With the advent of social media came influencer marketing. The space started with consumer-focused influencers or those who would pitch a company’s products to their following. These relationships were often B2C relationships and influencers were often celebrities or personalities with large followings, known as audiences.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN B2C AND B2B INFLUENCERS
Like B2C influencers, B2B influencers are individuals, not companies. Unlike B2C influencers, B2B influencers are far more nuanced. Knowing customers and building trust are key to success.
To be effective, it is important to understand the differences in the types of influencers and the value they bring.
BREAKING DOWN THE COMPONENTS
Each component offers value for different outcomes. It is important to understand the outcomes you are driving toward in order to understand which persona or personas fit your objectives best.
Followers: This represents the number of followers on social media and beyond. Common metrics may include Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and/or YouTube. Quality and quantity are two aspects that impact the value of follower counts.
Volume: Volume is the frequency of tweets, posts and assets that an influencer creates over a period of time. There are upsides to volume, but one downside is noise which can impact other aspects.
Amplification/ Promotion: Represents the appetite for the influencer to amplify and promote the messages coming from a company or event.
Context: This element is closely tied to experience. Context is the influencer’s ability to understand how the messages fit in the marketplace and how customers will leverage the product/ service.
Experience: Represents the influencers direct experience working with and/or working with the specific technology as a customer of the company.
Authenticity: Several of the aspects above tie into an influencer’s authenticity in talking about the specific technology.
Engagement: One-way engagements are similar to a media buy in raising visibility of a product, service or message. Bi-directional engagements represent a deeper and more engaged conversation between the influencer and the company engaging them.
Compensation: Most amplifiers are paid engagements. Technologists are not paid for their time, but their travel is paid. Strategists tend to have a retainer or other type of contract in place where engagement is part of the broader work they do with the company.
One may ask how the strategist influencer differs from an independent analyst. The reality is that they very similar and, in many ways, the same people.
It is important to understand which outcomes to achieve and what paths will lead to those outcomes. Consider who customers (and prospects) are following and who they trust. Remember that not all audiences are the same nor do they have the same level of engagement. As noted above, there are many variables to consider depending on the outcomes you are targeting.