In the age of social media, influencer marketing has become wildly popular—even among B2B organizations. But, unlike the B2C market, it’s not always easy to identify the thought leaders with the most social pull within the B2B community.

So, in today’s blog post we take a look at the characteristics that make someone a great influencer to work with and we also identify a few of our favorite B2B marketing influencers.

Key Characteristics of Top B2B Marketing Influencers

If you’re ready to implement an influencer marketing program, but aren’t sure how to identify potential influencers, we’ve compiled a list of traits to look for. Keep reading.

1. Trustworthy 

A good influencer must always be open, honest and transparent with both their audience and the brands they work with. Consider how it would impact your brand to work with a dishonest, unreliable influencer—it could not only compromise your brand’s reputation but also cause you to lose business.

2. Passionate 

For influencers, their career isn’t just their job, but also their passion. This is the beauty of influencer marketing—it’s driven by real people with real interests and motivations.  Choose someone who is passionate about your product or services and you will see that passion reflected in their audience.

3. Engaging

Top influencers don’t just spew content and opinions out to their fans. They make the time to regularly interact and engage with their followers. This demonstrates a vested interest in the relationship they have with their audience.

4. Socially competent 

Influencers must have a deep understanding of social media. They know which platforms present them with the greatest opportunity, and how to use each effectively. Be wary of influencers who have inactive platforms, inconsistent posts, or inappropriate content.

5. Innately curious

Influencers may be experts, but that shouldn’t stop them from further expanding their knowledge. Most industries are constantly evolving, adapting and growing. For this reason, you want to work with people who are up-to-date on industry news, regulations, and more.

6. Impactful

What truly makes a top influencer is that they’re able to drive action within their fan base. You want someone whose voice is heard and opinions respected. To judge this, vet each influencer carefully and be sure to ask about the success they’ve had with other brands.

7. Expert Intelligence 

Ultimately, the true differentiator of an influencer is superior intelligence. Influencers have established themselves as experts within their industries. Through years of experience and vast amounts of research, they’ve become the best at what they do. They are a voice of authority, and their opinions have weight over their audience.

B2B Marketing Influencers to Follow Today:

Each industry and profession has its own set of social media experts and influencers. Today we introduce you to some of our favorite B2B marketing influencers. Keep reading.

1. Ann Handley (@marketingprofs)

Twitter Followers: 413k

Head of content for MarketingProfs (the go-to source for modern marketing tools, training, strategies, articles, online seminars, discussion forums, and more) and WSJ best-selling author, Ann Handley leads our list of top B2B marketing influencers.

Ann has made it her mission in life is to keep the mediocrity out of content marketing. Throughout each and every one of her published works, Ann strives to deliver practical and actionable writing and content marketing tips that her readers can use to ignite their own success. Unsurprisingly, this mission has garnered Ann as one of the top B2B influencers of today; in fact, she’s even been cited in Forbes as the most influential woman in Social Media and named to ForbesWoman’s list of top 20 women bloggers.

Tweet from Ann Handley, a marketing influencer.

2. Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi)

Twitter Followers: 132k

Joe Pulizzi is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), one of the greatest online resources for all things content marketing. Having founded CMI, Joe has established himself as the top authority on effective content creation and brand storytelling – in fact, he’s responsible for coining the term “content marketing” way back in 2001. Joe has written four books on the topic and is frequently asked to share his wisdom at numerous industry events. If you’re looking for actionable tips for better content marketing, then Joe’s blog and social feed is the place for you.

3. Jay Baer (@jaybaer)

Twitter Followers: 251k

Author, speaker, and President of the consultancy and media company, Convince & Convert, Jae Baer has become a bit of a household name in the content marketing realm. In a word, Jay is a must follow for all B2B marketers. Jay consistently keeps up with his social media profiles, especially on Twitter. At any given time, you can find a surplus of insightful articles, how-to guides, and other entertaining, useful content on Jay’s timeline. And if you’re a fan of relevant, pop culture GIFs, Jay will not disappoint.

Tweet from Jay Baer, one of the top marketing influencers.

Purchase your tickets to the 2018 Growth Acceleration Summit to see Jay Baer speak.

4. Neil Patel (@neilpatel)

Twitter Followers: 269k

There’s hardly a B2B marketer around these days who hasn’t heard of Neil Patel – and having helped found iconic brands like KISSmetrics, CrazyEgg, QuickSprout, and Hello Bar, it’s not hard to see how he’s become so popular.

As one of Forbe’s top ten online marketers, Neil has made it his mission to teach marketers and other business professionals the best practices for growing your business online. Through his personal website, Neil shares some of the most valuable, insightful content around, in ways that are easily digestible to readers of varying skill levels.

Neil’s social media feed mirrors this same tone. Aside from sharing self-made content with his followers, Neil is also gifted in his ability to curate content created by other industry professionals. When he finds a piece of content valuable, he’s not afraid to share it.

Tweet from Neil Patel, a top B2B marketing influencer.

Neil will also be speaking at the 2018 Growth Acceleration Summit!

5. Joe Chernov (@jchernov)

Twitter Followers: 25.1 k

Joe Chernov currently holds the title VP of Marketing at InsightSquared, where he leads his team in successful account-based and content marketing strategies. Like many of our other influencers, Joe is a content marketing wiz; he was even named as CMI’s 2012 Content Marketer of the Year and one of the most creative people in advertising by AdWeek.

Joe is definitely one of the more personable influencers on our list. Sure, he shares a hefty dose of valuable content through his social media profiles, but he doesn’t just focus on marketing tips. His twitter feed is known to boast the occasional political opinion, humorous anecdote, or even some sports insights.

Tweet from a B2B marketing influencer.

For a more in-depth look at influencer marketing, check out this article: B2B Influencer Marketing 101.

Key Takeaways about B2B Marketing Influencers

Tweet us and let us know if you agree with our list of B2B marketing influencers. And also, let us know which other top marketing influencers on Twitter we should follow! For more, checkout out our list of top sales influencers.

Contact ZoomInfo today to learn how our advanced technology and B2B contact database can dramatically scale and improve your marketing efforts.

About the author

Ryan Hadfield

Ryan Hadfield is a content marketing director at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact data solution.

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