Jan 18, 2022
In Beauty Forum
I have always believed that everyone is influential about something and that sentiment is certainly true within B2B companies. In the B2B marketing world, we’ve all come to understand that buyers trust individual voices more than formal marketing and advertising messages, so finding ways to optimize influence internally is becoming a key area of focus. To drill down into the intersection of employee advocacy and influence, this 1oth episode of Inside Influence features my discussion with Ryan Bares, Global Social Programs Lead: Social Influencers & Employee Advocacy at IBM Systems. Beyond hitting a few key findings from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report, Ryan and I covered a lot of ground including: Increased focus on employees as influencers Importance of senior B2B execs to grow their influence Optimism about influencer marketing at IBM The difference between B2B and B2C influencer marketing How IBM Systems engages with B2B influencers Advice on starting an influencer program at a B2B brand Integrating influencer content with other marketing tactics Opportunities for the future of influencer marketing Check out the full interview podcast here: Below is a highlight transcription of our discussion with the full video interview embedded below. Tell us about your role at IBM Systems and how you’ve been “blazing a trail” in the world of influencer marketing. Ryan: Great question. I’ve been in the IBM Systems business group for the last five years and sort of started this influencer and employee advocacy program there. This was one of the first at IBM in general. We used to bring influential people who had great Twitter reach to our events, but we wouldn’t really talk to them for the next year. Then we realized that we needed 工作职能邮件数据库 something more consistent and about building relationships. So we changed our focus a little bit on building relationships and on employees: how do we get them involved and how do we get them to become influential themselves? In the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, you shared a prediction about an increased focus on employees as influencers. Can you share more about that? Ryan: Yeah, I’m kind of in this interesting position of having a focus on both of these things which is great. I think when we started, roughly five years ago, the focus was really on the external influence or those people that are thought leaders with great reach on social that can connect with our target audience. We realized that at IBM our employees are also great advocates for our brand. They understand the products and the offerings. @ryanbares We still love those relationships and we still develop them, but I think over the last maybe year and a half, two years, we realized that at IBM our employees are also great advocates for our brand. They understand the products and the offerings at a really great level. So we’ve spent some time building training and enablement for those IBMers because it’s not natural for a lot of people to go and be active on social right away. Content coming from an employee gets eight times more engagement than content coming from a branded channel. @ryanbares We’ve realized that with the coaching, enabling the ROI is there, especially when getting our IBMers to advocate for our brand to engage on social in the right ways. We know that branded content on social media in general, is reduced. I think there’s a stat out there that content coming from an employee gets eight times more engagement than content coming from a branded channel. So, we just naturally shifted our focus little bit more from the branded content and the @IBM channels and more on the SMEs, those subject matter experts and some of our other developers at IBM that really have deep knowledge about our products and offerings. I think that they can really connect great on social and through content with our target market, our customers or buyers or business partners. How important is it for senior execs at B2B brands to develop their own influencer footprint? Ryan: Yeah, I go to that stat of 8X. Eight times more engagement. I think senior-level execs are great because they speak on behalf of the brand. We’ve actually leveraged them for some of our events to get out and drive awareness. We see the results when it comes to getting our senior-level executives on board and the team around them to help amplify and drive some of the messaging we want in the marketplace, at least on social media. We see the results when it comes to getting our senior-level executives on board and the team around them to help amplify. @ryanbares I also advocate for anyone that is a subject matter expert to be active on social in the right way. They, as you mentioned, could be influential in one way or another. You don’t have to have the largest reach on social media. You don’t need to have the biggest connection number on LinkedIn. It’s really just about, what can you talk about?