How to Find Influencers for B2B Online Marketing Campaigns

From an online marketing perspective, influencer marketing helps expand reach, increase brand awareness, improve SEO, gain credibility and much more. But, identifying influencers is something that many B2B marketers find challenging, especially when dealing with an unfamiliar industry.

Reasoning for this is that influencer identification (if not done using these awesome tools I’m about to introduce) can be extremely time consuming. While influencer marketing can be a difficult task that takes time and expertise, it has proven to be a successful B2B tactic that many companies continue to expand budgets around in 2016.

In fact, this study revealed that 38 percent of B2B customers are influenced by professional colleagues and their network, 22 percent are persuaded by industry experts and 16 percent are impacted by internal influencers.

How to Find B2B Influencers

To help you master the process of B2B influencer marketing, I’ve put together a list of 3 essential tools that should improve the identification process.

For each tool, I will be answering two important questions – what is it? And how can you use it?

BuzzStream Discovery Tool

What is it?

BuzzStream Discovery helps find and research influencers based on industry, keyword or topic. B2B marketers can use this tool to examine influencers that write about a topic to build highly targeted marketing campaigns and a quicker influencer discovery process.

BuzzStream Discovery Tool

How do I use it?

Start by entering a keyword or phrase and BuzzStream will display a list of some of the most relevant influencers producing content around that topic. The more specific you are with the topic, the more targeted your results will get.

BuzzStream CX

For example, one of KoMarketing’s clients is deeply involved in branding, however there are so many elements that go into branding like design, customer experience, employee engagement, etc.

Rather than searching “branding,” we searched much more specific areas like “customer experience” to find 44,000+ influencers who frequently write about the topic.

Of course 44,000 results is a bit overwhelming, which is why there are several filters that help B2B marketers narrow results. These include number of Twitter followers, last activity, domain authority, categories and location.

Depending on what your marketing objectives are, you can customize search results within BuzzStream to find the most valuable influencer opportunities.

BuzzStream Profile

 

B2B marketers should apply filters based on their unique marketing efforts. If you’re looking to find influencers on a topic and establish relationships for potential guest blogging opportunities, sorting by domain authority will improve results. If you are looking to gain social visibility around an industry topic, sorting by Twitter followers might make the most sense.

Dive into each influencer’s profile to learn more about them and figure out if the opportunity truly aligns with the goals of your marketing campaign. Browse their recent posts, see how engaged they are with their audience and understand their posting frequency.

Moz’s FollowerWonk App

What is it?

Followerwonk is a great tool for exploring yours and competitors social media presence.

FollowerWonk

I typically use this tool for four major tasks:

  • Twitter research & analysis: Find out who your followers are, where they are located, what they care about, and when they are most active.
  • Influencer identification: Discover and connect with new influencers, which I will be digger deeper into further in this post.
  • Competitive data: Look into your social media presence compared to others to find any gaps and areas for improvement.
  • Reporting: Generate and share visually appealing reports with internal and external team members.

There are many tactical ways to use FollowerWonk in support of your marketing efforts. In this post I will focus solely on how to use it for influencer identification.

How do I use it?

The “Search Bios” tab allows B2B marketers to search keywords and topics to find relevant Twitter profiles and connect with them right from the application.

You can sort by number of tweets, followers and social authority to help determine the profiles that are most active and engaged with their audiences.

FollowerWonk Content Marketing

The “Compare Users” tab is awesome for competitive research because it lets you compare who you are following to who your competitors are following. You can also compare your followers to the competition. This is a great way to find influencer gaps and missed opportunities.

FollowerWonk Compare Users

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not implying that everything your competitors are doing is better or even right for that matter, but it’s a good way to find out who your competitors think are important in the space.

UPS FollowerWonk Following

For example, when comparing UPS to Fedex, we can see the profiles that are uniquely followed by UPS and by Fedex, and the profiles that both accounts follow mutually. You can then click into each area to view the specific profiles in each category.

Followers of UPS FollowerWonk

In the same way, you can also pull a report comparing followers. When comparing UPS to Fedex, we can see the difference and commonalities of their followers to determine any gaps.

Profile Analysis FollowerWonk

The “Analyze” tab allows you to analyze a user’s tweets, and look at who they follow and their followers. Once you’ve found a variety of profiles (using the other features of FollowerWonk listed above), you can start analyzing their tweets.

Determine their interests and learn more about them like who their most mentioned users are, what domains they mention the most, and their most important tweets.

LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search

What is it?

LinkedIn Advanced People Search lets you view the profiles of professionals on LinkedIn. I find this tool most helpful when the goal is to target influencers and decision makers at a specific company.

LinkedIn Advanced People Search

How do I use it?

Throughout the influencer research process, you will (hopefully) quickly realize the major companies and/or publications that consistently appear for a keyword or topic.

This is where LinkedIn search is especially helpful, as you can type in specific companies and job titles that you want to target.

MarketingLand LinkedIn

For example, when searching for top professionals at Marketing Land, the Community Manager, Founding Editor, and Lead Columnist come up in results.

In the B2B online marketing space, these are all important people that you will want to be connected with. You can also plug in specific job titles and locations to narrow down the results even more.

Supply Chain Management LinkedIn

On the other hand, if you aren’t as familiar with the industry and are unsure of major publications, use the keyword filter in LinkedIn search. The example above highlights the top LinkedIn professionals with involvement in supply chain management.

Final Thoughts

To avoid getting trapped in a bottomless pit of influencer identification, my last piece of advice would be to recognize that influencer marketing is an ongoing process. The list of key influencers that you compile should be a working document that you continuously add to as new targets are determined.

Whether you’re just kicking off your influencer marketing campaign or your looking to make your efforts more efficient, I hope you find these tools helpful!

What tools do you use for influencer identification? Feel free to add suggestions in the comments below.

“The KoMarketing team took our PPC and SEM marketing efforts to the next level. They are a team of thoughtful, creative, and smart people, and they get downright scientific when it comes to measurement and attribution. A true pleasure to work with.”

Will Bernholz — Will Bernholz, Vice President, Marketing Dropsource

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