More and more, B2B marketers, such as those in health and healthcare IT, are utilizing influencers as a key component of their overall marketing strategies. The reason for this is that influencers can elevate a company’s message with their own audience, and enhance social media activities.
Also, studies have shown that in B2B, buyers are so self-directed in the sales process that they trust experts more than brands.
In B2B marketing, content co-creation helps drive customer acquisition and ultimately, sales. Influencers can be used when developing content such as blog posts, white papers and byline columns that appear in industry trade publications. Influencers can also help in achieving greater reach of your content as well as improving content quality and in some cases, serve as catalysts in generating more leads and buyers.
There is no denying that influencers can add significant value to a B2B marketing strategy. According to the 2014 Content Preferences Survey, 72 percent of respondents looked to industry peers while researching relevant content for B2B.
When building an effective influencer marketing program, consider the following:
1. Who is your target audience/buyer?
Identifying buyer personas will help in selecting the right influencers to reach your target audience.
2. Identify influencers that can best reach/engage your target buyer.
This includes bloggers, publications/reporters and industry experts followed by your target buyers.
3. Build your credibility on social channels.
Make sure both your company and social profiles are updated regularly. Also, regularly share original content as well as that of your influencers via social channels and on your website.
4. Create informative, insightful content
Co-create content that is more thought leadership focused than brand promotional. Use this content to build relationships with influencers even before you need their assistance.
5. Consistency is key.
Engaging with your target buyers sporadically won’t cut it. Sharing content every day across media channels will help you begin building influencer relationships. Get to know them, build and secure their trust, then plan initiatives that enable you to work together.
Of course, it is also important to measure the results of your activities. Keep track of those relationships you are building and how they can translate into tangible results (e.g. visits, mentions, introductions, leads) for your business.