By Eric Zarshenas
Social media influencers have become a powerful force in shaping opinions and behaviors. Visual searches on social channels, as opposed to text-based searches, have become an increasingly popular way for audiences to discover new products, businesses, places and services. Combined with the shrinking of traditional newsrooms, working with influencers to help tell a story is an important tactic. Yet it’s often misunderstood.
For years, consumer-facing companies across almost all industries have recognized the ROI of partnering with influencers to build trust, credibility and increase brand awareness among targeted audiences, but B2B tech companies have remained hesitant. However, a targeted B2B influencer approach can be just as impactful.
It may be easy to categorize influencers as just people who dance on TikTok, but this could not be further from the truth. Influencers create content around topics that interest them, be it cooking, programming or microchips, and they have audiences who look to them for information and insights. Li building a media list to target journalists around an upcoming announcement, you can do the same to target influencers whose content aligns with your company’s message or your product’s benefits.
B2B tech companies often have complex products and services that require a certain level of education and expertise to understand. How often have you come across a press release that requires multiple google searches? An influencer with a deep understanding of an industry or topic can distill the technical concepts in a clear, concise and visual way that is valuable to B2B tech companies looking to educate their attentive audience.
To illustrate further how an influencer can help break down complex topics, Allison+Partners built an influencer program for Qualcomm Technologies’s flagship event to promote and explain the company’s latest processors that power premium smartphone, wearable, XR and compute devices. We carefully planned each influencers’ topic area, deliverables and posting platform based on their strengths and knowledge. The result was more than 3 million social impressions and 50,000 social engagements, reaching a variety of relevant audiences across multiple interest areas that would not have normally tuned into the company’s announcements.
For B2B Tech companies, it is crucial to leverage the influencer partnership outside of just social as it may not be the best way to reach the influencer’s audience. Maximize the influencer’s high-quality content and likeness with inclusion in company blogs, the website and hosting/speaking opportunities. Additionally, by negotiating paid usage terms, companies can reuse select pieces of content to target specific customer demographics as an effective and efficient method of third-party validation to your desired audience.
By partnering and educating influencers in their industry, B2B tech companies can tap into their audience and gain credibility and authority. As the role of influencers continues to grow, companies that recognize their value and leverage them effectively will reap the rewards in this rapidly changing media environment.
Eric is a vice president in the technology practice at Allison+Partners. He has nearly 13 years of in-house and agency experience at an international-level leading communication teams in China, Europe and the United States. He currently leads product PR for the agency’s work with Qualcomm Technologies Inc.