We wanted to shine a light on a few of our team members and get their thoughts on the influencer marketing industry and how they think it’s changed over the past few years. Amardeep Sidhu started at Onalytica as a Client Relationship Manager over 6 years ago, in March she was made a Global Account Director, focusing on Client Insights Strategy.
How has B2B Influencer Marketing strategy changed in the 6+ years you have been working in the space?
When I first started working on Influencer Marketing, it focused heavily on identification, and a one-off report to showcase what influencers spoke about. Since I joined Onalytica, I’ve seen it move towards being about relationship building and subsequently working together to tell the brand story and connect brands to their audiences.
Now we’re at a point of greater analysis, where brands are looking to evaluate who they’re reaching by collaborating with influencers and what the impact is when working with influencers and without. Successful engagements are more than just reaching large numbers of people, they’re about engaging target audiences and changing the perception of a brand over time.
How are enterprise organisations evolving their Employee Advocacy strategies to meet their influencer advocacy goals?
There’s recognition that an organisation’s greatest advocates are their employees, and to reach wider audiences, enabling them to create content and share their own perspectives is key. Supporting employees that already have a social footprint, or are working on building their own personal brand online, can be beneficial to the brand as they share their expertise and establish themselves as key industry voices to listen to.
What do you see as the most common client challenges to being effective at B2B influencer advocacy?
Time is the one that I hear most, where the argument is that there’s not enough time to commit to building relationships and acting on the insights that they receive. Like all engagement programs, there is the need to commit some time to it, to ensure that it’s not just about transactional engagements with influencers but more about listening to community and collaborating with influencers.
Another common challenge is that the larger the organisation, the more you observe them operating in silos. As the vendor you often have greater visibility into what different teams are doing and can connect the dots for them. You’re able to share learnings on how to best work with influencers and point them towards different colleagues who can share their successes too. A central resource or point of contact at an organisation could be valuable to help align different teams, and ensure there’s consistency in how influencer marketing is adopted across the organisation.
What do organisations need to do better to leverage their SME’s and Execs to drive influencer advocacy?
To be successful, it’s primarily about working with employees who are motivated to build their presence online. Occasionally employees are ‘volunteered’ to join employee advocacy programs, and they don’t feel comfortable using social media and therefore don’t get the same results as others. This isn’t reflective of their work and commitment, but it’s just about time and resources.
Organisations can support this by providing the team with coaching and guidance on how to improve their social media presence, offering them access to content to share, and by also providing motivation to do well that extends beyond just measurement of their social stats.
Which department will end up owning Influencer Marketing?
Currently I work with teams across Digital, Communications and Marketing. Eventually I do see it being a standalone team, but instead of a team that owns all influencer engagement, for it to be successful, I expect it will be a team that supports the efforts of others rather than replaces their ownership.
How are organisations using influencer community insights?
Often, it’s helpful to get a sense of what the conversation is online, and whether brand content aligns or doesn’t align with what the wider interest is.
It can be used to see how brands measure up relative to competitors, or whether they are recognised for the work they do.
Most importantly, community insights are about listening to what people care enough to post about, what it is that inspires a reaction on social channels, and how an organisation can listen, learn, and use it to shape their own content creation strategy.
What data are clients increasingly needing to drive success on their influence programs?
Clients want to know the impact of influencer programs, so instead of data just being about reach and engagement, it’s more about who is being reached, and who is engaging with content. Additionally, there’s more emphasis on the follow-on action from collaborations, what their audience does after they see a collaboration and whether there’s a long tail to activations.