Modern influencer marketing is now a legitimate part of B2B marketing processes – their effectiveness does not stop with the individual consumer audience. This class of marketer is currently one of the highest ROI investments you can make as well. They usually have much less overhead and much more direct reach than traditional marketing outlets. You get to cut out all of the “consultation time” and “strategic thinking” and get straight to the nuts and bolts of the matter – interested, highly qualified customers.

So what you do need to know about these influencers to get the most out of them?

The best social influencers do not have to be professional marketers.

If you need to get an invoice paid, is it better to have a relationship with the CEO or the head of accounts receivable in your client company? If you went with the second answer, you are correct. Surface level thought moves towards the CEO, but it is actually better for business if you have a direct relationship with the top accountant and bill payer.

In the same way, you do not have to look for the most popular pro marketer on Instagram to get the best social influencer for your product. In some cases, the social influencer you need may be a very private person with a highly vetted 250 person Facebook group. How deep are you willing to go? If you don’t have the budget to hire the pros (or even if you do), you may benefit from a bit of deep research into social media profiles and LinkedIn blog history. Don’t go for the obvious connect all the time. Always go for the connect who has the most direct relationship with the audience that you really want.

Loyalty goes a long way with the pros.

Suppose you don’t find the needle in the haystack and you have to compete for the pro marketers on social media. This is ok as long as you understand how to compete. Short term relationships may seem like the way to go, but you end up paying more over time. Loyal, long term relationships with the same influencers is the policy you want to implement in order to save money and raise ROI.

How did you feel when Sprint stole the Verizon “can you hear me now” guy? Aside from the chuckles, you may have thought less of Verizon. Why? Because they couldn’t keep their pitchman happy?

Exactly.

This is just one example of how loyalty between a brand and a pitchman can affect public perception. Verizon stock took a noticeable hit after the fiasco, even though its business did not change fundamentally. The moral of the story is this: The longer you keep your pitchmen, the more stable your brand looks.

Look for data-driven influencers.

The best social media influencers have hard, quantifiable data on their audiences. They may not be able to express themselves in the terms of a Wharton grad, but they have the same kinds of insights. The social media platform does the heavy lifting – all that you really need is access to the statistics that it culls for the influencer.

The tips above will lead you towards the social media influencer who is best for you. Keep these best practices in mind as you vet your new third-party marketer, and you should soon see some great results.

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