When you’re able to gather with your B2B Influencer Marketing squad, amazing things can happen. Just last month we hosted the B2B Influencer Marketing Summit in San Francisco with the help of our illustrious hosts at SAP.
This half-day, in-person event gathered some of the brightest minds in the industry to pull back the curtain and discuss the real opportunities and hurdles faced by brands looking to implement B2B Influencer Marketing or SME/Exec programs and to hear from the influencers themselves.
The day was full of best practice presentations from Equinix and SAP, panel discussions with marketing influencers and pioneers in the Exec & SME space, as well as strategy building with Onalytica and networking between peers and influencers.
We were thrilled with all the questions and participation amongst our attendees and are certain that people were left feeling one step closer to fulfilling their influencer marketing dreams. For those of you that weren’t able to attend in-person, we’ve gathered up the top takeaways from the day to get you up to speed.
5 Key Takeaways From the B2B Influencer Summit:
#1 Set Clear Goals & Have a Success Criteria
As exciting as new projects are, getting started can often be the hardest and most daunting aspect. When starting an influencer marketing program it’s important to know how this activity ties in with your larger strategy. Having this holistic view of your marketing plan cements the importance of each individual activity and ensures that influencer marketing is core to your overall objectives.
Once you are sure that this activity aligns with your goals, Danielle Guzman shared that you must define clear objectives and KPIs to nail down your strategy and assist you in securing stakeholder buy in!
#2 Shift the Perception of Who An Influencer Is
Some of the best influencers may be right under your nose. Britiana Andrade said it best, influencers come in all shapes and sizes! You may not realize but you can have some incredibly powerful voices in your organisation that are ready to advocate for your company. Make sure not to overlook this opportunity as brand messages are much more believable when they come from an employee or influencer.
#3 Exec & SMEs Integration Requires Educational Training & WIIFM Mindset
Perfectly put by Neal Schaffer, to successfully leverage internal execs and SMEs, you must implement educational training and a ‘what’s in it for me’ mindset. This isn’t to say that activating your employees and internal influencers shouldn’t be fun and a somewhat smooth ride, but you can’t pick out executives or members of staff that have an active social presence and assume they will want to help, or that they’re equipped to deliver results.
Danielle Guzman shared that if you want to activate internal influencers then you have to lead by example; employees need to see someone doing this successfully to see the personal value of advocating. You also can’t force executives to get on social, so her top tip is to leverage those with the right energy for the task. Paul Dobson added to this narrative, sharing that you must prepare your execs to bring the same vibe as external influencers.
#4 Ensure The Influencers Audience Aligns With Your Own
Finding the right influencer to work with isn’t always easy, and it’s not as simple as just picking the person with the biggest following. One of Ashley Faus’ biggest tips when getting started was to not be fooled by big numbers on social as that does not convert to your own successes. Just because someone achieves huge engagement on a post does not mean that their audience is going to consume your content the same way. You have to ensure that the influencers audience aligns with your own.
Chris Penn said that it is important the influencer understands and care about the company and product so that they can be trusted to do their job and speak confidently to the audience. Another essential point to align on is values. Helen Yu agreed that the audiences must align but added that the influencer and company must align on values too to secure success.
#5 Trust the Influencer to do the Work
You have to take that leap of faith and trust the influencer to do what they do best. If you have followed all of the steps to successfully leverage influencers, you should be confident in their ability to create content that gets your message out to the right audience. Ashley Faus says how you must remember that the content is owned by the influencer, though the process should remain collaborative. You mustn’t nit-pick the creator as at the end of the day, they know their audience, channel and their content! Ann Handley honed in on the human element and warned against viewing the influencer as a transactional exchange. You should approach the partnership as a relationship building exercise that will sustain your work together and allow the content to be created smoothly.
Pulling it All Together
We hope these takeaways help to form a clear approach to influencer marketing that you can implement in your future programs. For us, the overall point is that there is no excuse to not be tracking the results of your campaigns, and having the right tool in place can assist you on your journey to success. If you’d like to discuss strategy in further detail, schedule a consultation with our resident experts Ashley and Tom to get your campaigns moving!