At Ridgemount, we’ve been working with B2B influencers for several years (and have the scars to prove it).
We absolutely know that working with the right people can produce great results in terms of awareness and direct sales (see our blog on the subject here).
We’ve learnt a lot and here are our ten top things:
1. Make sure everyone shares the same expectations. Influencers are individuals and their quirkiness is often what makes them valuable. They don’t fit neatly into a traditional marketing box and that can be tricky to explain to the finance director.
2. There really aren’t any shortcuts. Finding the right fit for your brand takes time (and involves a lot of video watching). Once you’ve found some likely candidates, take the time to get to know them. Investment here will provide real benefits further down the line.
3. Our influencers care passionately about the channels they run and have their own schedules and planned activity. Last minute changes, products being late to arrive or sudden switches will cause huge problems that can destroy an otherwise great relationship.
4. If you’re working with early-days influencers, who probably still have a day job, be prepared to give a lot of support. Which may well be out of hours.
5. Make sure you have a robust contract in place to make sure issues such as exclusivity, agreed activity and payment schedules are all sorted out at the start.
6. Have the best tracking software possible. There is nothing that proves the worth of our influencers better to sceptical marketing folk than attributable sales.
7. Monitor the comments: influencers in niche B2B sectors tend to have a very invested and chatty audience. Great opportunity for some ad-hoc market research.
8. Negotiate renewal contracts early and be ready for significant changes. Once a B2B influencer starts to gain attention they will attract your competitors and you can quickly find yourself in a bidding war – particularly if you have neglected points 1-5.
9. Be strict in terms of your evaluation criteria. Huge audience numbers can be seductive, but much more important is engagement and results against your targets.
10. Be wary of agents. We much prefer to deal directly with the influencer.