Social media’s massive growth and influence over the past decade have shown how valuable it is for businesses to thrive and succeed. Moreover, influencers’ role in increasing brand awareness and reputation on these platforms can’t be overemphasized.
Ninety-four percent of marketers agree that influencer marketing is an effective business strategy. Sadly, only 24 percent of businesses leverage influencer marketing B2B.
If you are not clear on what B2B influencer marketing is and you’re looking for a one-stop place to find all your answers, here you have it.
This guide takes a detailed look at what influencer marketing for B2B is. You’ll also find real-life examples and tips to help you as you begin your company’s B2B influencing journey.
Let’s get started!
What is B2B Influencer Marketing?
In simple terms, B2B influencer marketing is when a business uses content creators or key leaders to showcase its brand to other companies. Unlike B2C influencer marketing, which focuses on individual customers, influencer marketing for B2B targets businesses.
The B2B influencer marketing strategy works best when you collaborate with relevant experts and influential figures in the industry. These people should also have a massive following and a track record of being credible.
B2B influencer campaigns have proven to lead to about 13 percent higher conversion rates when compared with other marketing efforts within the B2B space. As such, you can expect this strategy to remain for some time.
Benefits of B2B Influencer Marketing
Expert-driven B2B marketing can transform your brand to meet your advertising goals. Here are the benefits it serves, which lead to a successful marketing campaign:
1. Increased Brand Awareness
When authority figures in an industry refer to a business, it’s just natural that their listeners become curious about the brand. This curiosity eventually translates to greater visibility and brand awareness for the company.
2. Greater lead generation
Influencers can help generate more leads and sales for your brand. All they need to do is create engaging and relevant content targeted at your business. Then, viola, you’ll win their followers as clients and visitors to your website.
3. Greater credibility
B2B social media influencers are already known as credible sources of information. As such, you can expect that any brand they endorse will also be perceived as reliable and trustworthy.
Finding and Engaging with B2B Influencers
As you choose or engage with B2B influencers, you must be clear on whether you want to accomplish brand awareness or directly respond with your marketing campaign.
Once you have identified a relevant creator in your niche with an identity that aligns with your brand’s values and goals, the next thing is to build a relationship with them.
Reach out to the creators to explain what you want to promote and the content you’d like them to create. Where necessary, let them know the mutual benefits of your collaboration.
If they are unfamiliar with your brand, you can allow them to try your product or service for free to understand your business better.
Below are other things to keep in mind before choosing a B2B influencer for your business:
- Ensure they understand your target audience and have sway over them. You can check out their previous content to help with your decision.
- Confirm that they have good followership and a reasonable engagement rate. Engagement rates can be judged by viewing their posts’ views, likes, shares, and comments.
- Verify how much they charge to be sure that it’s something you can afford.
- Decide the platforms you want to advertise through and ensure the influencer’s content performs well.
- Minimize risk by investigating whether your potential content creator has past controversies or criticisms.
Measuring ROI and Success Metrics
Once you’ve settled an agreement with your chosen influencer, prepare a campaign brief that defines what success means for your brand. Next, you need to be sure that the B2B influencing strategy is working by tracking the marketing content and performance.
Check out the key performance indicators (KPIs) to look out for in determining the success of your collaborative efforts:
For Brand Awareness
1. Social Reach
This metric includes followers, subscribers, and impressions of the post. Analytic tools like Facebook insights, Instagram insights, and YouTube studio analytics will be helpful here.
2. Website Traffic
One of the proofs of the success of your advertisement is an increase in the overall traffic on your brand’s website.
Engagement measures how your audience receives the social media post. Likes, dislikes, comments, shares, mentions, referrals, hashtags, and DMs can track it.
4. Press and Media
Here, you monitor if your campaign was able to get the attention of the press.
For a Direct Response
For Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Additionally, you need to measure the marketing campaign’s return on investment (ROI). The formula for calculating it is:
ROI = (Profit Return/Total Campaign Cost) × 100
A campaign with a positive ROI can safely be considered a success.
Top B2B Influencer Marketing Strategies
A B2B influence marketing effort is only as effective as its strategy. We’ve outlined five top influencer marketing best practices in business that will guarantee a successful campaign:
1. Have clear goals
Without clear goals, you’ll hardly be able to tell if your marketing is profitable. So, it would be best to note what success means to you: increased conversions, lead generation, website traffic, or brand awareness.
2. Determine your target audience
Your target audience must be the inspiration behind your brand’s content. You need to help them relate to and connect to the value you’re offering them. Put in the work to identify your audience’s interests, pain points, and social media platforms. Then, you can determine which influencer is relevant to the people you want to reach.
3. Have a Budget and Timeline of Activities
It is essential to have a clear picture of the time and expenses of your B2B influencer marketing campaign. Common factors to consider are campaign duration, influencer fees, and content creation costs. As you plan your finances, ensure your budget aligns with your goals and resources.
4. Create a Collaboration Strategy
A B2B influencer can promote your brand through content creation, guest blogging, or simply endorsing your product. Ensure your chosen collaboration strategy is valuable to your audience and your influencer.
5. Create Compelling Content
Only relevant content that resonates with your audience will sell. Work with your influencers to develop content that provides value to your customers and establishes your voice as an authority in the industry.
Successful B2B Influencer Marketing Campaigns
This real-life campaign success story will inspire you to explore the B2B influencing space.
Using their social media accounts, IBM leveraged their staff as micro-influencers and brand advocates. During the campaign, 1000 IBM employees had to share about six posts daily on their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles on different topics.
The titles included collaboration, innovation, and remote work. Since a good number of them have a reasonably high following, they were able to function as influencers.
Although the staff members didn’t get bonuses, they received compensation based on a point-based leaderboard. The decision-makers in IBM’s target businesses seemed to connect positively with many IBM employees. As a result, the strategy was hugely successful.
Amber Armstrong, IBM’s Marketing Social Business Program Director, said the campaign “drove 50,000 new registrations to IBM Verse in the first two weeks of launch – due to employee advocacy.” Cumulatively, the #NewWayToWork strategy gathered 120 million digital impressions and had about 141,000 clicks on campaign content.
Future Trends and Innovations
Many brands are looking for ways to stay ahead in the B2B influencer marketing world, and some of these new ways of influencing trends and innovation in the B2B landscape include:
1. Employee Advocacy
Companies leverage their employees to promote their products and services. Our IBM case study shows that this approach can help businesses connect with their B2B audience.
2. Video Content Creation
Video content creation is beginning to dominate the marketing industry, as you can share much information quickly. Also, it is a versatile and powerful tool to catch your customer’s attention.
3. Virtual Events
With the advent of remote and virtual events, influencers now get invites to participate in online meetings like webinars and teleconferences. These events further help to drive attendance and the credibility of brands.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in B2B influence marketing is one thing to look forward to in the future. There are expectations that AI can help businesses better identify influencers that suit them while ensuring effective content optimization.
To learn more about potential of the virtual events, see event marketing statistics
Elevate B2B Success!
As you begin your B2B influencer marketing journey, ensure you find people who already speak to your target audience. However, you should give them the room to be authentic and include their creative side, which their followers already love.
It’s also important to stay updated on the dynamics of the influencing space. Furthermore, you can maximize tools like Mandala AI to track KPIs and monitor them to gain insight into your campaign performance.