At one point or another, we’ve all kept a mental list of the qualities we’re looking for in our perfect match. And over the years, that list has likely changed. Qualities that were once deal breakers (Justin Timberlake lookalike circa 2001), have now become “nice to have” or even “what was I thinking?”.
And over the years, influencer marketing has also matured in its tastes. Instead of simply focusing on the number of people in an influencer’s network, savvy marketers have begun to take a critical look at the qualities that REALLY make for a great influencer match.
At the core, working with influencers is about building solid relationships that last over time, not just a summer fling. B2B brands looking to partner with influencers should focus more on the quality of those relationships, and find ways to create mutual value for the individual experts that they co-creating with.
To help you make the leap from vanity qualities to finding your true influencer match, we’ve compiled a list of some of the influencer qualities you should be adding to your mental list.
First and foremost, partner with influencers that have established credibility in their field, and with their audience. The last thing you want is to partner with an influencer only to find that they’ve made false claims or are not considered to be credible on a specific topic (or as an individual). And trust us, it happens. Which is why we always recommend properly vetting your influencers to ensure that you are aligning with people who will lift up your brand.
One of the benefits of working with influencers is that you gain more direct access to their audience through the content you co-create (and promote). If you find that an influencer has a large network, but doesn’t resonate well with their audience, you’ll want to strongly consider whether the work you do together is well-received by their followers (which should ideally align with your target audience).
One of the key elements to a successful B2B influencer marketing strategy is alignment between the topical areas of focus for your organization, and the content created by the influencers you’re looking to partner with. The influencer’s audience should be used to seeing a consistent flow of content from them the aligns with the topics you’re looking to co-create on with them.
Avid Content Creator
To get the best out of experts, you should find ways to tap into activities that are already a part of their routine. For example, if someone is a prolific blogger, they’ll likely be interested in collaborating in some more long-form content with you. Individuals who are used to creating content on a more consistent basis are often more likely to share their insights in a way that aligns with what you’re trying to achieve.
These days, the term “expert” is thrown around all-too-often. And with all the self-professed experts out there, how can you break through the noise? Align yourself with influencers that have been in the trenches and have stories to tell, that will make them more relatable to your audience.
Identifying and working with influencers that are well-spoken or have public speaking experience can open up so many different content experiences. If you’re looking to test podcasting, video or even co-presenting at an industry event, aligning yourself with influencers that have this experience can elevate your content to a whole other level.
With video overtaking many other forms of media, it’s important to test how that tactic fits into your marketing mix. In addition to working with influencers that are well-spoken, identify which of them are comfortable on camera before assuming their knowledge will translate into that medium.
Many B2B brands find themselves creating content about very complex topics. But, incorporating experts who can offer a less product-centric approach to the content can be a great way to diversify and engage your target audience.
Finding experts who share core-values that align with your mission or CSR initiatives can be a great way to connect your purpose to the content you create with industry experts. It also provides an opportunity to deepen the relationship with the influencers themselves.
As with any relationship, there needs to be good communication between your team and your influencer partners. Spend time nurturing relationships with experts that are eager to participate, see the value in the partnership and consistently deliver on their promise.
While network size should not be the ONLY indicator you’re looking at when selecting influencers, identifying the size of their network will be one indicator of how many users they have the potential to drive to your co-created content. Definitely, consider this quality when making your decision, but weigh it against the other qualities you’ve identified as well.
Have You Found Your B2B Influencer Match?
While this is not a complete list of all of the qualities B2B marketers should be exploring when identifying which influencers to partner with, it’ll give you a jumpstart over the competition.
In the end, your goal should be to engage individuals who share similar values, add credibility to your content and have the makings of a long-term partner.
I’d like to hear from you! It doesn’t matter if you’re just exploring your options or have been partnered with influencers for a long time; what qualities are you looking for most in influencer partners?