Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful strategies that could be done for your business. It helps you reach out to a wide range of people, generate new prospects, foster connection with your audience, increase brand loyalty, and of course, B2B’s ultimate metric — get sales.
And it’s not all surprising. According to a study done by BusinessWire, 61% of people trust a recommendation they see on a social platform from an influencer, while only 38% would trust a recommendation from a brand.
So yes, the increase in influencer ads that you see in your feed is actually backed by data!
While influencer strategy is more commonly associated with B2C businesses, B2B has recently seen some potential growth in this strategy. Let’s dive in on how B2B influencer strategy works, and how you can apply it to your business.
Before we begin, let’s define what exactly influencer marketing is. Essentially, it’s a form of marketing where instead of directly selling a product to your audience, you use an “influencer” or a trusted figure to talk about or showcase your product.
No matter what your product or service or business is, most of your sales are driven by recommendations. This is especially true with B2B, where a whopping 91% of purchases have been influenced by word-of-mouth referrals and recommendations alone.
B2B influencer strategy is all about aligning the thoughts and visions of key industry leaders and experts with the thoughts of your brand.
A simple, passing shout-outs from random influencers are not what you are aiming for. You are not looking for a quick sale here. Instead, you should use B2B influencer strategy to gain credibility and authority by aligning your brand with industry experts and leaders.
But why is this the strategy?
It’s because B2B buyers have a longer purchase cycle compared to B2C. They take an average of three to six months of researching, reading reviews, comparing multiple products, and verifying specs.
B2B products also are often bigger and more complex compared to B2C, and involve multiple decision makers. There’s no room for impulse buys here – which is why having a trusted B2B influencer vouch for your product will greatly help in speeding up the sales funnel.
Influencers usually have a large, loyal following already. By tapping into them, you’ll increase your brand awareness.
Though while numbers are important, having an engaged and interested audience that would actually buy your products is much more important. Luckily, B2B influencers have both.
B2B products are often geared toward a niche audience. Using influencers might help you tap a new, unexplored audience that you haven’t considered before.
As mentioned above, most purchases are based on recommendations. Influencers have the power to drive people to purchase your product and service, just by having them mention or talk about your brand.
B2B influencers are usually considered an influencer because they are passionate and knowledgeable about your industry. This in turn will help you in creating engaging content that is useful and resonates to your audience.
Most importantly, partnering with influencers that are a key figure in your industry will boost your credibility and authority. This is because these influencers are seen as experts, and people usually look to them for guidance. These influencers are also usually connected to other decision makers, and can help you gain access to their networks and contacts as well.
Define your objectives before building your strategy. Whether you are looking to gain new prospects, increase your traffic, build your brand’s authority, or maximize your current engagement, it’s important to define your objective in order to build an appropriate strategy.
You’ll also need to get a comprehensive understanding of the buyer that you are trying to reach. Which social media channels are they usually on? What kind of content do they like or engage in? Who do they usually follow? Understanding all of this will help you find the right person for your brand.
You might be thinking that you’ll just need to find the most popular person on social media or a celebrity. While that’s not entirely wrong, finding the right influencer for your brand is still the key to a successful influencer marketing strategy.
This could range from choosing an individual who is a household name in your industry, or a niche expert with a few thousand followers. Focus on your goal and pick the right B2B influencer that is aligned with your target, as well as your brand values.
One important thing to remember though is that B2B marketing focuses on the quality of their prospect instead of the quantity.
B2B influencer strategy works the same, meaning it’s better to choose an influencer with engaged and qualified followers that will actually be interested in your product, instead of just focusing on their number of followers.
B2B influencer marketing is not just limited to posting on social media. Try inviting your influencers to speak at your events, or at a panel discussion. You can also try to do a webinar with them, or host an “ask me anything.”
You can also have them write thought leadership pieces that you can add to your newsletter or blog. Try using their quotes, product reviews, or walkthroughs, and repurpose them in your content. With the rise of podcasts, it might be good to try recording one with your influencer as well.
Creating video content is also a great strategy. According to studies, 82% of content views on the internet are on videos alone.
You can try to maximize this by creating a testimonial video with your influencer instead of just posting it in text form. If you are considering video content, look into YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok and see if they are appropriate platforms for your brand.
Whatever kind of content you’ll choose, remember to focus on providing value to your audience. Especially with B2B marketing, your target audience is decision-makers with deep industry knowledge already, and they are looking for high-quality and informative content that can help in guiding them to make a purchase decision.
As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to track your metrics to determine the success of your campaign.
The questions will vary depending on the platform you used and your goals, but these are some basic questions to get you started.
While B2B influencer marketing is definitely a viable strategy, it’s still best to spread out your tactics instead of putting all your eggs in one basket. Consider other strategies such as email marketing, social media marketing, digital marketing, and paid ads for your business.
Make sure your brand identity is fully polished as well before partaking in any marketing strategy. This includes your brand colors, logo design, and other visual elements. This will help you build a stronger brand image and understand your brand positioning, which is key to choosing the right marketing strategy for your business.
B2B influencer marketing can easily make a huge impact in your brand’s growth. While it’s still a new trend, with only 15% of B2B brands having an ongoing influencer campaign, there’s definitely a lot of potential here.
Especially with the modern times, when social media and the internet dominates, B2B influencer marketing will definitely become more and more popular.
Influencer marketing can be used to reach a wider audience, build connections and trust with them, and hopefully lead them to purchase with your brand. With our guide, you are now prepared to start your own campaign and utilize the advantages of B2B influencer marketing.