We see them everywhere, all the time, and hear about them even more than that. Influencers. These social media-savvy people can convince their massive followings that something is cool, breakthrough, or life-changing, seemingly without even trying. And while you probably have a pretty specific image in mind when thinking about influencers, this business is about more than selling out a new lipstick shade in minutes online or starting a new funky trend.
Influencer marketing is a very real approach to reaching clients and establishing business connections. Not all influencers are millennials showing off their expensive accessories and extravagant vacations on Instagram. Influencers can be found in a variety of fields, and chances are good that building relationships with influencers could help your business to make better account-based marketing connections.
LinkedIn took a look at its 526 million users to identify its key influencers.
“Using a combination of data and editorial signals, we uncovered Influencers with the most engagement in 2017. We looked at total engagement (specifically the likes, comments and shares across each member’s articles, posts and videos); growth of followers tied to publishing activity; and number of times the Influencer had been featured in editorial channels, a signal of high-quality content.”
2017’s Influencer list contains corporate and and other thought leaders from government, manufacturing, finance, and more.
So while you may not be a prime minister like Influencer #2, Justin Trudeau, LinkedIn’s list shows there is clearly room for thought leadership across the business spectrum.
Not sold yet? Read on for some benefits of influencer marketing for ABM.
People are willing to trust what they see on social media
Though maybe we sometimes shouldn’t, we tend to trust what we see online. This is especially true when the content is coming from someone we know. . . or at least feel like we know. This is part of what makes influencers so incredibly successful. They build a positive rapport with their followers and share so much about themselves that they feel like old business associates.
In fact, an analysis of influencers and survey of social media users found that about 37 percent of millennials reported having higher trust in a brand after seeing sponsored posts about that brand by an influencer.
Influencer marketing really does work
Like most things that are fairly new and a little risky, influencer marketing can sometimes seem like a bad idea. After all, you are trusting someone else to promote your business. It’s being promoted on dynamic social media platforms where you have virtually no control over the conversation. The messaging is more casual and friendlier than what you’re used to. All of this can make influencer marketing seem like a gamble.
Fortunately, we know that it works. On average, most businesses make about $6.50 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing, and more than half of marketers report getting better quality customers through influencers than other types of marketing.
And influencer marketing is definitely a trend that is picking up speed. According to one study, social media influencer marketing is “the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method. It beat out search advertising and email marketing, and 67% of the surveyed marketers plan to increase their influencer spending over the next year.
You can improve brand awareness without overwhelming
Influencer marketing is a great option to keep your business on the minds of your consumers, especially since it allows for the message to be coming from someone else, rather than directly from your organization.
Instead, you will be in their periphery. They’ll be seeing things about your business, hearing things about your business, and generally learning more things about your business. But since they will be exposed to it on social media through an influencer that they probably already know and trust, it’s less likely to feel like a sales pitch. Some of the pressure is off.
Yes, those accounts you are working with or actively seeking are still hearing a lot about you, but they won’t be hearing it from you, so they are less likely to feel overwhelmed or even annoyed the way they might if you were in constant contact.
Then, by combining the credibility of thought leadership with the focus on key accounts that’s the hallmark of ABM, you can deliver more focused messages to your key customers.
Though this less direct approach tends to be more organic, it’s still important to plan and execute your Influencer-based ABM initiative like any other campaign. Planning and tracking content publication, customer contacts, and other tactics is even more crucial when the sales funnel is longer.
You’ll reach people with a personal appeal
You know that doing business can sometimes be a little stuffy. Influencer marketing allows you the opportunity to soften that approach. Sure, you want influencers to present your business accurately and with facts, maybe even with some statistics. But when that information comes in the form of a social media post, it feels less formal and more personal.
Customers want to feel like they are being appealed to directly, and they are more likely to feel that from an influencer than an automated email or some other form of communication. They trust influencers. They feel like influencers care about the same things they care about. And they tend to be more confident that their favorite influencers will only share with them ideas and brands that they really do trust.
Think about your own social media and the influencers you see there. You know how great they make the brands they promote look? How easy it is to be swayed by their subtle sales pitch? If you want that to be your brand being pitch online, it is time to give influencer marketing a try.
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