If you are in the business of selling to other businesses (B2B), how do you target key influencers? Do you use Social Media Influence Scores to target key influencers for your Social Media Strategy? These elements aim to help small business owners in the B2B sector attain brand influencers in social media.
1. Building Your Business Network | Network = Networth
Build your business network where you wish to do business. There is no point having 10,000 Twitter followers in the UK if you want to do business with small businesses in Melbourne or San Francisco. Review your social media network, as you would a database, and understand WHO is in your network and are they the right fit to be an influencer of your business.
2. Analyse Key Target Market Segments
Influence your business customers and prospects in your “target market” to consider using, reusing, trialling your products and services. The field of Buyer Behaviour has evolved from the disciplines of psychology, sociology, economics and research.
3. Business Buyer Behaviour Process
To identify key influencers, we must first map the key components of the buyer behaviour process. That is “The who, what, where, how and why of buying behaviour.” Only by accurately analysing who buys, what they buy and when they buy can we identify WHO and WHAT the relevant business influencers are. For example, in the new B2B buying process the average B2B IT buyer needs to consume five pieces of content before they are ready to speak to sales.
Influencers are people that affect any component of the sales cycle, but are removed from the actual purchase decision. Consultants, analysts, journalists, academics, regulators, standards bodies are examples of business influencers. In terms of “what” influences, this is clearly in the realm of a robust content and engagement strategy and could include Whitepapers, Journal articles, Business Interviews and trusted Industry blogs, publications.
Therefore, each target market segment, must be mapped by which customers buy, where they buy, what they buy and why they buy. This needs to be done for each target segment. For example: small business, medium sized business and/or corporate business. This can be further segmented by industry type, size of business, number of employees, level of technology adoption and so on. Increasingly, what, how and why business buy, is mediated and determined by their online communities, network and organic search.
4. Identify Key Influencers By Target Market Segment
Only after you have defined your key target market segments and mapped your customers buyer behaviour across both traditional and social media channels can you determine your key B2B Social Media Influencers. You may assume a certain business journalist is a leader/influencer in the field of technology. However by mapping the buyer journey, you discover, the influence on IT purchases for SME firms comes from the CEO of the business. Therefore, targeting CEOs through CEO-based online forums/networks or using a CEO-based case study on IT vendor selection may be more influential than getting PR via a high profile technology journalist.
5. Create Inbound Content Marketing Strategy
Business buyers like to search, evaluate, discuss, consider and purchase. Increasingly, this means less emphasis on “traditional push based sales techniques” and more emphasis on a strong content based Inbound Marketing Strategy. While LinkedIn remains the dominant platform for B2B social media marketing, the fastest growing platforms are Twitter and Youtube. It’s one thing to “use” a platform for promotion and another to use it properly as an inbound conduit.
6. Analyse Analytics And Metrics
Social Media Influence measurement via Klout or other such measures for B2B maybe enticing but won’t be effective. The B2B SMI approach requires the same insight and analysis as the rest of your marketing strategy with concentration on targetting, “influencer identification” and “content driven strategy and measurement”. The integration of the “new world” B2B Social Media platforms with searching, analysing and decision making that will determine effectiveness.