Hiring advisors as Influencers for marketing is a strategy that businesses/brands use to promote their products and services by partnering with popular social media users or bloggers. The brands leverage the trust that social influencers have built up with their following. Recommendations, shout-outs, and contests coming from them are taken seriously and considered reliable by the brand’s potential customers.
When most people think of influencer marketing, they imagine a celeb who’s doing promotion for a clothing store or a beauty brand on Instagram.
This is a classic case of Business to Consumer (B2C). Influencer marketing has a larger role and is more effective in the Business to Business (B2B) space.
Influencer marketing in B2B space is NOT limited to fancy pictures and videos of Instagram and YouTube stars.
It is NOT about getting Cristiano Ronaldo to endorse your product. It is about finding a person your audience trusts. Hiring an advisor or influencer and leveraging that influence to promote your brand and business especially to those areas which were inaccessible before.
In the modern B2B marketing space, its importance is only increasing but that requires a different understanding. . Some of the benefits of engaging with influencers include: expansion of customer base and getting in touch with companies that were previously inaccessible, technology, process, creating partnerships and Joint ventures or even getting information on competition and market trends in general
B2B influencers are not restricted to social media platforms and blogs. They include:
Chambers of Commerce
An industry insider,
a prominent consumer,
a well-known (specialist) journalist
Retirees and previous employees of your target company
Let me talk about retirees. They should be the best people to reach out for:
- Getting inside information about a company- How the decision-making process in the company works, who has the biggest levers etc.
- Opening a few doors through leveraging their relationships
There can be many more applications. Get these retirees ( and previous employees of your target company) to work as consultants, advisors and they are worth every dollar. As Napoleon Hill said, they have a lot of information locked in their bones. We need to leverage their expertise and relationship to reach our goals.
How do you find them? LinkedIn can be a good place to start your search. . One can approach their ex-colleagues if they are not on LinkedIn.
Retirees and previous employees of your target company know the unique challenges and intricacies pertinent to the industry or sector. They not only dole out information but put you in touch with tons of other connections. I have seen some retired senior-level executives being approached on LinkedIn with the offer to be on the board as an advisor.
Armed with the right information regarding your target company, salespeople can reach out to the right target audience in less time and more effectively.
I also want to share one more interesting way I recommend business owners to reach out to influencers. This is the kind of Freelance economy.
While many platforms like Upwork bring you, experienced people. The best part – one can consult them on an hourly basis.
One such example is Clarity (https://clarity.fm/browse) where you can hire experts on a minute basis. You will be surprised to find founders, former CEOs, authors, and more.
On a lighter note, I was surprised to find Ryan Holiday, an author on Clarity. I have read his two books, “The Obstacle is the Way ” and “Conspiracy”. He writes on marketing, culture, and the human condition. The idea of picking his brain for $33 per minute intrigued me. I may hire him if he is still around on Clarity.
It is not that only famous people are lending their expertise. I, too, have been approached by a couple of agencies. Based on my LinkedIn profile and connections, they wanted me to give out some information regarding my experience in industries like medical devices, life sciences, Oil and gas, Business process and systems, etc. I was approached for Business systems and process consulting but you can approach people like that who can open the doors to a market, group, larger customer/company.
Influencer marketing is gaining prominence as an important B2B marketing tactic. The rise of micro-influencers, an increasing need for specialists, and the rise of employee influencers are all examples of B2B marketing. Running a business has become very complex and business owners and CEOs of SMBs must leverage these influencers to grow their business faster and make it more profitable.