Ken Braun is the Founder of Lounge Lizard Worldwide Inc., a Top 10 Internet Marketing Agency.
So you’ve grown your LinkedIn followers and have your marketing team putting out weekly social media posts. But are there more effective ways to reach the right decision-makers?
You bet there are.
Influencer marketing has taken social media platforms by storm and continues to grow at unprecedented rates. When most people think of social media influencers, they probably think of teenagers on TikTok or beauty experts on Instagram. But there is a growing segment in the influencer marketing space that focuses on C-suite leadership providing B2B thought initiatives through their own social media outlets or those of connected insiders.
Why You Should Consider B2B Influencer Marketing
Over the last few years, consumers of all types of products and services have become more interested in ratings and personal reviews. We often hear that a negative review on Google or Yelp can have long-lasting negative consequences for a B2C business. Today, companies from Airbnb to Zillow seek reviews on every customer encounter with the results prominently displayed on their websites.
This translates to the B2B environment as well. People are often more persuaded by their peers’ opinions than by elaborate marketing campaigns. Reaching out to senior leaders with the final say in purchases can help establish you as a major voice in your industry and pay terrific dividends in producing leads and closing sales.
How B2B Influencer Marketing Works
In B2B influencer marketing from the senior leadership level, the goal is to post interesting and provocative information on social media platforms to provide a unique and positive experience for the audience. By promoting your viewpoint on topics you have expertise in through a thought leadership voice on social media, not only are you associating know-how with your brand, but you can also reach a targeted and highly engaged audience while telling a powerful and persuasive story.
Building Your Industry Leadership Position
Let’s face it: Your potential audience is saturated with massive amounts of digital marketing and online advertising. So how do you stand out in our flooded social media environment?
Up to now, you may have posted a few blogs on LinkedIn or Medium, added followers to your social media accounts or sent out a monthly newsletter that’s generated by your marketing team. However, being a successful B2B influencer takes some initial thought, followed by an organized plan.
When our agency works with senior leaders to design and implement comprehensive social media campaigns, here are the steps we follow:
1. Define your goals.
Be clear about what you want to accomplish and be honest about your strengths. If you are a great writer, then plan your thought leadership activities to highlight your writing abilities. If you are better with a live audience, then consider initiating a podcast or series of webinars.
Once you have clarity, design your goals to accentuate the use of the corresponding platforms. You may even want to consider joining an influencer marketing agency that helps you market yourself and provides support in positioning your content.
2. Meet your audience.
Finding your audience means isolating the social media platforms that draw potential customers. Ask your peers, colleagues and even current customers where they find the most value and engagement. With so many options, you might be surprised at where people spend their time.
3. Share your thoughts and expertise.
Developing content can seem daunting, but remember that you’re the expert. You want to be sure to keep things relevant and cover the latest trends, topics and changes in your industry. And don’t be afraid to get your work peer-reviewed before you publish. It’s probably much better than you think and hearing that will give you a boost of confidence.
Focus more on relaying valuable, actionable insights and less on trying to sell people on your product. Initially, influencing is more of a “top of funnel” sales or marketing activity where you can guide your audience toward more in-depth information along the way.
Remember that each piece of content can be leveraged to cover several social platforms. For example, your YouTube video can be transcribed and posted as print material on LinkedIn, Facebook and Medium. It can also be split into multiple tweets for Twitter. And then it can be included in a drip-email campaign to engaged followers.
It won’t take long to discover where you are getting the maximum exposure, and then you can adapt your efforts accordingly.
4. Engage with people.
It’s important in any type of influencer marketing that you engage with your audience. You want your followers to see you as a trusted friend, and they’ll probably make comments and ask questions following a post. It’s critical that you take the time to give them thoughtful, meaningful answers, which will serve to further build trust.
5. Keep an eye on the metrics.
Be sure to stay current on how your social media posts are received and what works well or lands flat. Then you can tailor your future content to exploit the better-received information.
Overall Benefits of Building a B2B Influencer Presence
A recent study found that a staggering 90% of respondents feel that influencer marketing is an effective tool with 80% increasing their content output over the last two years. In fact, the industry has grown from over $1 billion in 2016 to over $13 billion projected for 2021.
As the brand ambassador for your product, you are uniquely suited to engage potential customers. And as a recognized expert in your industry, you could persuade those high-level decision-makers through focused engagement and personal connection. When it comes to influencing potential customers, there’s no one better than someone in senior leadership.
• As a C-Suite leader, establishing yourself as a major voice in your industry can get you in front of decision-makers and stakeholders where final decisions are made.
• By promoting your product or service as an influencer, you can reach a targeted and highly engaged audience.
• There is a growing segment in the influencer marketing space that focuses on senior leadership providing thought initiatives through personal connections.