Influencers are like the elusive cool kids from high school. Brands seek them out to share content in social channels in much the same way that teenagers clamor to become friends with the popular kids.
Nowhere was the influencer trend more evident than in the 2017 Content Marketing World B2B sessions.
Brands have content and rather than solely using their own Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., accounts to get the word out, they want people who are influential in their industry to share the brand’s content on the influencer’s social channels.
How a Brand Harnesses Influencers
So how does a business harness influencers to help evangelize its brand? Bernie Borges from Vengreso cited influencer marketing as the first of his five most influential topics in B2B marketing. And his advice seems solid and practical.
Influencer marketing should be based on genuine relationships, so if you want an influencer to enter the realm of your business, you need to go where the influencer is. Follow him/her on social channels, engage by commenting, develop that relationship.
In this way, the influencer and your business become partners. It’s this partner mindset that makes the influencer want to share your brand’s content.
But also be aware that influencers are looking for content that’s served up to them on a regular basis, but it must be content that’s relevant to them and their interests.
Borges also notes that each influencer is unique, so your brand should enable them to be themselves. If you have a branded online community, make it easy for members to engage with one another. The brand’s job is to stay out the way and let members communicate with one another. Doing so empowers influencers to ideate and create original content.
A Practical Example of B2B Influencer Marketing
MSP-C is proposing a major influencer strategy to an existing client in 2018. The client, which is a supply chain partner, began with branded content in 2017 and is now looking to produce more industry-focused/brand-agnostic content that appeals to influencers.
We first developed a list of influencers in the supply chain industry. That list includes people who blog, tweet and post to LinkedIn about healthcare supply chain topics. The editor who works on the project will soon begin engaging with these influencers on social channels to get a sense for the types of content they each share on their channels.
Once we have content written that’s relevant to a given influencer, the editor will share it on social media and engage with the appropriate influencer who will share it with his/her followers.
The goal is to convert the influencer into a champion of the supply chain partner’s brand.
Upon identifying well-known individuals in your industry who share your business perspectives, the next step in the process is developing relationships with them. “Smart” is the new “cool” and nurturing relationships with knowledgeable people in your line of business is a lot more fun than saddling up to the “cool” table at lunch. It’ll also likely be far more rewarding in the long run.
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