According to a recent report from Forrester Research, B2B marketers should increase their focus on influencer identification and engagement when planning their 2013 marketing strategies. While listening to the market remains an important element of an organisation’s communications strategy, actively engaging with influencers gives marketers an opportunity to shape their discussions and in turn have a measurable effect upon key metrics. There are a number of emerging tools that can help brands supplement their online listening analytics with influencer engagement solutions.
TALK IS CHEAP
Influencers are going to talk about your brand and products whether you engage with them or not. Positive or negative, amongst advocates or detractors, there are countless conversations about your company taking place across various online and social media channels. As a result, brands are increasingly moving beyond reactive responses to these conversations and towards proactive engagement with those influential in their key sectors and areas.
IF YOU DON’T, THEN SOMEONE ELSE WILL…
Interacting with influencers allows brands to steer their conversations in a direction that can lead to increased positive sentiment for the company, both amongst these influencers and their networks. Engaging with influencers in the right ways can not only boost the amount of positive dialogue and content created around your brand, but also ensures that your brand is indeed what they are talking about – if you are not working to actively shape these conversations, your competitors may already be doing just that!
According to Forrester’s research, while 71% of B2B firms use listening tools as part of their market research, and 66% do so for brand tracking, just 40% are employing listening tools for influencer marketing purposes. This is because many existing platforms (such as Radian6 and Visible Technologies) are great for listening, but are less robust when it comes to influencer engagement. Furthermore, many of these platforms are overly focused on Twitter – as pointed out by Forrester, Twitter is far less influential than other forms of social media, for B2B audiences in particular.
THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB
There are a number of rapidly-evolving solutions out there to help drive influencer engagement. Your choice of tool will depend greatly upon what it is you are trying to achieve with your strategy. You can read more about measuring the results of influencer marketing here, or if you want to get started on your own influencer program you can download a step-by-step guide here.