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March 19, 2020

152: Getting Started with B2B Influencer Marketing

152: Getting Started with B2B Influencer Marketing

Today I want to share with you a real-life example of how I am rationalizing my client's marketing spend and the different options we are considering for B2B influencer marketing. If you are looking to create fans for your business, why wouldn't you reach out to influencers in your industry and try to recruit them through the spirit of collaboration like I teach in The Age of Influence? This episode will help you understand how to find B2B influencers and all of the different ways in which you could collaborate with them.

Additional links:

Key Highlights

[03:34] How To Get More People Sign Up To Your Product?

[04:03] Customers Becoming Influencers

[05:20] The Essential Need For Lead Magnet

[07:10] Why Social Media Channels Are Important For B2B

[09:14] How To Find Influencers For Your B2B Company

[11:39] How To Engage With Influencers?

[13:23] Approaching Influencers Individually

[14:40] How TO Include Influencers In Creating Lead Magnets

[15:29] Influx Of Virtual Summits

[17:47] Playing Around With Different Content Mediums

[19:20] What Is The Greatest Way To Expand Your Podcast?

[23:55] My Facebook Community Group

Notable Quotes

  • In marketing, we talk about the essential need for lead magnets. And the reason why as people are not going to sign up to your email list, because they love getting emails, right, they're going to sign up. And because they are receiving something in exchange for signing up, and if your emails, communications are good, and not too spammy, they may hang on and receive your marketing communication through an email medium.
  • It's not just about the influence of people, or those who want to become or are influencers, but also about how businesses can really through becoming more influential digitally and socially, yield more business.
  • Creating something that people might be able to read or engage with, that would generate further demand and interest in their product and build that know, like trust factor.
  • And I argued that public relations professionals should be translating their skills to influencer relations, because it's not a spray and pray one of many approach with influencer marketing, it is a one to one approach.
  • What I've learned from podfest is one of the greatest ways in which to expand your podcast audience is to go on other podcasts.
  • That's another way of grabbing the market before your competitor, but also using it as a way to reach out to influencers and say, Hey, here's another option, we also have a podcast, just a 30 minute interview. 

Neal Schaffer:

This is the maximize your social influence podcast with Neal Schaffer, where I help sales and marketing professionals, entrepreneurs and small business owners, build, leverage and monetize their influence in digital and social media. Greetings, my friend and welcome to another episode of the maximize your social influence Podcast. Today is episode number 152. And I want to offer you a very, very practical episode on Influencer Marketing. And today we're going to specifically talk about b2b influencer marketing because I know a lot of you listening might be representing a b2b corporation organization, what have you, if you're new to this podcast, this is a podcast about digital and social media marketing, but everything is looked at through the lens of the concept of influence. So while you would think that every episode is about influencer marketing, that is definitely not the case. Influence really permeates everything we do in digital and social media. And therefore it's not just about the influence of people, or those who want to become or are influencers, but also about how businesses can really through becoming more influential digitally and socially, yield more business. So this episode is being sponsored by the age of influence my new book, which just published actually this week, as you listen to this podcast, so definitely do pick it up. I've already gotten some great endorsements by a lot of people that you may know, I'll put a link in the show notes so that you can find out more about the book if you are interested. And if you have read it, a review of the book on Amazon would be would be extremely appreciated. Needless to say, so and my Digital Influence is as important as anyone elses listening to this. So just had to throw it out this, let's get to the episode for today. So this is something that I want to provide to you an actual conversation that took place with a new client. And I can't obviously record that conversation or give you client names because of NDAs. And obviously the need to abide by MBAs, but I think it served and as I was working with this client, it really served as an educational moment that inspired me to record this podcast. I originally today wanted to talk about what I learned at pod fest, this conference all about the podcasting, I'm going to share that with you in an upcoming episode. But for today, let's let's paint the picture. You are a b2b company. Now this company is in the IT industry, right? So let's imagine you're a b2b company in the IT industry, and you're a startup. Now, even though I'm talking about startups, this is relevant for any company, if you consider doing a reset on your marketing budget, do a complete reset on your brand and on your marketing. And this is something that I think companies need to be doing more often because the demographics change the needs of our customers change how they engage with us, on websites, on emails in social media is always changing and evolving. So they want to get, you know, their KPI is acquiring new customers, they have a freemium model, right? So the idea is, and it's a SASS company. So the idea is, how do we get more people to sign up to our product and start to get some feedback that we can bake in. And really, you know, it's the same concept as Pat Flynn super fans, the notion of building a community of fans of your users that love your product, they want to contribute to your product, they want to make your company successful, you could also call this sort of customer success, marketing. So this is a scenario where the customers become the influencers. And this sort of taps into my whole concept of Digital Influence and influencer marketing as it is much broader than just those people paying others, you know, a few $100 to post a photo of them smiling, holding a handbag on Instagram, this goes way beyond that, right? So there's a lot of things this company can do, but they have zero brand recognition. And maybe if your company is established, but still has very little brand recognition in your market, this is going to be similar advice. So where this company was originally only looking at, which is probably a natural for most companies is Google Apps. I started asking them well what is going to be the KPI that you measure with Google ads. And the obvious answer is yes, we want people to obviously sign up for our service but the problem is as we know In sales, for those of you that have sales experience, it takes multiple touches in order to get someone to convert, I might not sign up for a new service, if I've never heard of it right. So the other thing they mentioned was, well, we want people to sign up for updates. But I don't know how many people are going to go to a website and just sign up for updates. You know, in marketing, we talk about the essential need for lead magnets. And the reason why as people are not going to sign up to your email list, because they love getting emails, right, they're going to sign up. And because they are receiving something in exchange for signing up, and if your emails, communications are good, and not too spammy, they may hang on and receive your marketing communication through an email medium. So it got us talking about a lead magnet, right? Creating something that people might be able to read or engage with, that would generate further demand and interest in their product and build that know, like trust factor. So then we talk about, well, they did not have email marketing setup, they just thought of Google ads on a website. So we begin talking about email marketing, marketing automation, we begin talking about a lead magnet. And you see step by step, if you saw me present that Social Media Marketing World or you understand the concept, what we're trying to do here is we have KPIs. And if we visualize the KPIs with a funnel, it might be website visits, it might be email subscriptions, it might be at the end of the day, signing up for the free product, and then finally converting them. That is a pretty reasonable funnel to have for any business really, of any size, even if you're a startup. So we begin there. And then we go, Well, what else can we be doing right? And then we look at content marketing, we look at not just using Google from a paid perspective, but using Google from an organic perspective. And this is a company that actually had already bought into content marketing. And it was already creating tons of blog posts. So yes, blogging important as well. And that's where keyword research and backlinks and all that come into play. So that's another part of the strategy here. But then we got into the social media part, and they haven't launched any social media channel. And we started talking, and obviously, if this is b2b, we talked about LinkedIn, we talked about Twitter, we even talk about Facebook, because as an advertising platform, it might be able to reach more people than LinkedIn can, even though if it's a niche product, those same people in it are probably Facebook users, we obviously did not talk about Instagram or YouTube, or Tik Tok. So we then thought, well, you know, or I should say, I was thinking, Well, how do we approach those people that we know should have an interest and get them to begin a conversation to begin engage with our company. And this is where the concept of influencers and influencer marketing comes in. And it's also interesting, because I realized that my approach to influencer marketing is influenced by my own background in b2b sales. My background, before social media was not marketing, it was sales, although I did do some marketing, some business development. But it's really the fact that you know what, we can go on LinkedIn. And we can find people by the titles that we know would be interested in our product. So there is a sales right there. There's a b2b sales strategy, right? There's also a way to target those people on LinkedIn. Or we can target people on Twitter or Facebook based on their interests. You know, who are your competitors was one of the first questions I asked. So we can try to find people that follow the competitors. But going above and beyond that, right? You know, what are the shortcuts here and I often refer to influencer marketing as sort of a growth hack, sort of a marketing shortcut. And you see it a lot with startups that just spend 100% of their marketing budget, on influencers on Instagram, if you're in that niche, and just really finding success there. So what if we were to go, and if you saw me on Social Media Marketing World, I talked about response, which is a blogger outreach tool, and there are a number of blog word, blogger outreach tools, I'm actually writing a post on this grouphigh is another great one. And I'm going to include these links in the show notes. But what if we go out there and find bloggers that are already talking about things that would generate demand for our product. So within any b2b space, there are bound to be bloggers, there are bound to be people that are creating content, they might be creating that content through a LinkedIn post, they might have their own blog, they might be contributing content to a community online. But if we use a blogger outreach tool, or if we're pretty savvy at Google, we should be able to find these people or who are talking about those keywords that are important to our company, in conversations on Twitter, which is searchable, even LinkedIn is becoming more and more searchable these days. They used to have a great tool called LinkedIn signal which they no longer have, but they're sort of opening up to people that you LinkedIn to find those conversations and Facebook is going to be a lot harder to find they've actually been closing down their API's. But you know, we do have Twitter, we do have LinkedIn, we do have blogs, we do have YouTube. And I gave this great example of social media marketer, I gave two examples. One was for a construction company, and how the influencer in their industry, which is selling 500,000, to a few million dollar heavy construction equipment was YouTubers. And the other example was Intuit QuickBooks who have their own internal sort of MVP community. And I showed a CPA who had hundreds of 1000s of YouTube subscribers and accountants, with hundreds of 1000s of YouTube subscribers with a walk through QuickBooks that had more than a million views in a year. So, you know, influence is everywhere, right? And, you know, maybe we do a search on YouTube for these keywords. At the end of this, we're gonna have a list of basically the 1% of people that are creating content digitally. It's, you know, the rule, and I feature this in the age of influence as well. We have 1% content creators 9%, sort of content shares and amplifiers and a 90% lurkers right or 9% participants. So if you look at it that way, let's find the 1% that are the two content creators, let's find the 9% that are actually sharing this content using a tool like Buzzsumo, we can actually see who are the shares of this content. And we can find people that retweeted content on Twitter, or what have you. And we can start to build a list of those influencers in the industry that we want to engage with to complement everything else we're doing. Now, the next question you probably have is how do we engage with these influencers. And this is where the concept of the more influence your company has digitally, the easier it gets to engage with influencers. This is one of the final chapters I have in the age of influence that you should read. But here is where we think, okay, we want to build these potential users of our product to become heroes, in their company, in their industry, if they're already creating content, they want to be perceived as a hero as a thought leader, someone with an opinion that with experience that other people should learn from. So how do we tap into this? And there's a few different ways of tapping into this. But it's all as you can imagine, as I talked about, when I talked about at Social Media Marketing World, these different types of influencer marketing campaigns and another chapter in the age of influence, it's all going to revolve around content, because it's b2b, right? So, you know, one thing is, well, if we have a blog, we can say we'd love to interview them for our blog, that's really, really easy way to approach them. Say, We love your content. And we think you'd be great to interview on our blog, we'll link back to your blog, we'll promote it through all of our channels. And obviously, anyone that you do this with should they agree, and they're not all going to agree. And this really comes down to the outreach. I was on a podcast the other day, another podcast that I'll introduce you all to later for public relations professionals. And I argued that public relations professionals should be translating their skills to influencer relations, because it's not a spray and pray one of many approach with influencer marketing, it is a one to one approach. So by approaching them individually personalizing and saying, Hey, we have a blog, we'd love to feature you, you're not going to get everyone to convert it, you're going to get some, and hopefully those that have an interest, have an interest in your product. And obviously, when you introduce your company, you're going to introduce your product. And maybe those people become your first raving fans, I don't know, or maybe through that interview, and then hopefully sharing your interview with their community and bringing their community over to your blog. That's where you're going to find your first fans, right. So that's one tried and tested, way easy way to do this, assuming your company has a blog. And assuming your company's blog doesn't have just only one or two self promotional posts that really aren't a blog, but they're just web copyright. So that's where this type of educational content with a blog comes into play. So that's sort of the easy way but because you're a podcast listener, I want to give you more, I'm going to give you some more advanced tactics. So I want to introduce a few other things you can do, which I think more companies should be doing. I'm going to go into well, let's do three. Well, we can do four. Okay, well, we'll do three Okay, so another one is lead magnets right? webinar, white paper ebook. So there's a need to create a lead magnet, why wouldn't you leverage influencers in your industry to interview them, get sound bites, whatever it is, and put it in an e book that can be downloaded 20 experts speak up on it trends in the next five years. It could also be a done in a webinar format. We interviewed three IT experts on On the latest trends, and with the current Coronavirus situation, I do believe that webinars are only going to become more and more popular, right? That's another, you know, relatively easy way, assuming that your company already has a webinar platform, you have a graphic designer that can do an e book or obviously you can outsource this. That's another easy way to include influencers in your content. But now they're being included in your lead magnet, which makes it even more powerful influencer marketing vehicle for your company. So what about two other ways so these are going to be more advanced. But we've seen an influx of virtual summits. And once again with Coronavirus with more and more things going digital, people are going to be more interested in and used to attending virtual summits. So once again, you could this is even bigger than a webinar, because you can scale it with more people. And the more people that are involved, it's a tumbleweed effect where everybody who was involved thinks it's going to be a huge event. And you as a startup can do this. Because the big companies the Cisco's the Microsoft's the IBM's, they may not be doing this now, they probably don't feel the need to. But it is really really easy to create a virtual summit, I have looked at doing this all the virtual summits that I've been a part of have all been through a platform called Hey Summit. And I'm going to include that link in the show notes. Anybody can create a virtual Summit. It's it's a SaaS business model, it's I don't know what the rates are, it's like $50 A month or $100 a month. And they even offer now when I contacted hay summit about six months ago, they told me that for $3,000, they'll do all the heavy lifting for you find the speakers, they send in the video, and hey, summit will do the rest. Now, don't quote me on that price, because I'm sure it might have gone up because there's been more and more demand for their services. But it doesn't require a lot of money. It does require time you need to find the speakers you need to follow up with them make sure that they you know upload the video, you need to check the video for for content, quality control, you need to do your promotions and everything. But that could be a huge way to boost whatever you're doing. And I've been a member of or I've presented on a number of virtual summits. And in fact, I'll put a link in the show notes to one that I'm actually speaking on probably the same day that this podcast publishes, which has been put on by a social media tool company called Wish pond called the Social Media x growth Summit. If you've never attended a virtual Summit, if you have subscribed to my email list, you should have been notified of previous virtual Summit. So make sure that you're subscribed, go to Neal Schaffer calm and any on the bottom there, you can subscribe. And I'll once again put that link in the show notes. But that is a huge way to really make a splash, especially if you have no brand recognition. Come to think of it, I'm going to give you not just one more. But two more things that you can do. And one is going to be well, they're actually they're both going to be related to playing around with different content mediums. Because right now, we mainly talked about text, we do have video with a webinar, right. But that video we can also do for live streaming, well, if you do a virtual Summit, you can repurpose that content for social media, you can repurpose it for YouTube, you just want to make sure you can even quote unquote, live stream it. But you just want to make sure that obviously all the attendees agree to that you want to have a contract in place. But you can also do a live stream, you could do a live stream LinkedIn live is slowly opening up, I don't even have access to it yet. But hopefully, it's going to slowly open up even if you don't have access to LinkedIn live, you could do it over Facebook, if you have a Facebook page, or you could do it over YouTube, you know, once again, if the influencers you're reaching out to are already very active on YouTube, that might be something that's very, very attractive to them. So this is another type of content. But now we're using video and live stream on these specific platforms. So the final one that I was hinting at at the beginning. And it's really been influenced by my own recent visit to the pod fest conference is a podcast. Now, before you start throwing eggs at me and thinking, you know, Neo, what have you been smoking? I haven't I don't smoke. So I'll tell you, I'll tell you that right now. I haven't been smoking anything. But podcasts, if you find that some of these people are podcasters themselves. What I've learned from podcast is one of the greatest ways in which to expand your podcast audience is to go on other podcasts. That's why it's sort of incestuous right. You hear it now maybe some of the people have heard of my podcast, you haven't heard another podcast, I'm not sure. But I know that there's a lot of people here on all these different marketing and digital and social media marketing podcasts that seem to go from one to the other over time. And there's a reason behind that. It's it's sort of like guest blogging or you know, you see people contribute quotes to blogs. It's the same thing but just in a different format. But audio and a podcast really differentiate It's your brand, because in the b2b it space, there may not be a lot of companies doing this, you know, I didn't do any research yet. Because, you know, we're trying to make a roadmap for all the different marketing and then within the marketing, what are we going to do for influencer marketing for the next three months? But podcasting could be very powerful for those people that have an interest that listen to podcasts. And we don't know because we all learn differently. Right? Some people may be listening to podcasts. I was at Starbucks the other day, I was wearing the podfest 2020 t shirt, which said asked me about my podcast. So I go into Starbucks the other day, and there's for 20 Something baristas, you know, standing there, and then I caneel. You know, well, they didn't say, Hey, me, oh, they didn't know my name. But you know what I mean? They said, Hey, tell me about your podcast. I'm like, wow, this stuff works. Right. So, you know, I asked them, hey, how many of you listen to podcasts. And two of them of the four said, they listen to podcasts. And maybe it is a demographic thing. But I definitely find more and more that podcasts. And this is going to be my next episode. Well, two episodes from now. But more and more people are listening to podcasts. That's another way of grabbing the market before your competitor, but also using it as a way to reach out to influencers and say, Hey, here's another option, we also have a podcast, just a 30 minute interview. And for some people, they don't want to contribute a blog post, they don't want to be on a video livestream. But you know, record a phone call. Sure, I'll do that. Right. Everybody's going to be different. But having that as another option, right. And once you have a podcast, similar to a virtual Summit, or live stream video content, audio content is actually extremely repurposed, as well, you can repurpose you transcribe it, you repurpose that into a blog post, you can embed the audio in different places. And if you do an interview, you know, not over phone, but over Skype, or zoom, or whatever tool you use, you can record that video as well and upload that video. And then that can be live streamed as well. For those of you that don't know, I've had a series of interviews that I've published, including last week's episode number 151, with Jason Duncan, and video marketing, they were live streams over Facebook and YouTube simultaneously. I have since stopped doing that. Because I have found that comments, during live streams, disrupt podcasts, I want to speak to you, as a podcast listener, I don't want to have you to have to listen to a conversation I had on Facebook live with someone not listening to the podcast, if that makes sense. I want to be true to the content but for the content medium, but for those businesses that are strapped with resources, and they just want to get out there. It is very, very attractive. And podcasts are really easy to launch i i plan to offer more content around that in the near future. So that's it, b2b influencer marketing. Like anything else I talked about. It's not rocket science, it requires a different mindset, it's going to require time to do research, it's also going to require time to do that one to one outreach, if I my company can be of any help. This is a service that we do offer. I used to have a dedicated influencer marketing services page. And I think a lot of people misunderstood what that meant. But this is part of what we do. And part of what we do is also offer coaching, where I get on the phone with you, or video. And I walk you through this process. And as you do this, I answer the questions that inevitably are going to come up so I don't pitch. I pitch my book a lot, because well, it's it's coming out. It's it's hot and sexy right now, I don't really pitch my services a lot. But I just want to let you know that if you need to help that is something that here at PDCA. Social we do. So that is it for a another episode of the Maximizer social influence podcast. As always, I mentioned this for the first time on episode number 151. We do have a dedicated community in Facebook, it is called the maximize your social influence, you know with Neal Schaffer Facebook group, so please, if you're interested in continuing the conversation, if you have any questions about this, please go there, myself. And a lot of great community members are there to help you. And as always, anytime you hit that subscribe button, anytime that you publish your review, on iTunes or wherever you're listening to this podcast, it really does make a difference. And you will be remembered as well. An influencer of Neal Schaffer. And believe me when I say that, I try to practice what I preach. And therefore, I do actively look to engage and create deeper relationships with those that are my fans and those that support me. So that is it for the episode. I know there's a lot of weird stuff going around in the air. All we can do right now is Be vigilant. Make sure that we are cleaning our hands well, in our household we go above and beyond that whenever we get back from outside we'd gargle our throat we use As normal water, but I suppose using salt water would be even better. I have become even more religious in going to the gym regularly, even though the gym is not the most germ free location. But I think building up my body's immunity and defense through health is something that's important as well. eating properly, getting sleep at night, all the normal things we should be doing, actually the Coronavirus gives us a chance to sort of do a reset on all of our daily habits. And because we're probably doing less travel, whether it's less business trips, less leisure trips, or because our kids are not in school, less trips just to take them back and forth of school. We have more time now more time to learn more time to get recharged more time to take care of our bodies. And I hope whether it's only going to be a week or whether it's going to be a month. I hope you use this time. Well that's my plan. And I don't know how evergreen this episode is going to be a year from now. But I think you know taking care of ourselves so that we can do more is going to be something that post chronic Coronavirus era that we're going to enter. I think we're all going to be a lot more aware of that. So hope you enjoyed this episode. Once again, Any feedback is appreciated. And until next time, everybody make it a great social Day.


Bye Bye