Will 2022 be the year of the LinkedIn business influencer?
- Lots of ‘Year of’ statements. Bitcoin, AI, Govt transparency and accountability (there’s a wishlist), climate change focus, sustainable energy, inflation, deeptech. In marketing and digital, long form content, LinkedIn Video, Paid social, storytelling, virtual events (still), short video, experience in real world venues
- Micro Influencers and nano-influencers have their moment – expertise outside of traditional organisations is growing (see the Edelman trust barometer)
- Business influence as “marketing amplification” function – i.e. forget old advertising getting results in months or years – business influencers with highly engaged networks can get your message in front of the right people and get results in hours or days
- The growth of LinkedIn video to engage people in feeds and increase brands organic reach – brands need for content in video that is worth consuming – not just for laughs or feels
- LinkedIn influencers are likely to be given more credence than any other social platform in 2022
As we all get back to the office – virtual or physical! – it’s time to think about the calendar year ahead and to consider what’s going to influence business in the next 12 months.
2022 has already been called the “Year of” for many things, including cryptocurrencies, artificial intelligence, sustainable energy and deep tech. But after two years of uncertainty with the pandemic, as well as growing issues of distribution and logistics around the world, what is needed most is better communication and engagement.
So 2022 may just be the Year of the LinkedIn Business Influencer.
So what specifically is a “business influencer”?
I’m being quite specific here when I say “business influencer”, too. This isn’t about Kim Kardashian and the myriad of insta-famous millennials with their filtered photographs, or dance-move enabled Tik-tok videos.
I’m talking about business and product expertise.
I’m talking about people who produce a variety of content, including LinkedIn video, virtual events, blog posts and other paid social media content, specifically to showcase processes, products and ideas that have a specific market or industry fit.
Business influencers tend to be people who accumulate a groundswell of support over time, by sharing useful and interesting content, and they have business experience either as high-powered business executives or as self-made entrepreneurs.
And they are not mere advertisers.
Business influencers are passionate about sharing their expertise and judgement around products and services. Of course they can amplify marketing messaging, but they know how to present ideas in a manner that will engage their audiences. And they can often imagine ways to showcase products and services in a manner that will better communicate value.
More effective engagement for brands
Because of this, business influencers are likely to be more effective in engaging, and communicating with audiences. Customers and stakeholders are more likely to trust advocacy from business influencers, and they are more likely to act on the messaging they receive.
Forget the conversion metrics of traditional marketing and advertising, where you might get results in months or years. Business influencers with highly engaged networks can get your message in front of the right people and get results in hours or days!
The trust barometer should not be ignored
It probably should not be such a surprise that 2022 is likely to be the Year of the Business Influencer in any case.
It continues a trend that’s been around for a long time. Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer has been demonstrating a clear decline in trust of media, governments and companies for some years.
Instead, community confidence is being placed in experts and impartial third parties.
Traditional media and public relations used to fulfill this role, but they are now widely perceived to be compromised. Instead, the appraisal of experts and impartial third parties is considered both ethical and reliable.
And with the rise of services like LinkedIn video – which could be seen to be a counterattack to a lot of the rubbish shared on 10-15 second video services – there are now easily consumed content channels for business influencers to share content that will help people build and sustain their companies after two very difficult years.
Ah. But how do you find A BUSINESS influencer?
Yes there’s the problem. And it matters both for suppliers of products and services as well as companies looking for those products and services. Because suppliers need to align themselves with influencers that will be trusted for the markets and products they serve, and organisations that need products and services have to find the right influencer to get the best recommendations.
Fortunately, whether you’re a business that wants to market your products and services, or a business who needs to find a supplier, it’s the same process you should follow, when finding an influencer. (Efficient!)
Setting up your search
First you need to establish the region where you want your products and services to be delivered.
Choosing an influencer based in Italy when the services are going to be delivered in Brazil would be pretty unproductive. So think about a list of locations and consider whether you want to use different influencers from different countries, or just one macro-influencer who is respected in many countries.
Next you need to think about the product domain. What kind of product or service do you need/specialise in? Are there any keywords you can think of that would describe the product itself or the outcome of the product?
Then have a look on social media. Use the LinkedIn search engine, and maybe the Twitter or Instagram searches and see if you come across any hashtags that describe what you need. What do you come across? Are there any hashtags that are different from your keywords?
LINKEDIN IS THE SLEEPING GIANT
The very nature of LinkedIn is that people are looking for business news, and reliable information that will help their business. And it’s certainly likely that business influencers operating on, or with LinkedIn, are going to be given more credence than business influencers operating only on their own platforms.
So it makes sense that businesses that want to engage and communicate better, will probably want to work with LinkedIn business influencers.
So I’m calling it.
I think 2022 will be the Year of the LinkedIn Business Influencer. And I think now is the time to establish connections with such influencers, and help your business to thrive. What do you think?
Anthony J James is the CEO and Founder of InfluencerActive. With over 3.6 million followers on LinkedIn, he is well known for his entrepreneurial vision, creativity and flair for commercialising innovative ideas. He has been responsible for sales, marketing and communications for large enterprises, as well global agencies. He was named as The Most Influential Thought Leader in the Asia-Pacific, 2018 and #1 Marketing & Advertising Professional in Australia on LinkedIn.