It Is About Understanding Who Influences The B2B Influencers

Social media marketing is an extremely generic term. It means many things to different people. To some it means using the social web to influence word-of-mouth positively for a product or a brand. This is not a new model for marketing. Public relations has long tried to influence traditional media to report about products and service in an effort to build credibility and word-of-mouth.

The issue here is that the influencers on the social web share a lot in common with traditional media gate keepers:
*Everyone wants their attention
*They have to be true to their audience
*It is hard to even get on their radar

The opportunity here that the Web provides something we haven’t really had before when doing B2B influencer marketing. On the social web conversations are happening in public and being mapped and recorded. It is mapping these conversations that can help us to influence the people that key industry influencers go to for feedback, news, and venting.


Identifying Who Influences The Influencers: Yeah, There Is Not An App For That

We like to rely on tools for information on the web, because they are easy and save time. Sadly, most of the real questions worth being answered are not solved by tools, but by smart people positioning data the appropriate way.

Some marketers use blog searches combined with social media monitoring tools like Radian6 to begin to comb through data. These are very useful and important tools on the web, but they don’t directly answer the questions we are trying to answer in today’s post.

TRAACKR A List

A new service that recently launched called Traackr gets us closer to an answer. I normally don’t talk much about services here, but I think these guys are doing something pretty unique, though very early on and in need of improvement. Traackr helps solve the influencer identification problem by using refined keywords to generate a list of influencers, based on reach, resonance and relevance. As far as data you need to take to your manger or your CMO, this is a huge step in the right direction, but I still don’t know who is influencing the influencers on my Traackr list. Traackr helps, but is only solving half of the influencer marketing problem.

To identify the people and sources that influence the influencers you have to map conversations and understand how individual influencers consume information.

Map of kbodnar32_s relationships

As I have said earlier in this post, the information is on the web already. For example you could use this free service to look at a Twitter users most talked to friends (see an example for me above) from there you can start to get a better understanding of your influencers’ word of mouth network. Once you begin to understand the network, you can then look at the blogs and social accounts of those individuals to determine the best tactics for executing your infuencer marketing strategy.

The people that influence your key influencers are your true potential for engagement and word-of-mouth.

Influence Based On Relationships Not Selling

Nobody likes to be sold to, I mean nobody. To think that you can send an e-mail to someone expecting that they will instantly blog or talk about your product is laughable. Instead you and your organization has to become relevant to them in some way. To do this you must first introduce yourself and your business to them. Secondly, you must figure out how you can help them. Most of the truly successful people on the web that have been able to genernate word-or-mouth have done so through building relationships through altruism.

If these influencers are important to your customers, then find a way to help them. This could mean sponsoring an event they organize or giving them access to your product or service for free if it can help them with their work. However, it is not about money. It can be as simple as supporting them, retweeting their blog posts, leaving comments on their blog, or featuring them in your company’s e-mail newsletter instead of a product highlight that no one cares about.

By doing all of these things you help the influencers in your industry notice you. For the first time, you become relevant to them.

To recap:
1. Determine your influencers
2. Understand who influences your influencers
3. Determine how to help and support your influencers’ and their network

Do you use influencer engagement as part of your B2B marketing strategy? If so, tell us about it!

Comments

  1. says

    Kipp, this is a great post, thanks for taking the time to put it all together.
    Yes I do use influencer marketing as I am a biz dev consultant and using my prospects and clients’ networks as a way of opening doors for my clients is key to widening the circle of prospects.

    here are ways my team uses influencer engagement:
    Linked in groups – answer questions,
    Networking events – meet interesting folk and refer them to others
    Offering to help review new products and services
    Reading something interesting and forwarding the link

    Rebecca Caroe

  2. says

    Kip…interesting post. We’re big fans of Traackr and are using the technology to help create influence maps for our clients. The major issue with any of these tools is that they are only as good as the information you feed them and are relatively useless without applying strategy to the engagement aspect.

  3. says

    I’m just jumping into social media at this point and learning as much as possible for a pilot SMM campaign for the corporation I work for.

    This was an interesting article. I hadn’t really thought about this approach, but will definitely look further into some of the tools mentioned to assist.

    Thanks!

  4. says

    Hey great info how about introducing several videos in your B2B Influencer Marketing Using Social Media | Social Media B2B info! I think it may possibly strengthen a lot of our information thanks :-) Thx Rob Rasner IMDB

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