What it Means to Be a B2B Influencer: Interview with IDG Influencer, Kevin Jackson
Influencer marketing is set to hit record revenue in 2018 with ROI averaging $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer campaigns. B2B marketers have been reportedly increasing spending on influencer marketing by 11%, with top marketing tactics being social media and content marketing. As marketers are putting more emphasis on influencers, they need to establish protocols and best practices when working with thought leaders.
Today, we asked one of our top IDG influencers, Kevin Jackson, to sit down with our SMS Social Media Director, Ginevra Adamoli and discuss what it means to be a B2B influencer. And, how brands should nurture relationships with influencers to deliver the right value to clients, while keeping influencers fully invested in the brand.
An influencer is a thought leader in a specific topic that is regarded as such in a community, whether on-line, on social channels, or off-line. Through their authentic voice they inspire and influence others.
- Debunking the myth of influencers
Ginevra: Why are clients still confused on what and who an influencer is?
Kevin: The idea of what and who is an influencer is a real problem. Many clients still don’t understand it, even influencers have a hard time accepting that they are indeed influencers. Analysts have been historically associated as being the experts in specific topics. Their expertise was suddenly disrupted by the emergence of independent thought leaders who found in social media a platform to express their knowledge. These analysts or reporters did not like the idea of their expertise being compared to someone on Twitter and neither did they wanted to be called “influencers.” This battle of expertise has led to confusion and misconception of what brands perceive to be an influencer. Suddenly, companies expected an expert in a very niche vertical with 10 years of experience with one million of followers on Twitter. This is not possible and neither valuable at the ROI level.
- Talking the same language
Ginevra: What is the main challenge when working with B2B marketers?
Kevin: There is a lack of communication. Marketers and technology influencers speak two different languages. You need a marketer who is able to communicate clearly the brand message (e.g. cloud) and an influencer who is able to understand how you approach technology on a podcast or a Twitter chat.
- Don’t ask me to do it for free in email!
Ginevra: What are marketers doing wrong when approaching influencers?
Kevin: Sometimes I receive last minute requests to go to an event the upcoming week, or to write a blog post ASAP. Then, I don’t hear anything for 2 weeks despite follow up e-mails. Other times, marketers assume I will do something for free neglecting the fact that I have a job and prior commitments. Brands and marketers need to take the time to get to know their influencers and establish real relationships. The more we get to know the brand with opportunities to talk to their staff, the more we can deliver the right value on our channels. There is a tendency to send out e-mails and ask to spread out a brand message with no context around the campaign or goals of the client. This decreases the real impact an influencer could bring to the table.
- Build relationships with your influencers
Ginevra: What do you expect from brands and marketers when working together?
- Clear communication. Share goals, opportunities to talk to customers or clients, share materials we can include in our promotion.
- Advanced preparation. Provide any context to the campaign in advance and call me to go over the process.
- Frequent communication. Communicate by e-mail, calls, and social on a regular basis to keep the influencer up-to-date on any changes.
- Strategic integration. Include the influencer in communications with the content team, digital strategists, or other internal teams to get a better sense of what the client wants and campaign message.
- See the ROI for influencers in B2B
Ginevra: I receive this question quite often from clients, “What is the ROI in influencer marketing?”
Kevin: The real ROI is engagement, especially in B2B. We are not selling a CIO in buying the next cloud solution, but we are shaping their perception through content and our expertise. I get so many people who have read something I wrote sponsored by a client. These people will personally follow up by e-mail asking me more about the solution. Then I connect them with the client directly. That is something you might not quantify but it is a direct prospect due to the engagement of content and social conversations.
Kevin Jackson: Kevin is a tech and cloud veteran with decades of experience and prestige. In addition to taking advanced technology and applying it to business and mission challenges, Kevin also writes a popular tech blog to give tips and advice on emerging technology. Connect with Kevin:
Ginevra Adamoli, PhD: Ginevra Adamoli-Kalbli is the Social Media Director for IDG Strategic Marketing Services. She oversees the global social business striving to create a consistent and constant consumer experience across all social channels. Ginevra holds a PhD in communications from Florida State University, where she specialized in social media and advanced digital analytics. Connect with Ginevra: