Defining Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing leverages the power of key leaders to help spread a brand’s message and knowledge of its product or service to a large market using a variety of channels such as social media or other Out-of-home (OOH) advertising techniques. As the human connection resonates more with buyers, in both B2C and – increasingly in B2B – scenarios, organizations often use influencers to promote their product offerings. This form of marketing has been steadily gaining popularity and a report published by the Influencer Marketing Hub showed that it can give brands a return of up to $18 for every dollar spent. If you operate in the B2B space and want to know how to harness the power of influencer marketing to reap maximum benefits from it, then read on.
The Advantages of B2B Influencer Marketing
Merely selling promises to buyers is not enough in today’s world. Buyers seek real insights and reviews about brands and products. This is where influencer marketing helps organizations in building trust.
- Influencers know more about the people in their network and so would be able to influence their buying decision better than any company would through traditional channels.
- Influencer marketing can help brands to reach out to more people, otherwise hard to target directly, and forge better relations with them.
- Such a form of marketing makes a brand more visible.
- When influencers talk to those in their circle, they are able to understand the issues and pain points better. This helps marketers to improve their offering and position more effectively.
- Using humans and leveraging their outreach and popularity to promote a brand can be far less expensive than many other forms of marketing methods.
Challenges In B2B Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing comes with its set of challenges.
- One of the greatest challenges in influencer marketing in the B2B space identifying influencers and segregation them from the general audience. However, this can be overcome through various Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) software tools that are available in the market today.
- Identifying the right influencers for your brand is one of the most critical steps in launching an influencer marketing program. It’s important to find the influencers who are the right fit for your brand. LinkedIn or Instagram, for instance, is filled with many influencers, many claim to be strong influencers but may they may not be a good fit for your brand.
Tips to Create a Successful B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign
Here are a few tips that you can use to harness the power of influencer marketing:
- Create content that will resonate with your influencers and their personas.
- B2C influencer marketing is easier to measure. For instance, a simple metric can be the number of impressions that an influencer’s post gets on a particular social media channel. However, it can get more complex when it comes to B2B marketing and buying decision makers in an organization can be diverse and distributed. Hence, you should think innovatively and consider which metrics you will be tracking even before the campaign is launched.
- In the B2B field, it works better when the influencers are known for their work and are prominent figures.
- Spend time with them in educating them about your offering. You can even co-create messages and content with them so that the best content goes out to the audience.
Channels for B2B Influencer Marketing
Influencers can work on buyers through various channels. Some of these are:
- Engagement on social media. For example, American Express partnered with bloggers to create the video campaign ‘Love My Store’ on YouTube to encourage the acceptance of credit cards amongst small business owners.
- Live web chats.
- Asking bloggers to publish content on well-known websites. For example, the founder of the marketing agency VideoFruit, Bryan Harris, produced an article for the blog OkDork which is a niche digital marketing publication. Given he had a good number of followers, the fresh and informative tone produced good results.
- Ask an influencer to attend a webinar that you are hosting and co-write what the influencer would be saying at the event.
Finding Influencers for your Campaign
Once you have decided that you want to launch an influencer marketing campaign for your brand, there are some steps that you should follow to identify the right influencers for your brand.
- Analyze who your existing clients are.
- Find out the amount of social influence that your important clients have on the industry. You can use Twitter for this analysis on an app like FollowerWonk. However, it is important to remember that there will be influencers who are not on social media at all. These include people like speakers, authors, researchers, podcasters, and others.
- Once your important clients have been identified, create a target-buyer persona. This will help you to know the type of content that will engage your target audience the best.
- Create content.
- Identify the methods that you will use to reach your audience. For instance, social channels, hashtags, which regions, and others.
- Give your influencers some time to agree to participate in your campaign. Most have a “day job” or work with many brands of that;s their core job, and hence find it tough to participate in such campaigns at short notice.
Seeing the effects of an influencer marketing campaign in the B2B industry doesn’t happen in a day. It is a slow process and the effects take longer than it does in the B2C industry. The payoffs take longer as there are a number of people who are involved in the decision-making process. So, be patient! Once your campaign starts to bear fruit, you can rest assured that this will be a long-term relationship that you would have built.