One of my Facebook friends, who is also a journalist, recently posted a status update which said, “Of all things I have to be grateful every morning, the greatest one is that I’m not an ‘influencer.’”
It says a lot about the world of marketing, sales, media and technology that the word “influencer” can inspire this kind of emotion — and confusion.
I know, for example, that my friend was using “influencer” to refer to someone with a large social media following who partners occasionally with consumer brands to promote their products. This can happen in subtle ways (like having a bottle of wine in the background of an influencer’s Instagram photo) or not so subtle (like a YouTuber getting to test-drive a new car).
The thing is, my friend the journalist represents another kind of influencer, whether he realizes it or not. For years, those in public relations have seen almost anyone editing, writing or appearing on TV as potentially influential to their client’s target audience. More recently, however, we have the B2B influencer, which another kettle of fish altogether.
Unlike the B2C world, a B2B influencer doesn’t have to have a strong social media presence (though they might). They don’t have to create content like blog posts and videos or speak at events (though they might do that too). A B2B influencer can simply be someone close enough to a decision maker — and someone with enough trust and credibility with that decision-maker — to deserve their attention.
B2B influencers can work well beyond a particular organization, or they can simply be a part of a specific company’s buying team. In other words, it’s a difficult area to define. That’s where B2BNN comes in.
We’ve kicked off our next annual Top B2B Influencer program. This an open invitation to our audience to tell us about the people who are shaping their outlook, providing valuable insight and helping them get closer to decisions that advance their companies (and their own careers).
Nominate yourself or someone you see as worthy of our ranking. We’ll be accepting submissions until 5 pm EST on Friday, Dec. 8. Our team will vet the submissions, profile the top contenders and provide the definitive list in early 2018. This is your chance to celebrate the positive power of influence — rather than the social media celebrities in the consumer market — by influencing who your peers will consider influential over the coming year.
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