Whether you’re just starting to explore B2B influencer marketing efforts or you’re well on your way to putting influencer content in place, there are myriad articles that can help you plot out the major steps to success. However, many of those articles don’t quite dive deep enough into some of the often overlooked yet oh-so-critical details that happen in between those big steps.
Sometimes, that understanding comes from experience. In this case, it comes from our experience, and we’re happy to share it so you can avoid common mistakes and missteps along your B2B influencer path to success.
You Need More B2B Influencer Meetings Than You Are Thinking
Whenever anyone talks about the process of getting B2B influencer marketing efforts off the ground, they make it sound like all you need is to identify influencers, reach out, agree on the scope and then content magically appears. While that process is kind of true, it’s also not the whole picture either. It actually leaves out a plethora of meetings.
No one wants another meeting on their calendars, but conducting a lot of the right meetings is essential for B2B influencer marketing success. Instead of one big meet-and-greet-scoping-contracting-kickoff meeting, schedule smaller, more intentional meetings:
- Initial meet-and-greet: You’re forming a new business relationship, so use this time to get to know the influencer on a personal and professional level. Talk about what they like to create, what they don’t like to create, the topics they usually cover, their upcoming availability and overall bandwidth. Also, let them get to know you and/or your team, too.
- Vision/goal setting meeting: After the meet-and-greet call, come back to the table with some initial ideas and options for how you and the influencer can work together, but make sure there’s room for the influencer to ideate and brainstorm, too. This should be the time you both talk about goals for working together.
- Formal scoping call: Once you and the B2B influencer are on the same page for the vision and goals, put together a formal scope of work based on your conversation. Be sure to include essential information, like what exactly is being created, when and for how much. Then, go through all of it, together. Make sure any gray area is cleared up and all questions are answered.
- Official project kickoff: Formally kickoff the project(s) to signify the official start of the scope. Get on the same page about deadlines, assign a main point of contact for the influencer, and set creation expectations. While this seems like it might be over-the-top, it’s also creating a fresh start and giving everyone clear direction on how and when to move forward.
- Regular check-in meetings (as needed): Depending on the final B2B influencer scope, you may want to have weekly, biweekly or monthly check-ins, just to make sure you’re on the same page and give yourselves the opportunity to talk through any details or issues that may come up along the way.
Of course, your meeting cadence and schedule will be completely dependent on what you’re using B2B influencer marketing for and what the scope of engagement looks like. Just be prepared to have a lot more meetings than you might think are necessary.
Also, remember to keep every meeting focused on accomplishing next steps or a specific set of goals. That way, meetings will never feel excessive and they’ll be more like working sessions instead.
Tailor Your B2B Influencer Marketing Ask to the Influencer’s Talents
Not all influencers are writers. Not all influencers are speakers. Not all influencers are social media and content marketing strategists. It’s actually incredibly rare to find a B2B influencer who can do it all, so don’t jump into B2B influencer conversations with the expectation that they can. Instead, tailor your content to their talents.
While this may seem obvious, it can be hard to remember when you have a big vision and finally find a B2B influencer who is a great match for your goals and organization or get wrapped up in brainstorming. Of course you’re going to want them to create all the amazing things and be part of exciting co-creation efforts! They also might feel pressured to live up to those expectations or feel like it’s a deal-breaker if they can’t, so don’t put them out there to begin with.
Just keep in mind that you likely aren’t the world’s best writer, editor, videographer, speaker, social strategist and content marketing specialist all rolled into one, so don’t expect your B2B influencers to be the same either.
Be Prepared to Get B2B Influencer Content in Other Ways
Let’s say you have tailored the influencer marketing ask to the influencer’s talents, but they don’t have the bandwidth to take on a huge ebook project, or the availability to put together a full webinar, or even the time to put together a blog series. That’s ok, because you can get creative with how B2B influencers can create and contribute:
- Interview B2B influencers: Have them get camera-ready and sit down for an old-fashioned interview. Give them questions that can help you get the content you need to piece together an ebook, a social series, blogs and more. As a bonus: because they’re camera-ready, you can slice up and reuse the recordings of that interview, with influencer permission, of course.
- Have them record short-form videos: B2B influencer contributions don’t have to be massive all the time. Simply having a great idea + short-form video can be really powerful. This is exactly what Oracle Marketing Cloud’s did for their On the Fly series, where B2B influencers recorded short pieces of marketing advice while on the go in airports, train stations and more.
- Use a staff writer to work with the influencer: Sometimes you might just have to help the B2B influencer get their thoughts out of their head and onto paper, which may take a staff writer working directly with them. In this scenario, have the writer set up multiple working sessions with the B2B influencer. Then, the staff writer can bring the influencer’s own words to life.
Yes, it might be ideal to have B2B influencers create and deliver their own content from start to finish, but that just might not be possible all the time. Thankfully, there are plenty of backup options to still get that great B2B influencer-originated content.
Treat B2B Influencers Like a Contractor and a Client
While you may technically be “hiring” a B2B influencer, they don’t work for you. They’re working with you. Instead of viewing the relationship as you hiring someone to create content, look at your B2B influencers more like contractors or clients. It’s a mutual working relationship that takes a lot of work, and they have other clients and a whole other business of their own to run, too.
Also, B2B influencers are very, very connected to a much larger network, and they know through the grapevine who is great to work with and who they wouldn’t work with again.
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