Today’s B2B marketing has shifted focus away from simply selling to buyers, and towards cultivating relationships and establishing a better buying experience to attract prospects and maintain current customers. While there’s a whole suite of tools, tactics and techniques to improving the customer experience, working with industry influencers is one of the most unique, and far-reaching ways to build your brand and promote your business.
So Where Can You Find Them?
You’ve probably already got a few people in mind that you’d consider to be influencers in your industry, but if you don’t, here’s a few ways to find some.
Method 1: Look for well-established individuals -from consultants, to fellow marketers – who are already engaging with a similar target audience or would be known to your buyers. They’ll have blogs, websites, or a regular posting schedule on LinkedIn, as well as a great deal of content that they’ve either contributed to or created themselves. Many influencers are their own brands, and working with people who’ve already got a dedicated audience is a great way to cross-advertise your content.
Method 2: Grow your own! If you’ve got rockstar sales leaders or CMOs, this is a great opportunity to give them their own platform to cultivate a following. Work with them to create content – blog posts, eBooks, even infographics – under their name and promote their mini-brand through your official social-media channels. Make sure that they’re engaging with your audience, in the form of conversations online, speaking engagement, webinars, and guest appearances. As their credibility grows though meaningful content and interactions, so too will their notoriety.
Loop In Your Social Media
Social media is a gift when it comes to influencer marketing. It can help you not only identify industry influencers, but also begin leveraging relationships with them to strengthen your marketing efforts. Many influencers use platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn to expand their audiences and promote their own content. These are great platforms to engage with them and begin linking your brand to their through content collaborations, and even interesting dialogues and conversations between you, the influencer, and your collective audiences.
Get Your Customers Involved
Your current customers are a great source for discovering industry influencers for a wide variety of industries. Looking at who they’re listening to, who they’re following and what kinds of speakers they get most excited about can help you tap directly into influencers that can help sway your prospects. Once you’ve identified the right influencers, you can work with them to develop content that will engage your target audience.