In my second post about B2B Influencer Marketing for CMS Connected, I dive into what tools are available for both hands on and strategic B2B marketers to use for finding and utilizing influencers. A great deal of the information I came across in my search and discussions with software sales team members actually reminded me that one of the most important tools in the B2B influencer marketing arsenal has less to do with the ability to process raw digital data and more to do with the skillset required to utilize and transform that data to actual real results.
- The content marketer
Several blogs I have read on the topic of B2B influencer marketing mention how great certain softwares are for saving time. What I might ask these bloggers is: “Just what is MORE important than connecting with customers when it comes to content marketing”? What we should be thinking about saving is not time, but our social reputation – which is maintained by authoritative and relevant engagement. Gone are the days when doing the “social media” was a task saved for the intern, and I must say the same about leaving your social engagement to a software tool. Best practices in content marketing, or really any successful marketing now, call for a real person at the other end of the Tweet; someone who is as much invested in their customers and what their customers are interested in as they are in the sale. That’s why I chose “marketers” as the #1 tool for B2B influencer marketing. The content marketer is ultimately the top tool in finding and nurturing influencers – software is of course necessary and can help but it should never be a substitute for real human interaction.
I have used some very expensive tools and some not-so-expensive tools for social media, and what I have found is good ol’ Twitter pretty much has you covered when you want to learn about your audience, engage with them and monitor if your efforts are working. While LinkedIn has taken away the ability to monitor the response of posts in LinkedIn groups, which used to be a very valuable tool for B2B content marketers, Twitter has consistently remained a valuable tool for B2B marketers over the past several years. The simple plugging in of a hashtag or keyword will give you volumes of information – from who the influencers are in that industry to what today’s breaking news is on the topic – something Google alerts or your inbox full of newsletters may miss – and that same hashtag will let you can see what your content marketing competitors are up to as well. The only thing you really can’t do in Twitter is set up future posts – this can easily be taken care of by a tool such as Hootsuite. More and more we are finding that setting up future Twitter posts is not necessarily the best way to do marketing, and there are some famous documented marketing fails on this point – so essentially using Twitter – not any elaborate or expensive tools may be the way to go, especially for smaller scale B2B marketing.
- Little Bird
Little Bird is a tool that works – kind of like a Klout but in my opinion much
better – to find influencers on Twitter. Little Bird’s software created, before my eyes, what had taken me three weeks to do for one particular topic area. It honed in on just the right influencers – for a very sophisticated topic I will add – and gave me a great deal of information on each one. Pretty much all of the other information and analytics that their tool offered was relevant as well. For B2B industries where you have a new content marketer who doesn’t know much about the industry, I can see Little Bird as an invaluable tool. A note to marketing directors and CMOs out there – Little Bird won’t do the marketing for your team. It’s a portion of what a B2B content marketer needs in their toolkit to be successful. It’s the first tool I have come across that successfully did in moments what I did in three weeks.
The complete article can be found here (including some of the tools I researched that did not make the cut).