It is no secret that word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful methods of increasing customer engagement. While consumer-facing companies may live and die by Yelp and Google reviews, B2B marketers must elevate the conversation by garnering the attention of influencers and thought leaders. Easier said than done.
As with any relationship built on trust, marketers seeking to develop relationships with industry influencers must keep their eyes on the long-term benefits associated with investing the necessary time and resources to nurture a long-term relationship. Providing a clear, consistent and compelling message is one of the most important ways to do just that. Implementing a strategic thought leadership content development program that brings that message to life is also essential to building online relationships founded in mutual trust and reciprocity.
Two thirds (65%) of B2B organizations engage customers via a digital influencer marketing program.
Like all forms of marketing, digital influencer marketing should be strategic and programmatic. The ad hoc, opportunist approach to garnering thought leadership content may create some noise in the digital space, but it will not earn your business respect.
So how do you begin an influencer marketing program? The first step is to spend some time social listening. Identify the key influencers whose social conversations are in alignment with your company’s goal. The next step is to qualify that influencer by conducting a “key influencer audit.” This audit should include a close look at the influencer’s audience, the content he or she authors and/or shares and his social activity. Does his message and point of view align positively with your company goals? Is his audience the audience you want to be engaging with? Is his social presence positive and productive? The final step is to determine how this relationship might be mutually beneficial. This is where reciprocity becomes very important. It may be obvious to you how this influencer may elevate your customer engagement, but how might your content benefit him? Once you know the answer to this question, you are ready to begin engaging with your key influencer.
Remember, all relationships take time to develop. Building trust and nurturing loyalty with key influencers will optimize your customer engagement.