You’ve heard that it’s quality not quantity that matters when it comes to the number of followers your business has, no doubt – and it follows that the same criteria applies to B2B influencers. Why then, do so many marketers opt for the quick promotion fix, chasing the wrong “influencers” for the wrong reasons?
It’s easy to find seemingly influential people online, of course, but you have to dig deeper to find the true influencers. To evaluate B2B influencers, you need to very clearly define what you want to achieve, and how to measure what that person really brings to the table, for starters. There’s a host of other things to consider as well!
Influencers can have a big impact
The rise of the social influencer is nothing short of stunning. Awe-inspiring, even. And all too often – fake. Or, at best, inflated and causing businesses incredible frustration in the form of lost time and money. And we’re talking lots of money, with top B2B influencers now demanding thousands of dollars to participate in marketing campaigns.
Not to imply they aren’t worth it – influencers can be worth every penny. We’ve already learned this on the B2C side of things. For instance, the results of this program for Silk Almond Milk were staggering:
- Households exposed to influencer marketing purchased 10% more Silk products than the control group
- Each 1,000 people viewing influencer marketing purchased $285 worth of Silk products over the control group
- The ROI of the blog posts alone (not including social promotion) is 11X the ROI of banner ads, after 12 months
Influencer marketing will work for B2B marketers, too. But it all hinges on credibility and relevance, not follower count.
How to evaluate B2B influencers
Want to evaluate a B2B influencer? Look for the following indicators:
Responding to comments/mentions. If an influencer isn’t understanding the art of conversation on social, they will not do well when it comes to interacting on behalf of your company, and that’s part of the job. Stalk an influencer’s social feeds (yes, even those who come highly recommended) and see if, when, and how that person interacts on social media. Is this someone you want to align your company’s brand around?
Niche conversations. Who is this influencer interacting with anyway? Are they people your sales team would like to get in front of? And if a potential influencer never talks about what’s top of mind for your buyers then move on and find a more relevant influencer to consider for your marketing programs.
Regularly publishing. Not every B2B influencer is a content creator, but most are. How else are they influencing an audience if not writing, creating videos, or podcasting? Look to social profiles and website to find out where their influence lies, specifically, and if it all adds up to create the influencer profile you’re looking for.
Engagement rates. Sure, having a huge follower count can turn into lots of impressions, but that really doesn’t tell you anything – you need to focus on engagement rates. What actions are they encouraging, and from whom. Are your prospects following and engaging with them… or just a bunch of bots?
Tracking relevant metrics
These days, there are also lots of free and paid options that track metrics beyond influencer engagement, like authority, reach, impact, and even sentiment. Best of all, you’ll be able to find influencers similar to those you’re tracking as well – a competitive intelligence viewpoint that will help you sort out pricing and possibly scoop up the top influencers and get them to sign a non-compete before another business in your industry does!
What’s the bottom line?
Even B2B Influencers are starting to get overhyped – but they’re great when they actually do influence your target audience.
Understanding why they’re influential and who is really listening to them – and taking action based on their recommendation – is key. All those followers you see on the surface may be worthless when held against the followers of a less sparkly, but much more respected, thought leader who has an audience hanging on every word.
That’s the influencer you’ll want to build a relationship with before your competitors do!
Ready to talk about identifying and mobilizing the right influencers for your business? Give us a call, or drop us a line at hello at leadtail dot com!