As mentioned in our previous blog post, using influencers in B2B campaigns offers a variety of benefits, from maximising advertising ROI to increasing the reach of your brand’s content. But what should you do once you’ve decided to use them? Check out our step-by-step guide.
1. Decide your goals
What do you want to get out of your influencers? Think about both qualitative and quantitative goals. Having a broad aspiration like ‘build strong relationships with key industry influencers’ is all well and good, but it’s important to be able to track your progress. So outline measurable goals and give yourself an idea of how long it might take to achieve each one. These will of course vary depending on the campaign. One good place to start would be to consider how many influencers you want to build relationships with. We recommend 20 as a guide. You could also think about the number of times you’d like to engage with your influencers at events, on social media or on the phone in a set period.
2. Choose what to focus on
Narrow down which verticals you’d like to target. It’s best to aim for strong influencer engagement in one or two areas rather than weak influencer engagement across four or five areas. Don’t worry if there seems to be a smaller pool of influencers with a smaller social following for more niche influencer networks. It’s not always about size of audience, it’s about quality of engagement.
3. Conduct an influencer audit
Use hashtags and the search bar to help you identify influencers in your initial search on Twitter and LinkedIn. Digital tools such as TrendKite, Buzzsumo and influence.co can also help, sorting influencers by category and follower count. Don’t stop there though – check the profiles of social influencers who are engaging with or followed by the individuals you’ve found. They might be even better suited towards your campaign than those found in your initial search.
For each of your potential influencers, examine the frequency of their tweets and LinkedIn posts, the number of followers they have and whether they have high engagement rates to decide whether they have a strong enough network for your brand to leverage. It’s also worth noting if they attend/speak at or chair industry events and use other channels through which you could engage with them, such as a blog or podcast series.
Don’t forget to keep geography in mind too. If you are only aiming to build relationships with influencers in EMEA for example, don’t pick out influencers based outside of that region unless they have a particularly large international following.
4. Track influencer’s social posts and engage
There are plenty of tools available to help you make the most of influencers. We recommend social listening tool Pulsar in particular, which provides easy tracking of social posts, gain insight and optimise your engagement. Scanning through these tweets on a regular basis enables you to spot ways to build a relationship. Is your influencer going to an industry event that you will be attending? Will your influencer be speaking at a conference on an area you specialise in? Is your influencer looking for interviewees or case studies for their blog? Engage with their social posts and make your responses stand out from the crowd, just as you’d like them to with your social feeds!
5. Be proactive
Your engagement with influencers shouldn’t just be reactive. Proactively invite them to your events, take them for lunch and be willing to discuss paid campaigns. Taking this stance at the start of the process can boost passive engagement further down the line.
Building relationships with B2B influencers is a continuous process. Don’t worry if you don’t see results immediately. Done right, you could forge invaluable relationships and generate a long-standing network of brand champions organically talking about your company positively online and in person.