Ep 94 – How to Talk to HR Influencers & Thought Leaders #hrtechconf

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Things are really beginning to heat up as we head into the fall budget, conference and marketing season. Along with this extremely busy traveling, conference and sales acquisition season comes HR technology and service companies looking to leverage HR influencers and thought leaders to increase their sales, marketing, and reach. This is certainly on my mind as dinner and meeting invites for conferences are already hitting my inbox for the HR Technology Conference.

Episode 94: How to Work With HR Influencers & Thought Leaders with Mark Willaman (@hrmarketer)

Mark Willaman, who is the CEO and founder of HR Marketer has a spirited discussion with me as we discuss how vendors should best engage HR thought leaders and social media influencers as part of a HR technology or service company’s larger marketing strategy. Mark has written about the subject a ton and I appreciate Mark’s work helping to educate companies, but we have a long way to go.

Mark first talks us through the difference between an influencers and a thought leader. I think this is an important distinction for marketing teams and HR technology companies to consider when evaluating and discussing the kind of professional they are wanting to work with. Influencers work on projects of all shapes and sizes from webinars to white papers to speaking or writing. Mark talks us through some of trends he’s seeing and helps discusses some of the most commonly asked questions in his experience.

My ask for you, as a marketer, founder or company representative is to get to know the influencer and don’t make assumptions on how you think their business works. Do your research and don’t assume that an influencer makes a living a certain way. Ask questions to see if your interests, business and work align. Most importantly, don’t assume influencers will work for free. I, personally, don’t get involved in affiliate programs. It’s a personal choice I made after getting burned by a couple HR technology companies.

How Do You Define HR Influence?

All influencers are not created equal. However, who is influential to your ideal buyers is important in order to garner the most return on investment. Mark mentions that determining who is influential isn’t that hard. There seems to be a new list every single week touting the top influencers in some form of another as a sort of marketing and media play, Mark says it’s important to establish your goals, what success looks like and who best aligns with your business and strategy.

In truth, we are all influential. Communities, scope and the type of influence varies. It’s important for companies to do their research before reaching out to any type of influencer.

How to Ensure Success in Building Relationships with HR Influencers?

Mark says Twitter remains the best platform to find, engage and build relationships with HR influencers. It allows you to interact, research and get to know buyers, influencers and competitors in a neutral platform. Plus, you can get a sense of the type of conversations, content and resources that are being shared.

Mark discusses the best way to build relationships with influencers in our industry. It’s not enough to place someone on a list, send out a few tweets and maybe an email to build a relationship. He suggests getting to know them for the long term. Personalize your message. Build a relationship. Meet them in person at a conference or event to differentiate yourself from the other HR and recruiting service providers and technologies who are doing the same things. Take a listen to the podcast to hear more of Mark and I’s conversation as we provide companies with powerful insights on engaging influencers as we lean into this busy fall HR and recruiting technology selling, trade show and marketing season.

Connect with Mark Willaman on LinkedIn.

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*A special thank you to my production team at Total Picture Radio.

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