Whilst the idea of using influencers is hardly new or innovative – it goes hand in hand with the principle of marketing your business via good word of mouth – it is certainly something that has hit the zeitgeist in a big way in 2017.

You can barely glance through any well-known person’s social media accounts without catching them singing the praises of the latest purchase they’ve made, perhaps along with a handy link for any of their followers who want to make the same purchase. When done well, it’s a great way for you to reach a huge target market by only having to interact directly with one person and their team.

While influencer marketing has readily apparent benefits for a B2C company, for many, the question still remains: can influencer marketing have a valued position in a B2B company’s marketing strategy?

We think it can, but the issue is a lot less clear for B2B companies than it is for their B2C counterparts, where marketing strategy tends to be a simpler affair. So, here are some of the basics you need to consider if you want to start developing influencer marketing strategies for your company.

Work on your brand story

Before even thinking about trying to find influencers you need to make sure your brand story and message is airtight and well defined. Make sure you have the story of your brand down, and that you are not only considering how this story is relevant to your target audience, but that this content is built with your influencers in mind.

Know your audience

It is important to know exactly who your target buyers are. You need to ascertain who the decision makers are in your target businesses who will have the final say in whether or not to buy what it is you are selling. Finding out who this target audience is will then allow you find out where this audience goes for information.

Find their influencers

Finding out who your target audience uses as trusted third party sources of information will allow you to pinpoint with greater accuracy who the most effective influencer will be to reach them.

Look for people who are experts on topics that relate directly to your business. Find out who your target audience follows on their social media channels – particularly LinkedIn – and follow them as well. Make a point to search regularly through twitter and follow people relevant to your product / business. Engage with these people on their social media and see if they have blogs you can interact with in a meaningful way.

Don’t just look for the mega popular people with the most followers either, and try to focus on people who have more actionable than vanity metrics. When finding influencers for your B2B company, a deft hand is better than broad strokes. It is better to look for highly niche focused influencers who offer opinions on specific issues that you know you can trust than a broad strokes person with a large audience but small credibility