B2B Influencer Marketing to Jump-Start Your Growth
One way to amplify your message is to amplify your audience. Of course, growing your audience in an organic and sustainable way can be a tall order. But you can jump-start that growth process by working with influencers who have their own audiences already. Here’s an introduction to B2B influencer marketing.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
In a nutshell, influencer marketing is the practice of working with people who have influence over members of your target audience. The goal is to create content and partnerships that attract these key influencers and give them the opportunity to introduce you to their audience. These opportunities can be paid or free and can take on many forms — guest posts and podcast interviews, product giveaways and reviews, etc. The practice is wide spread in B2C, but B2B influencer marketing if also very effective.
Who Has Influence?
George Clooney. Matthew McConaughey. Most supermodels. That’s why you see them pitching everything from coffee makers to cars. But they probably don’t have influence in your market. Or, more accurately, they don’t have credibility in your market.
Also, their incredibly broad reach means they probably are beyond your budget, and can’t deliver value because most of their audience does not overlap with your audience.
So, for most B2B marketers, household names need not apply. The celebrities whose fees for social media and blog posting are five and six figures aren’t a good fit. (Though there are exceptions. Ashton Kutcher has real cred as a tech investor, so if that’s your world …)
Instead, look at the people who are celebrities in much smaller worlds, and who are trusted by their niche audiences within those worlds. If your target matches or overlaps theirs and your offerings are not competitive with theirs, you may have an opportunity to get your name in front of their audience.
How Do I Get an Influencer’s Attention?
If you approach an influencer with a pitch about wanting to get your name in front of their audience, they're either not going to be interested, or they’re going to be very interested because they will charge you for the privilege of addressing their audience.
That’s fine, and in the end, no matter how creative your pitch, you may be looking at a pay-to-play situation. An audience is a valuable thing, and most influencers know this.
Whatever your pitch, it’s most important for you to remember that influencers did not get their audience by shilling; they got it by providing value to their audience. You have to do the same if you want to be taken seriously.
Here are a few ways to get on their radar:
Connect with them. Remember these folks aren’t “real” celebrities. They still are likely to be accessible more easily than this week’s pop star. Offering feedback is a great way to get a conversation going. Be constructive and make suggestions for future content rather than pointing out gaffes and errors. (Though pointing out a typo or similar small issue or tech problem is nearly always welcome.)
2. Cover Their Content
Round up a number of quotes, data points or other content on a particular topic and create a post out of it on your own platform. Let the influencers involved know you’ve held them up as experts, and you may be able to start a dialog that way. This works best if the influencer you're reaching out to is the “star” of your post, or at least not being quoted alongside direct competitors. (Though being quoted alongside superstars can be very attractive to influencers who are on the rise.)
If you’ve featured them in a blog post, reach out directly. If it’s a social media post, tag them.
3. Ask for an Interview
Once you’re able to open a dialog with the influencers who you can help and who can help you, ask for an interview and arrange a topic that will allow you to both shine and provide value to both audiences. Most influencer’s will share the resulting content, creating one larger audience.
It can be difficult to quantify the value of a single influencer engagement — particularly for smaller audiences where the difference between one response and five is enormous on — but influencer marketing does work when it’s a regular part of your marketing toolkit and when you’re intelligent about the influencers you seek out.
Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured?
A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms encourage audience engagement through solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either.
His work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components, and he has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events. His writing appears in various online and print publications.
Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")