The hunt for the B2B influencers

January 19, 2017 10:03 am

We’ve heard a lot about ‘influencers’ and influencer marketing in the past few years, driven by the ability to tap those with large or important social media followings.

But there have always been influencers. For decades PRs targeted influencers. They were mostly journalists.

Before that, historically others were influential. People sought out and engaged with them for that reason.

But today my search is specific. And uncertain. As someone who runs an agency with a number of good writers on our books, you’d think I have a raft of influencers for the same subjects – mainly B2B technology. But I don’t.

Here’s what I need:

  1. Probably a writer, quite possibly a former or freelance journalist. (So far, so obvious)
  2. Knows about B2B technology – has probably covered the area for a while. (Yup, that’s our area.)
  3. Strong social media following – not everywhere but a combination of Twitter, LinkedIn (native content), YouTube, own blog, podcast, other. (This rules out 95 per cent or so of people we know.)
  4. Willing to distribute content (possible by dint of 1 and 2) to agreed channels, at agreed frequency. (This is where it gets even harder.)

On the one hand, this type of thing is a paid gig. Clients have budget.

On the other hand, not only do some people not fit the bill (that’s to be expected) or don’t quite get how this works, but others are actively hostile to this kind of thing, however well flagged and above board.

In the consumer space we’ve seen this kind of thing evolve faster. It’s not been without problems. Social media stars or celebs with large followings have frequently not disclosed why they’re using a certain product on their Instagram, for example.

So in B2B we need to do this right. I’m not worried about that. But getting an influencer who’s a perfect fit? That’s harder.

Will let you know how this search goes, as it’s a search we’ll be doing more often.


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