice, authentic engagement, worthy visualsbranded and topical posts, and now influencer content. 

Relevant influencer content is great, but not all influencers create equal content. Here are some tips and tactics on what to look for when selecting the right influencer to meet your marketing goals.  

Create Campaign Goals & Targets  

Having a clear idea of your must-haves, required stats, and overall influencer objectives will help you understand the type of influencer you need and can keep you on track if you get overwhelmedNot everyone will be a fit, and it’s important to be particular.  

It will help to have campaign “must-haves” in place to help narrow down the sea of options at your fingertips. Are you looking for influencers in a particular geographic location? Do they meet your minimum follower counts and data markers? This could even be something as specific as what university they attend. 

If your campaign plans to use both paid and unpaid influencers, what are your musthave stats for both categories? Creating a list of influencer and campaign goals at the very beginning of your search will save you invaluable time.  

Find Your Influencers 

Though there might be a plethora of “perfect” people to choose from, finding the right influencer for your brand can be harder than you expect. There are numerous online tools and databases that can help you plug in requirements to find potential influencers. However, depending on the size of your company, brand or campaign, and therefore your budget, paying for influencer vetting software might not be an option. 

Even if you opt for one of these services, you may find yourself having to do additional vetting, as there is no software that can tell you that an influencer’s vibe and esthetic matches what you are looking for.  

If you are trying to build brand loyalty, then you will want to focus on influencers in the same genre as your brand. However, if you are trying to expand your brand awareness and build your audience, then trying out influencers within different categories will be important. For instance, a travel brand might seek out a lifestyle influencer to expand brand awareness by targeting yoga enthusiasts. Or a clothing brand might target a high-end fashion influencer to cement their brand’s reputation as trend setters in the fashion industry. 

One free yet timeconsuming way to find the right influencers for your campaign is by doing a simple search. Google is your best friend. A search for “top lifestyle influencers” delivers almost 24 million search results; each writer has a different opinion and has decided on the best influencers by looking through their own individual vetting lensesEach blog or article will have its best choices represented, so look at a few on a couple of lists to see which writer’s vision you most identify with. You may even find that there are influencers that are represented on multiple lists!  

There is a blog for every topic and an excess of writers to choose from. Another search that is helpful will be “top ____ blogs.” You will be hard pressed to find a blog that isn’t also tied to that blog’s specific social world. Depending on what you are looking for, and if you have the budget to support it, securing an influencer with a blog has its own benefits.  

Create Your Wish List 

You may feel overwhelmed by the large number of influencers to choose from. Staying organized and listing your favorites will be helpful, because this is where the real work and in-depth research begins. An easy place to start is with your must-haves and data dealbreakers. Look at their social sites and review their follower counts. This is an easy way to shorten your list.  

With that said, if you feel there is an influencer with amazing pictures, great content, and good engagement, but who doesn’t meet your minimum numbers, don’t discount them yet. You may find you have to readjust or re-evaluate your goals as you go along, especially if you have a very specific demographic. At the very least, these particular influencers might be a great way to get some free user-generated content that you can share on your own social channels.  

Vet Your Targets Against Your Criteria 

Another easy way to cut down your list is to consider the demographics and psychographics of the influencers you are vetting. Now that you have your list, it comes down to whether they represent who you are. 

Are they the right age, gender, geographic location, or does that matter? What are their interests and motivations and do those align with your product or brand values? Do they have previous sponsored content on their page?  

By looking through various influencer’s platforms, you will eventually get an idea of what you are looking for, whether that is a certain esthetic or something that will resonate with your already loyal following. Read their posts and study their digital habits; a simple “vibe check” can go a long way.  

More important questions to ask yourself: 

  • Are they relevant to your topics or brand? 
  • What is their credibility to products in your category? 
  • What is their sponsored engagement rate vs overall engagement rate? The only one that matters is sponsored engagement. 

There are currently over 570 million blogs out there and 86% of content makers use them, so it is more likely than not that your influencer will have this additional platform for you to utilize. With blogs I suggest looking at the esthetic and vibe. Does it look like someone threw together pictures of their family vacation on a WordPress template, or are there nicely organized sections and tabs to filter their content?  

Many blogs will offer media kits with extra information about their audience, previous branding sponsorships or partnerships, or how many subscribers they have to their newsletters. It is worth noting that previous sponsorships are great, but it will be important to ask what the success rate of that partnership was. Did they just make pretty pictures, or did they increase followers and sell product? 

It will also be helpful to know the blog’s unique visitors per month (UVPM) and domain authority (DA). These could also be featured on the blog. The DA is a search engine ranking score that is a measure of the site’s relevance to a subject area or industry and shows how successful a site is based upon search engine results. Generally anything over 50 is considered good. You can get this free overview of search engine performance from a software development company called Moz 

Budget and Negotiations 

You have your list, yay! Now it is actually time to reach out to your chosen influencers. After all of that time you spent on finding and vetting them, you want them to be a right fit and they want to be a right fit too.  

Just like your own “deal-breakers,” your budget may narrow down your list even further. Determining which one will offer the right results to fit your campaign will come down to feel and your marketing budget.  

Price tends to go up with the number of followers. If a blog post and newsletter mailing is part of your deal, the price can go even further. You may want to use paid influencers, unpaid influencers or both, depending on your budget and size of your campaign.  

Do some research online to find an example of the approximate influencer pricing for various types of campaigns. Many influencers who are trying to gain followers and popularity will work in exchange for product/experience, or whatever it is you are promoting. You can always ask them to do it for tradethe worst they can say is no.   

Online research should reveal the approximate influencer pricing for various types of campaign participation.

You’ve signed a contractnow what? 

Many times, companies will want a firm list of deliverables from their influencer. It is definitely okay to have a must-have shot list. If there is something you would like to feature, a certain product demonstrated, or event highlightedtell them. You are paying and they want you to be successful because it helps them to have successful content. 

Do nothowever, script their entire campaign. Give them creative prompts but not exact messages. Provide the message and vibe you are trying to communicate, but also give them some control and let them play to their strengths. They know their audience and what they will respond to, so work with them to decide the look of the posts and then let them do what they do best. Together, you may even go viral! 

Influencer marketing may not be right for every brand, but we find it to be an influential tool for brand awareness on specific campaigns. With a little time, clear idea of what you are looking for, the right tools for searching, vetting criteria and a contract in place, hiring the right influencers combined with unique and relevant curated content will help create a fully integrated marketing campaign.  

Top 5 Social Media Tourism Trends for 2020

By Licia Walsworth — Communications Strategist

 

What do hospitality PR teams need to know about social media tourism trends for 2020? First, it starts with storytelling—or, more appropriately, story “selling.”

The San Diego Tourism Authority recently hosted a some social media gurus for a workshop on trends to leverage to get your business and brand the most exposure. The following 5 trends and tips topped their lists.

1) The WHY behind the WHAT

Go beyond storytelling and start “story selling.” That’s the key to increasing consumer awareness of and interest in your brand.
Story selling more actively engages them in what you have to offer because it appeals to their emotional needs—their desire to relax in that peaceful place, sip that craft cocktail or take advantage of that once-in-a-lifetime experience. That’s how you effectively motivate consumers to go to your hotel, eat in your restaurant, or explore your attraction. You make them want it, whether or not they are actively seeking it out. Immerse your audience in the “where” with your social media images, but make sure that your images show them the “why.”

2) Instagram: Forge a consistent brand presence

Instagram Stories stand out as the most economical platform remaining in advertising. Plus, they offer the “Swipe Up” feature, which allows you to share a link and drive the consumer exactly where you want them to go next.

Perhaps you’ve found yourself watching story after IG story, not realizing how much time has passed. Capitalize on that behavior — with a consistent style.

It’s not as difficult as you might think. You need no more than seven slides at a time. Just keep these simple tips in mind as you capture and share Stories:

  • Organization is key. Create a storyboard and timeline in advance. Plan exactly what you are going to post and the sequence or flow — with photos, hashtags, and phrases at the ready.
  • Know your brand templates down to the font, color palette, and backgrounds, and integrate them as you plan your content days, weeks, or even months ahead. The moment consumers glimpse your images, they should immediately recognize your brand.
  • Post a new Story only after the current one completes — and avoid sending followers from a serene beach to a noisy rollercoaster. Try to tell and share seamless Stories.
  • Craft ads that feel like Stories. Even when you are promoting a product or experience, you can keep the content entertaining and authentic so that the consumer won’t feel that you are “selling” and will be more open to your message. Make the message so appealing that they just have to learn more.

3) TikTok: Know your audience

If your key demographic is 16- to 24-year-olds, this is the medium for you.

This is not the kind of platform where your CEO will deliver a simple message about your brand. Posts require a sense of humor and a creative tack.

What’s recommended in this space? Use an influencer to help sell your brand, and a creative team to help show the fun side of your business. You won’t engage here with your audience, but it will give you brand recognition. Proceed with caution for now; the analytics provided aren’t yet 100% intuitive for determining ROI.

4) YouTube: The return of a classic

A resurgence in YouTube? That’s right.

Create a video — but have a hook to grab the audience right away. Skip the intro music and opening credits. Grab their attention from the first instant.

Teach and tell. Make viewers care about you and the information only you can provide. And don’t focus on the subscribers; focus on views. The more views you have, the more exposure. When the video is over, there’s no need to sign off, or roll credits. Simply lead to the next video and keep the consumer on the platform and your channel. The more times your video leads to another video, the more exposure you get. YouTube’s goal is to keep the viewer on their platform, so don’t even bother saying “visit, comment or subscribe.” Your target users — if they’re engaged in what you have to offer — are smart enough to find you.

P.S. YouTube, like IG, offers Stories. The main difference: YouTube Stories stay for seven days — not just 24 hours. Talk about the power of longevity. Use this feature to drive home what you are about. Create that sense of engagement that will have the consumer wanting to see what else you have to offer.

5) Mindshare: The power of listening

Mindshare media is gaining significant traction, too. People can engage in podcasts while driving, exercising, or folding laundry. The average listener will be on a podcast for 26 minutes. What other platform gives you that level of extended exposure? Google is starting to show podcasts in search results.

Start a show based on your area of expertise: whether that’s wine pairings, the best restaurants in the area, or how to tell when the high tides are coming in. The visitor to your city will want as much knowledge as they can get, so be the one giving it to them. Not to mention the platform is relatively inexpensive to use and an easy way to gain a great ROI.

Look at your next social media campaign: Have you hit all of these trends? Are you organizing content ahead of time? Are you engaging the consumer in a way that taps into their wants? Go outside of your comfort zone and try a different platform rather than relying on what you’ve used in the past. The only thing constant is change, so take this opportunity to see how these trends can work best for you. Remember to not just story tell, story SELL.

Public Relations Is a Personas Business

By Julie Wright —President
Twitter: @juliewright


It’s so easy today to get glued to our data, dashboards and digital interfaces as we develop and manage content marketing and other web-based communications strategies. But it’s important to remember that public relations is still a people business—or more accurately, public relations is a personas business.

As you monitor email click-through rates, social media engagement and website referral traffic, remember that behind every data point is a real person.  And to do your job for your client or company, you need to deeply understand your audience and what makes them tick as well as click.

So how can you develop and use personas to guide your communications?

1. Personas Start with Customer Data

Dive into the data you already have. Study your customer database and interview your sales and customer service team to isolate the demographic and psychographic profiles of your customers. Look at gender, age, job title, family status, education, values, hobbies and interests.

Let’s, for the sake of argument, say that there are three primary buckets into which you can generally separate your organization’s customers.

One category might be described as female public relations agency owners who live and work in California, have four or more years of university education, have teenage or college-age children, are interested in social causes, struggle to balance their demanding work schedule with family and personal needs, desire a more active and healthy lifestyle and love Champagne and elephants. (This would be me.) You might name this persona “Julie.”

You would do the same for the other two customer categories and explore their basic demographic similarities as well as their shared goals and challenges, values and fears. Let’s say the next persona is freelancers who work from home while looking after toddlers and school-age kids. We’ll dub this persona “Mark.” The third is professional women who are now empty-nesters who we’ll refer to as “Lisa.”

Once you’ve painted a data-driven picture of these three fictitious personas, you need to think about how you would speak to each of them so that they are attracted to your content and ultimately your product or solution.

The first rule of good communications has always been to know thy audience. Knowing them through this analysis of your existing customer data will help ensure that your content marketing pieces will better resonate with people like them.

2. What Problems Do You Solve for Your Personas?

How does what you do or provide in the marketplace speak to each persona’s fears and values or help them achieve their goals or overcome their challenges?

We know that “Julie” is juggling work-life challenges and has a goal of a more active lifestyle.

What kind of content might resonate to engage her?

How about humorous memes taking aim at the illusion that work-life balance is even attainable for a woman business owner? Or a more inspirational message to help her keep her mojo?

Or perhaps you’d develop longer pieces of content with advice and exercises to improve mindfulness, time management or ideas to help her take five throughout the day?

It’s not the content marketer’s job to convince each persona of what they need. It’s their job to figure out what the persona’s needs are and then speak to them with their content and present their product or solution as the ultimate solution.

3. Validate Your Internal Research with Outside Sources

From social listening on platforms like Twitter, to in-house customer interviews and third-party market research surveys and focus groups, you should invest additional budget and energy into validating your own internal research and hunches while expanding your understanding of each persona.

A custom-designed professional telephone and online survey of your persona audiences may seem a considerable expense, but it’s really a direct investment in ensuring you have nailed your personas so you can hit your KPIs and generate ROI sooner.

If budget is tight, work with your research partner who can create shorter questionnaires that will be more economical and still give you insights that your own digital data lacks. Insights you might gain from surveys are the purchase decision criteria (i.e. innovation, safety, convenience, prestige, speed?) that your personas weight before they buy. Or you can use an omnibus survey and tack on questions that help you understand what the size and distribution of your personas are in your market territory.

You could also design your own Survey Monkey survey using its recommended questions and structures.

For qualitative insights, match a handful of your customers with your personas and then conduct interviews to explore and understand their customer journey and motivations (goals, challenges, fears, and values). These one-on-one interviews might validate or challenge your assumptions and help you uncover new high-octane insights to improve your messaging and targeting. You could also approach this exercise as a focus group.

Once you’ve researched, developed and validated a clear picture of your target personas, for a little more inspiration, get creative with more descriptive names and a composite image for each. Julie, Mark and Lisa should become your team’s besties. Julie becomes “Julie the Juggler.”

You can also make her and your other personas more real and relatable with a composite.

Your research will also help you become more aware of seasonal considerations that also impact your personas’ needs and interests. Julie’s January juggling act, for instance, might include Champagne, New Year’s Resolutions for getting her fitness plan back on track and plans for attending and earning media coverage for a client’s product launch at the Consumer Electronics Show.

With research, you will get these deeper insights into your personas’ worlds so your content can be laser focused to attract their interest and drive action.

4. Go Where Your Personas Are

Imagine Julie’s customer journey starting with a discovery phase. How might you position your content to be discovered on the web, via social media, in news reports, at a conference, in digital ads or via skywriting? You get the point. Understanding Julie’s persona allows you to match her media behaviors with your message placement.

What terms or hashtags might Julie be searching? Make sure that your web content is optimized for those search terms and your social media posts for those hashtags. Focus on her interests and search behaviors versus your product’s features and benefits. You might look at your Instagram data to see which hashtags have driven the most views to your content. Instagram business profiles provide more granular data from which you can derive such new insights.

If you don’t know what social platforms Julie uses, check your Google Analytics data to see which refer the most traffic to your website. You might find that Pinterest is providing as much traffic as Facebook. In that case, make sure you’re creating pinnable content on your site so that it continues to drive Julie from Pinterest to your site. Your branded work-life memes for social media need to be given a home on your website (most likely your blog), in order to have backlinks once they’re shared to Pinterest. That way, they’ll drive web traffic for you as well as social media engagement.

With all of your content, your purpose is to attract, engage, differentiate and drive people to take an action. The ultimate action is purchase, of course, but that’s a big ask. So, create multiple smaller opportunities for your persona to get comfortable with you and your brand before you expect a purchase commitment. Examples of small decisions for Julie, Mark and Lisa might include signing up for an email offer, responding to a contest or incentive, registering to download information or attending a webinar.

Other data sources can give you insights into your personas too so you can track their customer journeys. Google Analytics can show you all referral traffic sources and data to help you understand which websites are driving the most visits to your site and the behaviors people are taking once they land on your site.  Google Analytics can also unlock additional demographic information including interests.

This can provide additional clues to Julie’s, Mark’s and Lisa’s interests and needs but also show where gaps may be opening up in their website experience. Where in the journey are you losing them and what can you do about it?

Your paid digital and social media ads can also be driving Julie and her persona pals to your website. How does the paid traffic compare to the referral traffic coming from media hits, influencer mentions and social media? Often the former can produce more traffic but of lower quality, whereas well-targeted press hits, influencer campaigns and social media campaigns can produce a smaller proportion of overall website visits but with a longer duration of visit, more pages visited and a higher conversion rate.

And isn’t that what you want from your personas?

CONCLUSION: Public Relations is Really Persona Relations

The digital universe has created so many opportunities to serve our messages to more people without ever leaving our desks.

That’s a blessing from a convenience and scale standpoint but also a curse if you spend copious hours developing off-base content that isn’t seen by your ideal customers or doesn’t speak to their needs.

Public relations has always been considered a people business. And that’s what PR brings to the content marketing equation: an emphasis on building relationships over time and not simply a transactional view of each interaction. So, don’t lose sight of the real people behind each click, and think of every interaction that a person—or persona—has with your content as another step in a long-term, ongoing and mutually beneficial relationship.

 

Julie Wright moderates IABC Los Angeles talk on Facebook’s changes

(W)right On Communications President and Founder Julie Wright headlined the International Association of Business Communicators – Los Angeles chapter’s first event of 2018.  The venue was TOMGEORGE Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles and the topic was Facebook’s changes.

“We discussed the most recent changes to Facebook’s news feed algorithm and what that means to a brand’s communication strategy,” Julie explained. “It was a perfect mix of perspectives including people who oversee communications departments for large organizations, consultants, agency folks and business owners.” Facebook changes IABC Los Angeles event

You can find IABC LA’s blog post recapping the event here: Creating Engaging Content with Facebook’s Newest Update

“I came into the discussion very familiar with the issue, but left it with even more insights and fresh perspectives. IABC always attracts such high-caliber communicators. And, not to mention, the food was outstanding.”

What Do Facebook’s Changes Mean for Businesses in 2018

Facebook changes featured image

 

By Julie Wright —President
Twitter: @juliewright


If you’re like most communicators, you engaged in some kind of 2018 planning and goal setting. And you probably worked with your social media team on measurable objectives for each platform, including Facebook, but then, on January 11, Facebook’s changes came down with a massive thud.

The social network announced it was changing the game. And, bam! You realized you needed to change your game too.

 “I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

Not that organic reach for brands on Facebook hadn’t already fallen by half over the past three to four years. Smart and strategic communicators could still find ways to continue to drive engagement and ensure that, despite falling reach and lower and lower visibility in news feeds, their content was attracting engagement and staying on the good side of Facebook’s algorithm.

But that could be changing. Here we are entering 2018 with Facebook announcing that the paltry 2 to 6% reach averaged by brands (or Publishers, as Facebook calls them) is too high and degrading the news feed experience for real people. Going forward, Zuckerberg said, brand content will be further suppressed in news feeds while posts from friends and family will be given more visibility.

Clearly, the message is that Facebook is a pay to play platform for brands not unlike traditional media outlets.

So, where do Facebook’s changes leave organic content for brands?

DOWNLOAD: 8 Smart Ways Your Brand Can Adapt to Facebook’s Changes in 2018.

Unless it’s exceptionally engaging (think animals, kids, heroes and other phenoms, kickboxing octogenarians, etc.), your content may not be seen by sufficient numbers to justify the effort it took to create that content. Worse, if your content isn’t regularly engaging people, you’ll be digging yourself a deeper hole. It’s essential in 2018 to fully commit to quality over quantity in your Facebook strategy, if you haven’t already. 

Facebook Live videos are expected to remain a powerful engagement tool. Currently, when you launch a Facebook Live video stream, Facebook alerts your followers. So, this is definitely one tactic to embrace to raise your page’s visibility and share engaging content with more followers.

If you’re a manufacturer or a B2B company, it’s going to require a lot of creativity to keep your content engaging.

Nonprofits have a better shot because typically causes are more engaging. Expect to see more cause marketing partnerships between brands and nonprofits on social media in 2018.

If you’re a resort that can produce and share incredible experiences and travel ideas for your guests, you might break through by tapping into everyone’s desire for a great get away. But how many businesses have the time and resources to consistently pull together and pull off this kind of show stopping or heart rendering content?

The first rule of good communication has always been to know your audience. This will be truer than ever in 2018. What has resonated with your audience in the past? What are they struggling with? Excited by? Interested in? Mine your Facebook data and customer research for content ideas that you know will connect with your followers.

That said, all brands have promotional messages that they must distribute to show ROI on their social media investment, but just as with traditional media outlets, they’ll need to pay Facebook to deliver those messages to followers. That is the clearest impact of Facebook’s changes.

Facebook is completing its evolution from a social sharing platform to a paid advertising platform for brands and businesses. Plan to adjust your strategies in 2018 to succeed under this new reality. Tweet: Facebook is completing its evolution from a social sharing platform to a paid advertising platform for brands and businesses. Plan to adjust your strategies in 2018 to succeed under this new reality. https://ctt.ec/mwH93+

Looking back over the past six months at some of our client partners’ pages, we’ve seen a few trends worth noting. Our results will be different than yours, depending on your brand page or the variety of brand pages you manage. But this is an exercise every Facebook admin should do to get a clear handle on how their content has been performing in order to better leverage what works. Here are our findings and recommendations:

REACH

  • Our post with the greatest reach in 2017 featured a testimonial video message from a famous celebrity (i.e. an influencer). Prioritize influencer engagement on Facebook in 2018 to maintain or extend reach.
  • Other top posts by reach in 2017 were those that we tagged with other brands or real people. Connect your content to real people whether they’re employees, customers, donors, celebrities or community leaders. This will be a key strategy to ensure that your content is meaningful. It must feature real people and brand relationships and not simply be a brand billboard.
  • About half of all organic impressions were earned virally by people sharing our content. Put another way, for every 2 people that saw unpromoted content, a third person saw it on their friend’s page. In 2018, brands need  to post Facebook content that starts conversations and is worthy of sharing. Be careful not to ask for shares or comments! Facebook’s algorithm will punish posts that overtly ask “share this.”

COMMENTS

  • The posts with the greatest volume of comments were related to contests and sweepstakes. These were also boosted. Facebook’s algorithm didn’t punish our sweepstakes content but be careful. If you create contests on Facebook in 2018, be sure you comply with all rules and best practices. Create some value in the contest for true engagement (don’t ask followers to tag a friend or for one-word responses). This can be a fun way to engage with your followers and drive some of that meaningful interaction Mark Zuckerberg wants to see, if done right.
  • Other posts with a high volume of comments tended to appeal to followers’ nostalgia and encouraged them to share memories or personal details or stories. Drive conversations with your followers in 2018. Look for opportunities to start conversations. But don’t start a conversation at 5 p.m. and let comments go without a response until the next morning. The Facebook algorithm pays attention to how quickly your respond and rewards fast responses and exchanges in the comments.

PAID PROMOTION

  • Paid promotion generated quadruple the number of organic video views. If you’re going to put the time into creating videos for Facebook in 2018, plan to support them with paid promotion.
  • Paid promotion drove 40 percent more impressions than organic impressions. Continue to use boosting on Facebook in 2018 to add momentum to content that is already performing well. If you have an important message that you want your followers to get but that you don’t expect they’ll want to interact with, consider an advertisement instead. Dry and purely informational posts or announcements by brands will hurt their Facebook performance. Save those for advertisements or email campaigns.

What was your experience in 2017? And how are you preparing for Facebook’s changes in 2018? Share with us at @wrightoncomm or tag us with #WOCPR on Twitter. In addition to the ideas shared above, we’ve compiled a more detailed set of recommendations in our white paper on Facebook’s changes.

DOWNLOAD: 8 Smart Ways Your Brand Can Adapt to Facebook’s Changes in 2018.

This is a helpful tool for sharing with your team to get everyone on the same page and thinking creatively about your social media program in 2018.

Influencing the C-Suite: 3 Tips for B2B Influencer Marketing

By Aisha Belagam

Twitter: @AishaBelaPR


Fashion bloggers jet setting to tropical destinations wearing the trendiest floral prints. Genetically blessed Instagram influencers promoting weight loss pills after an early morning session at Equinox. From selfies to flat-lays, these are the types of personalities and formats that typically come to mind when you hear the term ‘influencer’. But these personalities won’t do much for your B2B marketing strategy.

American Idol business jennifer lopez american idol american idol xiii GIFAs with B2C, B2B influencer marketing is about connecting with influential people in your community and leveraging them to build trust and credibility, driving your message. In this digital age, where social media is becoming a regular part of everyone’s lives, influencer marketing is becoming a vital part of the communications strategy. And yes, you can and should use it for B2B companies. The C-Suite is engaged on social media and 84% of CEOs and VPs say they use social media to help make purchasing decisions. Here are three tips to consider when developing your B2B influencer marketing strategy:

1. Where are they and who do they look to?

Who and what influences your target audience? Don’t get deflected by focusing on who has the most followers. A million followers do not necessarily equate to a huge influence on your target audience. This isn’t a popularity contest. Plus, upcoming thought leaders are more likely to have the capacity to pay attention to your brand. Focus on influencers who receive a large amount of engagement on topics relevant to your vertical. These are the thought leaders you’re looking for. The analysts, industry experts, authors, speakers, and media folk who are actively involved in industry discussions, leading the way with their expert insight and educated opinions. You’ll find most of them on LinkedIn and Twitter.

       2. Look within

Who understands your brand better than your team? No one. That’s why you should leverage the CEO, employees, and clients as part of your strategy.

Employee advocacy is a powerful thing. Encourage your employees to promote your brand, whether it’s through social posts and blogs, at speaking opportunities, or by getting involved at industry events. Empower those with the most knowledge, the ones who work on your brand daily, to become the thought leaders opining and engaging, increasing your brand’s visibility.

C-level executives are an integral way for B2B brands to make a personal connection. They are the thought leaders bringing the brand to life. Using C-level executives is a key way to build relationships with analysts and the media, increasing coverage and establishing credibility.

Share results. Success stories from your customers can be packaged into consumable case studies, infographics, and testimonials. It’s great to have your team promoting your brand, but there is an obvious bias. Your customers, on the other hand, don’t have the same stake in your company and their experiences add a layer of authenticity.

      3.  Don’t just promote your own agenda

Build a real relationship with your influencers so they are engaged before you need them. It’s a two-way street. Think about how you can help them while promoting your brand. Reference them as experts, quote them in your blog posts, give them access to your products or services, engage with their social content, and stay top of mind. When the time comes, they will be more familiar with you and more likely to go the extra mile to help your brand.Empire FOX music love happy best GIF

Influencers can help a B2B brand through numerous channels. Think about your goals and identify what your brand needs. Influencers can do everything from collaborating on social content to hosting a webinar, from being an ambassador at your tradeshow to quoting you in their latest interview.

As interest in traditional forms of advertising plummets, influencer marketing is becoming a more important part of the integrated strategy. Collaborating with influencers in the ways outlined above can help your brand become more influential in itself.

Want to learn how your brand can leverage influencer marketing? Drop us a line. With proven influencer marketing results with national brands in both the B2B and B2C sector, we can work with you to develop and implement an integrated strategy that brings your brand targeted, measurable results.