In this episode, I talk about the importance of building an influencer program for your business.
FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW
Today I am going to talk about influencer business programs specifically for consumer, business and technology companies. I’ve been building B2B programs for almost 15 years, but I’ve also managed and launched consumer influencer programs back in the day and did some healthcare as well.
The media loves to write about influencer programs that are activated in new platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat. I completely understand. It’s the next thing period the bright and shiny object. It’s not the type of influencer program that you might see deployed for an enterprise software company.
In any case, it’s important to understand how to build influencer programs that scale and drive business value. The reason is that it’s a way to build trust and 3rd party validation. And it’s also a way to reach audiences that most brands can’t reach on their own.
One of the first things that need to get done is to define your B2B program–document those KPIs, determine how you are going to work and collaborate with internal teams across the organization. You also have to think about how you’re going to scale your program globally and how it is integrated across different markets and platforms.
Defining your methodology should also be prioritized. This means that you must determine how you will measure influence and identify the influencers that you want to collaborate with. It will be critical that you document the actual work and tasks that you want them to do as a part of your influencer program.
I have seen situations where influencer programs were launched overnight, and marketers are scratching their heard wondering why the program isn’t driving the results they are expecting. Don’t fall into this trap.
Earlier this year, there were several people talking about launching a clubhouse influencer program. They did just that. They spent a lot of time, effort and resources trying to figure out the best way to build an influencer program within the social audio space. Three months later that program no longer exists. This is why it’s important to think long term about the goals and objectives of your program and thought about the Clubhouse topics being discussed.
So, part of your plan should also encompass how you define influence. I use four data points that help me validate true influence. Those four data points are:
- Reach: how large is their community across all social platforms
- Relevance: how often are they talking about topics relevant to your business
- Resonance: when they do talk about those topics, how is resonating with their audiences
- Reference: a manual process to see if the influencer is being mentioned in mainstream media, by other influencers or a specific audience group
These four data points are important because you can weight each one differently based on what you feel is most important. It’ll really help you define the right influencers that will define business impact for your B2B programs.
But even before that all happens, there’s a significant amount of research that needs to get done and let explain why.
If you believe that influencers are driving the conversation about a particular topic, then you need to study that topic and the words, language, vernacular, the context, the tone of that topic and begin to adopt that same language and tone into your own marketing for a variety of reasons.
One is, to be relevant to an audience you need to speak the same language as the audience. If you are saying something one way, and you are saying it another way, there’s no connection.
If they say it one way and you are mimicking it in your own way and providing context, suddenly you are that much more relevant to that audience.
Influencer mapping can help understand who is driving the conversation and will influence search behavior, which could then give birth to an influencer search program. As I’ve said before, if they are using certain terminology and buzzwords, what’ll happen is that their audiences will start using and adopting the same language verbally and in the search engines.
And so, if you can get ahead of that, and predict and use the language influencers are using today, and build content that replicates that, then you’ll eventually start to rank high in the Google search results.
This process takes anywhere between 6 to 8 to 12 weeks, because it’s not just understanding the topics that you want to go after but also the research that goes behind it as you plan for your influencer program.
It’s identifying the right influencers, it’s mining their conversations over the course of time, and in some cases, it’s also mining their conversations in real-time, but that’s a different video. For now, I will say that your B2B programs must be informed by smart data and insights.
Influencer Marketing Resources
Below you will find some helpful content for you as begin to take your B2B influencer marketing journey. There is not a lot of really good information available on the Internet, so I’ve tried my best to consolidate what I think is most important.
Here is a quick video and write up of some of my thoughts about the influencer marketing software available on the market today. The vendors that I typically write about are more for B2B and enterprise companies versus consumer brands. However, all brand influencer programs have some commonalties that you can learn from.
Measuring influence needs to be a priority. Remember, it’s not just about measuring the performance of an influencer campaign, but also how you are using data to identify the most relevant influencers for your business.
Here are five influencer marketing trends that you should keep top of mind moving into 2022. Influencer marketing is a huge business and it’s only growing.
It’s not good practice to manage influencer programs in a silo. It’s better to ensure that your program is fully integrated into your larger B2B social media marketing plan.