Senior Content Marketing Manager, Goldcast
2020 marked the rise of the individual creator. Brands are officially dead! (Just kidding.)
Clickbait intro aside, it’s no secret that marketing is hard and getting harder.
People are literally trained to ignore marketing—which is painful for me, a marketer, to admit. But it’s true! In the wise words of Lizzo—truth hurts.
Ultimately, it comes down to this: People buy from people. People trust people. And ultimately, people want to interact with people—not brands.
Also, there’s still this misconception in B2B marketing that it’s serious and logical. B2C marketing can be fun and emotional, but B2B is strictly business. However, that’s simply not how people work. People that buy software also buy ice cream. The lines between 9-5 and 5-9 are blurring.
This is the same reason we’re seeing so many brands invest in community building. They’re slowly but surely realizing the long-term impact of building relationships and connecting people.
This isn’t to say that brands can’t take a more human approach to marketing or build strong communities. But the people behind the brand have to be at the center of this movement.
Take Drift, which is often a poster child of the B2B “individual creator” case study. As of publishing, the brand LinkedIn page has over 66,000 followers. Dave Gerhardt, former CMO, has a whopping 125,000+. HubSpot, another marketing poster child, has over 689,000 followers on LinkedIn. But once again, Dharmesh Shah, Founder and CTO, has well over 1 million followers!
And this approach doesn’t just work for big companies and leaders with C-level titles. Take Alyce, a Boston-based gifting startup with 11,000 LinkedIn followers. Nick Bennett, Alyce’s Director of Field, Community, & Partner Marketing, has almost 30,000 followers. Creators are crushing it across the board!
So, how exactly can brands benefit from empowering and elevating individual creators on the team? So glad you asked.
⬆️ Amplify reach. Creators can turn up the volume on the reach of your brand. You especially see this from an engagement perspective (which only continues to amplify reach). Individuals almost always see more likes, shares, comments, and conversations happening on their content versus brand content.
🤝 Build relationships (and trust). Creators serve as an extension of your brand. They put a literal face to your company and serve as a friendly introduction to your brand. These relationships are built out of a genuine desire to help others without the guise of selling.
🙌 Get real. While creators are a “face” of a brand, they are also one step removed. This often allows more creative freedom and authenticity for content that doesn’t have to go through a brand “filter”. Hot takes? Failures? Big wins? These are the areas where creators can really shine a light and provide immense value to the communities they support.
If you’re not already, your brand should absolutely support internal creators. Full stop. There’s literally no down side and the upside is exponential.
What can you do to identify and elevate these folks? Well, first realize that not everyone is going to want to be the “face” of the company or take the time to be a creator—and that’s fine. You definitely don’t want to force anything.
Also, recognize that creators exist in many forms across many different audiences. Just because you provide a solution in the marketing tech space doesn’t mean everyone on the team is passionate about marketing. Maybe they’re a sales rockstar or kickass engineer and have a lot to share in that space. Let folks share their knowledge and expertise in whatever realm that makes sense and in whatever format they’re comfortable with.
Start by observing and asking. There are likely already folks within your organization that are active, you just need to find them.
When you do find folks, whether it’s leadership, managers, or ICs, support them! Share their posts from brand pages. Give them time during the week to be creative and participate in communities. Create a Slack channel for folks to share and engage with each other’s content. Check-in and ask how it’s going, and see what support they need to keep being awesome creators.
Join The Juice and start following insightful creators in B2B like Meisha 🧃