I’ve never been a fan of B2B influencer lists. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been on one for four years. But even then, I always felt sleazy when sharing these B2B influencer lists. I’ve never been good at promoting myself, I guess. Of course, if there was a Forbes Top 50 Under 50, that might be a list I’d be proud to be a part of, but sadly, that list doesn’t exist yet.
B2B Influencer Lists Irritate Me
Ok, so back to the B2B influencer lists. I see these all the time in my feed, and they are usually created and shared in one of two ways.
One, it’s usually a company within a specific sector like 5G or Blockchain. They create a list, share it, and tag the influencers. I understand why they would do this. This is what I would call organic influencer marketing. It’s an entry-level approach to getting on the radar of specific audiences.
Even if there is no math behind it, and assuming they are being authentic, this is a good practice.
But it’s really about the context of the list and how it’s communicated externally.
In other words, doing something like this is a waste of time. Even if you tag the influencers in the content, they’ll be a select few that click on it. But it’ll go mostly ignored, and it makes you look desperate. Never use “check this out” in post copy. And anything over 20 or 25 is way too much.
Hey, check out our list of the top 2633 #5G influencers: <Link>
Instead, I would go about it like this:
The importance of #5G in our economy can’t be articulated any better than @influencer
We’ve highlighted other industry experts and their top predictions for #5G here <link>
It’s not self-serving, it’s contextual, and there’s a level of value and intrigue for people following 5G to click on it.
The second way I see these lists in my feed is by SaaS providers of influencer marketing software.
What’s good about these B2B influencer lists is that some math is used to stack rank these influencers. I talked about a few influencer marketing platforms in a previous episode.
I have just a few issues – and they’re not issues – but more recommendations.
I’ve done a lot of work in this space and constantly see people who should not be on the list.
I am not sure what the entire methodology is for building these lists, but there must be some level of human analysis and rigor put into it. You can’t just make a list, export a report, and call it a day. Software today is just not there yet.
Also – while these lists are great starting points, rarely do I see the data contextualized in a way that provides value. Quotes from the influencers are not context.
I would recommend that time be spent analyzing the influencer conversation. Yeah, it takes a lot of time to do this, but the content is much more valuable with context and helpful information.
I have published similar lists, but I approach them much differently. I will analyze either a market or an audience and provide context on the media, the conversation, the digital transformation audience, and the influencers.
Let’s take a look.
In this context, I am looking at the digital transformation market.
Quadrant one represents the top media publications writing about digital transformation audiences from a volume and engagement perspective.
Quadrant two represents the top journalist writing an article on the digital transformation research. This graph visualizes both volume and engagement within the same chart.
Quadrant three is a simple trend graph showing volume over time, and quadrant four lists the top content shared during this time frame.
Here is a list of digital transformation influencers. I would never say these are the “top” influencers because everyone defines an influencer differently. I can confidently say that they are very influential on the topic based on how often they talk about digital transformation, the engagement they receive when they talk about it, their audience size, and how often other influential pundits reference them.
More importantly, these are the most important topics to this group of influencers. This data helps paint a picture of the relevant topics and trends to the influencers.
This should be your editorial calendar.