As market competition grows, businesses need to create innovative selling tactics to drive customer engagement. And by businesses, I mean both B2C and B2B models, the latter being the tougher nut to crack.
When it comes to breaking the norms of conventional digital advertising, influencer marketing is a tactic that has emerged as a winner. The fact that people tend to trust recommendations rather than brands is the reason behind the growing precedence of influencer marketing. Though a lot is said about B2C brands using it, within this post, I will try and focus on how B2B marketing can also use influencer marketing principles to drive engagement and reach.
Mostly, in B2B businesses context, influencer marketing refers to leveraging the reach of key industry leaders to propagate a brand’s message to a broader audience.
Before delving deeper into this concept, here are a few points to keep in mind about B2B influencer marketing:
Influencer Marketing is more beneficial for B2B businesses
While having an expert vouching for your brand gives a clear advantage for B2C setups, it can bring remarkable results for B2B companies as well. The strategy is more beneficial for B2B context because the operations and business for them are considerably larger in volume. The average size and revenue from individual transactions being much bigger translate into a massive increase in reach and revenue if influencer marketing is leveraged in the right way.
B2B influencer marketing is synonymous with word-of-mouth marketing
B2B decisions are significantly governed by word-of-mouth, and hence, the prime focus should be on building the credibility of the brand within its niche. When a reputed influencer has something positive to say about a brand, it results in their word being spread around. Consequently, leading to more interest in the brand and resulting in reach and business growth.
Success depends on the choice of the right influencer
B2C is all about higher reach with while B2B is about established connections because, in business, decisions are greatly shaped based on the experiences that influencers share. The success of a B2B influencer marketing plan, therefore, is hugely dependent on the choice of the individuals that can influence corporate decision makers.
B2B influencers should be in sync with the brands they promote
Beyond just choosing a reputable influencer, you need to make sure that they are synced with your brand. Influencer marketing in a business context is more like a collaborative effort, where the influencer needs to know the brand well enough to communicate the right message to the targeted buyers.
So ideally an influencer is someone who has comprehensive knowledge and experience about the brand and product.
Trends matter more than social media numbers
While crafting a B2B influencer strategy for your business, it is critical to be mindful of the industry trends. Even the best influencer messaging and communication will not fetch results if the campaign is not aligned with the current trends.
While trends are critical, social media numbers do not matter as much in the B2B marketing landscape. Of course, a higher number of social followers make a plus point for an influencer, but their industry knowledge is more critical for B2B audience to place trust in what they have to say about a business.
Be watchful about the B2B influencer marketing conflicts
Before onboarding someone as your influencer, you need to check the brands they are already endorsing and the contracts they have with them, but also their credibility. The brand can take a massive hit by working with a wrong influencer.
Creating a successful B2B influencer marketing strategy Having a strategy in place before you start is the key to success. Although it is critical to find the right influencers to with the right audience, there is much more that goes into crafting a successful B2B influencer marketing strategy. At the same time, you should have a system for choosing the right influencer who can drive the best results with the said strategy. Let us understand the right approach step-by-step
- Unless you can identify a target audience, the chances of success are minimal. Therefore, you need to start by creating a B2B buyer persona.
- Once done, the next step would be to research and follow the kind of websites these buyers visit, the people they follow on social media and the ones they interact with on LinkedIn.
- Extensive research will give you a fair idea about the kind of industry influencers that you would need to bring ahead to endorse your brand and extend your reach to the target audience.
- Now is the time to source these influencers and use their reach and reputation to propel your brand in the domain and forge new business relationships.
- There are multiple ways to source the influencers, some of them would include, looking at senior leadership connections within the business, influential people in the industry domain and also some of the loyal, long-standing customers who can also form a core part of your influencer strategy.
- The next step is the implementation of the strategy, which is done by working on a planned execution of a content campaign that is directed at the audience, where the dispersal medium is the influencer.
- The final stage involves tracking of key metrics related to reach, sales and brand awareness for measuring the success of the campaign.
The benefits of using influencers as a part of the core B2B marketing strategy are immense. It empowers your brand with a unique voice that resonates with your target B2B audience. Furthermore, it can make your brand more desirable by proxy and offers access to invaluable networks. And we all know how important networking is in this landscape!