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Client growth

How influencer marketing can make a difference to your business

Influencers are the latest buzz topic in the field of marketing and communications, and my latest ideation around that is ‘how does it translate from B2C brands to B2B’ and what is most effective. 

Quick dictionary definition- “Influencer marketing” is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people and organisations, my cynical side is saying it’s basically buying posts from people who have taken years to build up thousands or hundreds of thousands of followers! Case and point Kylie Jenner making $1m per post…! But when it’s comes to marketing a business though, there are tried and tested methods that work. 

Some more background; the levels of influencers are named as follows: Mega: 1 million + followers, Macro: 100,000- 1 million followers, Micro: 10,000- 100,000 followers and Nano: 10,000 or less followers. 

‘Influencer relations’ is different, it’s about building relationships specifically and the purpose isn’t always brand to the influencer, it can be fans, partners, or clients or having banter on twitter with another football fan for example. 

In the world of B2C, PR agencies and departments are wanting influencers to endorse their brands and will pay money for that to happen. Contracts are usually drawn up following an agreed brief, more details below as you read on. 

As I’m interested in how the negotiation works and set-up of brands and instagrammers words, I’ve gone out to some accounts I follow and asked for their opinions and insights. The results were so mixed and the ASA’s rules came up, they have only defined certain aspects of influencer marketing (see link) so a lot is still unclear. The most succinct description communicated was as follows: An #AD was always paid for, but #Gifted and #PR samples are given (free) but in return for content, that content would have to be approved by the brand prior to posting. There’s usually a written brief, key messages and hashtags, photographic style and comments, tags and timing that need to be used and final approval needed. 

Interestingly sometimes, so I’ve been told, brands don’t always like the photos or copy and demand changes or reject the content, even though the influencer has thousands of posts in the same style shown publicly on their feeds. It’s disappointing that fees are being discussed before thorough research is being conducted. 

In the B2B sector, I believe influencer marketing is defined in a variety of ways, yet all publications and articles state how incredibly important it is to every marketing mix and that it should be a big part of every marketing strategy. It’s another channel that needs careful consideration and its own internal discussion and planning. One article I read, defined B2B influencer marketing as ‘an area of marketing that focuses on working with key leaders to drive or showcase a brand message. It is also often said that influencer marketing B2C gets results within 30 days, but B2B can be six to twelve months. 

Some opinions are that the main audience groups for B2B influencer marketing are your clients and your team, whereas others have discussed credible industry experts adding value to your content. Your clients and your employees are two massive ‘influencer’ audiences who can or will speak volumes for you- can they succinctly discuss your business’ values and best case studies? I think that all three of the above audience groups (customers, team and credible industry experts) need to be communicated to clearly in order for them to repeat the messaging to their networks, but for your business to be actually doing influencer marketing – I think one-to-one business to market expert communication – is the definition of B2B influencer marketing. 

I also believe it could be argued that it isn’t a new section of your marketing strategy, and it’s something all businesses are doing anyway but now it’s a topic that needs focus and it will, in time, reward your business. 

The topic can be boiled down to really excellent communication; using word of mouth well and spot-on content marketing to generate buzz. This is something I hope all businesses are currently doing, and it is also something I’m able to help with, I wrote an earlier blog on communication here too. 

Something I learned in my early days of sales is that ‘people buy from people’. I’m Zara Deegan, Founder and Director of EXT MKTG, get in touch for more views and insights into marketing your business or brand. 

References: 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/shamahyder/2019/07/02/why-influencer-marketing-is-the-next-hottest-thing-in-b2b-marketing/#29fc224c1192

https://cmo.adobe.com/articles/2019/3/5-tips-for-successful-b2b-influencer-marketing.html

https://www.pressboardmedia.com/the-top-100-instagram-influencers-in-the-world/
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Client growth

Getting communication right

In my first article I wrote about making the right decisions for your business, and then touched on how to communicate your message. There’s a reason there are A LOT of communications specialists around: because the discipline is so broad. Internal and external communications both have unique considerations and corresponding channels, so in this article I want to focus on HOW a business leader can deliver news internally.

The nuances in communications – for instance, sharing a piece of good news versus announcing a new company strategy – need to be considered very carefully, as it is vital that the message is delivered coherently, considerately, and with care. This may sound obvious to those of you who are GOOD communicators, but I’ve been in company announcement sessions looking at the Partners of my firm asking myself “What the hell are they on about?!”, and wondering how what they’re saying impacts the rest of the team. 

I actually find that internal communications can be muddier than external. In part this is due to the levels of familiarity that colleagues, sub-teams, teams, departments and offices all have with one another, not to mention the range of communications channels. From memes to memos, from signage to WhatsApp message – a new starter might find it takes him or her quite a while to figure out what the hell is going on, unless internal communications has been carefully strategised. 

An organisation’s size and composition and the frequency in which its leaders want to communicate are likely to be two of the biggest influencing factors when it comes to deciding upon the most appropriate communication channel. Some of the most popular platforms in use at the moment include: 

  • Slack – calls / messages 
  • Workplace by Facebook – newsfeed, calls / messages, you can do polls, set-up events – like facebook for people, but for businesses to use. 
  • Microsoft Teams – calls / messages. I tried to find other features, but the only feature that makes it unique is that it’s part of the Office 365 which your business may have anyway so it’d be free but so are most others! 
  • WhatsApp – calls / messages 
  • Skype – calls / messages 
  • Moxtra- software that is white-labelled and customisable- so everything from calls and messaging to task management and document storage. 
  • HipChat – developed by Atlassian – calls and cloud storage, apparently has good security and good search functionality 
  • Trello – subsidiary of Atlassian – ‘collaboration tool’ 
  • Atlassian – project managing / comms
  • Blink – messaging and cloud storage
  • Fuze – calls / messages 
  • Zoom – calls / messages 
  • Chatwork – business social networking tool for small businesses (chats can be conducted privately or in a group. Chatwork also offers task management, video calls and CMS). 

From what I’m aware, all chat platforms have the ability to have groups set with a topic, just like WhatsApp group, so rather than being a ‘new’ feature, it’s something we have all come to expect. But in terms of business software, the list is much, much bigger! And when it comes to server storage, collaborating on live documents, accounting, expenses, HR, project managing, social media management, website software, marketing mailers and CMS, the list is endless! 

We spoke to Communications & Engagement specialist and famed copywriter Helen Greenwood and asked what she considers to be the three most important aspects when developing an internal communications strategy. Helen’s response was “audience, relevance and timing”. She followed on to say: “People are far more likely to pay attention to a piece of communication if it’s clear that it’s relevant to them – for example, if the content of the communication influences how they feel or act. That means businesses have to think very carefully about how to craft and position their communications if they want their target audience to take notice. As most organisations comprise multiple audience groups, this may mean that one message has to wrapped in a range of ways in order for it to land successfully and achieve the intended results”.  

To discuss your communications issues or complaints for how communication travels or gets lost within your organisation, please get in touch with us via Contact button, we’d love to help.

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Client growth

What is External Marketing

By definition, external marketing is the action of promoting your business to people outside your business, otherwise it’s internal marketing and that definitely has lots of benefits too. External Marketing takes many forms, it can be your website, social channels, market research, advertising to clients or your target audience, media coverage etc, the goal is attracting new business and winning more clients. Everything that is communicated to people outside your business needs to be ‘bang on the money’. The communication has to speak directly to who it’s targeted to. This doesn’t always have to be for commercial gains, it could be to attract new talent to your company or to celebrate a milestone or an amazing new hire. I like to think of it as beating a large drum! 

My company, External Marketing, helps businesses get better known – my five word strapline! I think it’s clear and self-explanatory what we’re about, the objective is to tell my clients that our specialities are broad but ultimately we will help them ‘get better known’. I started my career in the press office of Vivienne Westwood, which began to teach me how my marketing degree was relevant in the real world. Having the brand/media alliances for the right product was the main prerogative, but the day-to-day for the interns was juggling the product across the publications. I continued for four other roles in PR before moving into Business Development and then in roles that crossed over Business Development, with PR and Marketing. Big lessons were learnt along the way and I’ve tried to learn as much as I can from every experience, looking at how businesses attract clients, win business, market themselves properly, use various channels of communication and what to do when you’re busy vs when you’re quiet. 

Positioning your business right is something that needs time, care and precision. Time needs to be spent thinking carefully about who your business is and where you want to be positioned.

According to the citation on wikipedia – the most detailed explanation I could find on market positioning- it is ‘one of the most powerful concepts of marketing’ and I fully believe it is. Cutting to the chase – positioning is about the perceived value of the product/service/brand, what does it feel like it should cost, what do you think the experience with ‘it’ will be? If you bought an iPad, you’re buying an expensive tablet with cool packaging, via an easy and engaging e-commerce site or from a gorgeous Scandinavian style store filled with plants and ‘tech gurus’ but was it worth it in hindsight? What’s included in the price is the care that Apple has taken over the product hardware and software but also the after-sales and free service you get while the product is under guarantee but most importantly, you’re buying into their brand and the brand they’ve built attracts customers like bees to nectar; flipping the traditional model of selling to customers. 

This is relevant to your business because if think about Apple or another company or brand you admire when you think about your positioning – what do you like/ don’t like and what might work, then get in touch, and we can discuss that further. If you get your positioning right, the bees will come in swarms. 

I’m Zara Deegan, Founder of External Marketing, get in touch via the Contact button.