Influencer marketing is a great way to break through the noise, while also making your prospects more inclined to buy from you. Simply put, if someone influential recommends your company then that gives you a leg-up on the competition. So how can B2B marketers tap into the power of influencer marketing?

Start with these do’s and don’ts:

1.  Don’t treat influence like a popularity contest.

Just because someone is a social celebrity with hundreds of thousands of followers doesn’t mean they’re influential with your audience. Instead, find those people who are truly influential with the C-Suite or whoever it is you sell to.

2.  Don’t just rely on your PR firm.

Your PR firm may be aware of top industry journalists and research analysts. But what about all the executives, niche bloggers, and domain experts that your prospects are reading and sharing on social media? Do your homework and find out who else has the attention of your buyers.

3.  Don’t think all influencers are the same.

They’re not. Each influencer is a real person with interests, expertise, and passions that set them apart from everyone else. As @TedRubin, a top CMO influencer, says: “The biggest mistake brands make when trying to engage me as an influencer is not first trying to understand who I am and what I stand for.” Research influencers to discover whom your company best aligns with… and then engage accordingly.

4.  Don’t assume influencers know (and like) your brand.

Just because your company is a big enterprise or the hippest new startup in town doesn’t mean every influencer is familiar with or even likes your brand. The truth is they probably don’t care one way or another. Your challenge is to get their attention and give them a reason to care.

5.  Don’t only focus on what they can do for you.

You want to get on the radar of influencers so they can help push your brand and products. I understand that. But the best way to get people to help you is to help them first. So make sure and consider how you can help influencers before you try to engage them.

6.  Don’t spam influencers.

No one likes spam and that includes influencers. As a matter of fact, the last thing you want to do is create a bad impression that gets you ignored, blocked, or worse yet, bad mouthed by influencers… all because you couldn’t resist pestering them to share your latest press release or blog post. Geez.

7.  Don’t think you always have to pay influencers.

There’s no question that pulling out your checkbook can get influencers to consider speaking at your conference or moderating an upcoming webinar. But so will sharing their content, recommending them, and making introductions. Influencers will pay it back.

 8.  Don’t consider social media a nice to have.

Influencers leverage social media for conversations, to share their perspective, and to build an ever-growing audience. Simply put, they’re active on social media so you should be, too. That is, if you’re serious about reaching and engaging them.

9.  Don’t look at influencer marketing as a quick fix.

Success with influencer marketing takes time. You’ll need to reach, nurture, engage, and mobilize influencers in a programmatic and ongoing manner if you’re really looking for influencer marketing to move the dial for your business. Dig in and plan for the long-term.

The key is to approach B2B influencer marketing like you want to build long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with those people that your customers and prospects value and trust. Focusing on relationship building will also make it easier to not get tripped up by the short-term oriented “don’ts” on this list. If you want to learn more about the power of influencer marketing then read this and this.

Now it’s your turn

Any other influencer marketing do’s and don’ts you’d like to add to the list? Share your comments below…