A 7-Step Plan for Rolling Out a B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign

29 Dec A 7-Step Plan for Rolling Out a B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign

6-Flat-Wine-Background-1aMore than ever, companies are realizing that just running ads online is not an effective way to reach their core audiences. That’s why more companies than ever before are embracing influencer marketing. According to eMarketer, in fact, 84 percent of marketers plan to run at least one influencer campaign over the next 12 months. To make that possible for your B2B company, here’s a quick 7-step plan to follow:

STEP 1: Understand who your company’s influencers really are

At the end of the day, you’re not going to know who your influencers are until you take a broad look at the industry and understand the analysts, executives and thought leaders who have the potential to shape trends (and more importantly) buying habits.

STEP 2: Find the social platforms where they are hanging out

Just a few years ago, the key B2B influencers were top-name bloggers. However, with the rise of social media, that’s no longer necessarily the case. Your influencers could now be hanging out on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

STEP 3: Establish relationships with these influencers

Usually, this is going to require a lot of one-to-one contact, and some time developing relationships with them. For that reason, some companies prefer to hand this off to a company like Zuberance, which will help to build and unlock the value of your brand influencers. This is the key to getting word-of-mouth buzz about your products and services, as well as generating “social proof” on the leading social platforms.

STEP 4: Create metrics to track progress

It’s not a real influencer campaign until you find a way to track performance over a specific period of time. Since influencers are supposed to be driving sales, many companies prefer to really “unleash” their brand advocates around key times of the year, such as before a key product launch or during a major annual event.

STEP 5: Enable real-time content, not just scripted content

You want to be able to empower your influencers to spread your brand message, and that means giving them the freedom to act without a lot of approvals and sign-offs. Remember – you’ve already established a relationship with them, so there’s a certain core amount of trust in what they will create. Plus, real-time, spontaneous content is viewed as being more “authentic” than tightly scripted content.

STEP 6: Provide brand assets as needed

For consumer-facing companies, these “brand assets” are typically physical items that they can showcase to their followers and fans. For B2B companies, these “brand assets” are typically things like e-books, whitepapers, or case studies.

STEP 7: Constantly tweak and refine

At a minimum, you need to be maintaining a simple dashboard that tracks how many influencers you have mobilized, how many impressions they are getting for your products and services, and how they are impacting final sales. Over time, you can see which tactics are working, and which are not. By fine-tuning and tweaking, you can make sure that you give maximum freedom to your influencers, while also ensuring that they are helping to give maximum lift to your sales efforts.

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Dominic Basulto

Dominic Basulto is a futurist and blogger based in New York City. Prior to working for Bond Strategy, he was the editor of Fortune’s Business Innovation Insider and a founding member of Corante.com, one of the Web's first blog media companies. He also writes for The Washington Post and the Big Think blog.