Friday, February 26, 2016

3 Tips For B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy

I am sure 99% of digital marketing folks have heard (or read) that influencer marketing is the “next big thing” as we move forward into 2016.

But if you ask some of the seasoned marketers (or veterans, if you will), they will tell you that influencer marketing isn’t a new concept. It has been around since decades, being practised in various forms, which has now evolved into a proper Marketing discipline.

Brands have always used “influencers” in their traditional advertising strategy since decades for positioning themselves and thereby creating a spiral-effect to increase their product sales.

Moving on to the digital era, influencer marketing has penetrated here also in various forms. Digital savvy consumers have steadily and persuasively devoured feedbacks, star ratings, discussions, and many other methods of trying to get product and/or service “recommendations” from other consumers before taking the buying decision.

All these unstructured practices have now given rise to a structured Influencer Marketing model, which is nothing less than a strategic lever to digital marketing. Among other levers such as Social Media Marketing (SMM), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Display Advertising, Blogger Outreach, Link Building, Influencer Marketing also holds a very critical position now in 2016.

So, what are the key steps to an effective Influencer Marketing strategy for a typical B2B company?

1) Identify the Right Influencers

The biggest step is to identify the right influencers in your industry. Naturally, if the influencers that you identify and connect with don’t fit into the persona of your prospective customers, then all your efforts for influencing your prospects will be a waste.

For example, if you are into selling sports gear, your best bet will be to reign in an athlete. If you are launching a line of baby clothing, your influencer would be a famous actress who has had a baby; and if you are into B2B arena, then your influencers would be reputed consultants from your industry, columnists or product reviewers from the most popular online publishers.

You must also understand your influencers’ style of communication and check if it will fit with your overall brand’s communication strategy. This is important because the influencers would want to maintain their style of connecting with their followers; and if they lose this just because they need to “fit in” into your communication style, then all the efforts might just fizzle out.

Case in point: Would you consider Blogger Outreach as one of the Influencer Marketing strategies?

2) Build and Nurture the Relationship

Every relationship needs to be nurtured for it to persist. Once you have identified the right influencers, you need to build your relationships with them and nurture them.

To do this in the right manner, experts advise that you need to put in the personalized touch when interacting with them. You need to treat them as how you would treat your best friend! Take them out for lunches or give them small thoughtful gifts (everyone likes receiving gifts!).

3) Have a Structured Approach

When you are building your influencer marketing strategy, you must also build a structured approach for executing it. Some of the points to ponder are:
  1. Do you have your buyer persona in place so that you can find the right influencers for those target groups?
  2. What are you looking for from the influencers? Is it article-publishing in online publications of your industry? Or is it a product review that should be published?
  3. Do you have quarterly plan for your influencers that you can share and build upon further?
  4. How will you measure the impact?

Every marketer must delve deeper into these points and build a plan of action along with every influencer who is on board with you.

Your turn!

What are other ways to build an effective Influencer Marketing Strategy?

Friday, February 5, 2016

5 Easy Steps for Creating B2B Twitter Strategy

Are you starting your own venture and need to build a twitter strategy? Or is your twitter strategy not so well-rounded? In either case, you can strategically build your twitter community and leverage it as your “owned” communication channel for inbound marketing efforts. You should also utilize its advertising products to achieve your goal-based conversions.

The first and foremost thing is to understand the size of your twitter followership. Naturally, if your twitter followers are relevant and large in number, the engagement rate (total number of clicks, retweets, likes, and replies divided by total number of impressions), your reach and exposure for organic tweets will be high.

Step 1: Build your audience

To build a strong twitter followership start sending tweets with genuine value with relevant hashtags. For example, if you are providing online marketing services, then your tweets would informational around topics related to online marketing. Check out the following tweet from HubSpot and notice the relevant hashtag #SEO:

Remember, hashtags are the new keywords. People looking for information on SEO will see your tweet, know you through your twitter profile and are highly likely to follow you.

This is an ongoing, consistent method of gaining followership through your organic tweets; and this will take a few months to show big time results.

Move on to twitter advertising tools. Here you need to spend some moolah….Yes, nothing comes for free, you see.

For every paid activity on twitter, you must very clearly define your micro goals. This will not only help you in optimizing your campaigns but also help you measure the right metrics to gauge the impact.

Since your objective here is to build relevant followership, use Promoted Accounts and build two sub-campaigns for better optimization and measurement. Build following two campaigns with “Audience Features” as:
  1. Keywords targeting (+Add Keywords)
  2. @Username targeting (+Add Followers)

Also don’t forget to add interests while setting up your two micro campaigns. You will find a lot of details here in this link from twitter for promoted accounts.

Let this campaign run for at least a month to get measurable results.

Step 2: Engage

While your Promoted Accounts campaign is working for you, you can start a parallel campaign for engaging your followers and prospective followers. For this campaign, build promoted tweets with “Tweet Engagement” or “Website clicks or conversions” as campaign objectives. The campaign objective will depend upon your business type and your business objectives.  For example, if you are into IoT for b2b, then you might consider attaching a video file for better engagement. (You could directly choose “Video views” as objective and build a video card to promote). Check out the following tweet from SocialBakers:

But if you are in services sector, use “Website clicks or conversions” as the objective and provide a landing page which is relevant, engaging, and valuable for the visitors. You could also select old promoted tweets format also, but the key to note is to set up your targeting parameters based on keywords, interests and geographies, and ensure to include a landing page that can collect the contact details of your prospects. After all, your end goal is to achieve lead generation!

Tip: Use relevant industry hashtags as your keywords.

Step 3: Nurture

Once your campaign for engaging users has ended, you must plan your nurture campaign by building up similar two campaigns with “Audience Features” as:
  1. Keywords targeting (+Add Keywords)
  2. @Username targeting (+Add Followers)
This time use “Website clicks or conversions” as the objective and bring your prospects to a landing page that offers educational content clearly showing how your organization can solve a business need. Jump to your content marketing strategy and use any of the following content type on your landing page with a strong call-to-action (CTA):
  1. Invite prospects for a Webcast
  2. Invite prospects for a Podcast
  3. Analyst reports which speak about your strengths vis-à-vis your competition
I’d like to re-emphasise here that content marketing is very crucial for generating qualified leads from your social media advertising campaigns. You’ll find more about it here.

Step 4: Re-target/Convert

Let your “Nurture” stage campaign run for about 30 days, and then build another campaign for retargeting and converting your prospects.

At this stage, you could use the “Website clicks or conversions” as the objective to build a campaign using tailored audiences (+Add Tailored Audiences). You can use email ids and/or twitter handles of specific prospects that you have collected from various sources, such as a telephone enquiry, or a campaign from Facebook or LinkedIn.

Here too, bring prospects to a specific landing page, but this time the content should talk about following aspects:
  1. Vendor comparison or product comparison
  2. Successful case studies
  3. Download option for a demo/product trial
  4. Product literature/data sheet 
  5. A 5 minute on-page tour of product features
Tip: With every CTA remember to ask the prospect to register.

The email/phone number database collected from this campaign must now be nurtured further through email marketing strategies before they are categorized as sales qualified leads.

Step 5: Measure

With every stage here, you must remember to measure the performance of your campaigns with the metrics that capture all your KPIs. For example, gauging conversion rate is critical in all the campaigns, but in Step 1 campaign, measure the rate of getting new followers and in Step 2 campaign measure your ER, reach, and exposure.

Similarly, in the Step 5 campaign, calculate your lead qualification rate based on all the prospective leads that were captured right from the beginning of this master Twitter campaign.

Over to you now!

Do you have any more tweaks to suggest that can make an awesome B2B Twitter Strategy?