How do you distinguish your solution so that it resonates with your audience and makes your B2B customers see your company as an innovator and a thought leader? Does the solution require increasing the number of channels or the frequency of promoting your message, or is something more required? How can you accelerate the adoption of your content, instead of training prospects to tune out your brand? If you understand that the magical solution is somewhere between exposure and authority, you’re halfway to understanding the weapons at your disposal. What is often overlooked is that people trust people, as @jaybauer states in his presentation, The 8 Things that Influencers Can Do for You “People Trust People, Not Brands”. Understanding how thought leaders and trusted influencers help amplify your content and improve the credibility of your brand is the first step in incorporating Influencer Marketing within your overall inbound marketing strategy.
Influencer marketing can easily become that all-important differentiator, one essential to reaching your business audience. Your inbound marketing strategy must take full advantage of all the avenues at your disposal. After all, influencers aren’t just customers; vendors, stakeholders, manufacturers, distributors, value-added resellers (VARS), industry analysts, journalists, digital marketing professionals (blogs) and other third parties can all be leveraged online. So, why should influencer marketing be part of your overall content marketing strategy?
1. Market Influencers Open New Markets and Market Niches
Third party endorsements often uncover new opportunities in new markets and new market niches. Sometimes these opportunities are immediately obvious and other times they require some additional investigation. However, the end result is that it’s common that an outside source will endorse your product or service for a new application, or for a portion of your market you either weren’t aware of, or never thought of pursuing.
2. Market Influencers Are Independent and Non-Biased
Third party adoption of your product or service can be both a positive and a negative, which is why it’s critical that your company remains ever vigilant and watchful of its online reputation. Influencers are independent third party arbiters and are non-biased. They can fully endorse your product or knock it down a peg. However, if you take a proactive approach within your inbound marketing strategy, then you’ll be able to engage these third parties directly. Ultimately, the solution involves building a network of high-value contacts that will vouch for your product and service offering.
3. Market Influencers Add Credibility
Potential customers aren’t willing to rely solely on your company’s declaration and claims of excellence. They need more. They want to hear from like-minded individuals, ones who’ve used your product and ones who are able to tell a story. Influencers add instant credibility by building common ground between themselves and any new prospect thinking of using your product. Today’s customers aren’t looking for “me-too” product claims; influencers remove these redundant and useless declarations entirely.
Customers want insight from like-minded professionals.
4. Market Influencers Increase Brand Awareness
It’s wrong to assume that only the most influential market players can make a difference. This simply isn’t the case. Any individual online with a substantial following is worthy of your time. Influencers build brand awareness by sharing what’s most appreciated about your company. They provide a ready-made source of contacts and can instantly get your product in front of new prospects, ones you may never have been able to reach before.
5. Market Influencers Use Story-Telling to Create Leads
Influencers always start by defining how they benefited personally from using your products. This is the perfect soft sell, the perfect story and the ideal way for your content to generate low-cost business leads. Think about the impact that comes from an endorsement of someone who isn’t an employee of your company. Now think about how that endorsement is propagated across the internet through social media.
Influencer marketing is a must-have. Having it play a critical role within your content marketing strategy will go a long way to building a stronger online reputation. Build that network of contacts and use their insight within your content.