Influencer marketing has been around for a long time. We have used to think that this approach is only suitable for a B2C sector. In reality, the collaboration with influencers is equally relevant for B2B companies and plays a crucial role in their marketing. According to Convince and Convert, 91% of all B2B transactions are driven by word of mouth. It means that B2B customers are more likely to believe in what other people and industry experts say about the company than what the brand claims in the advertisement. In other words, without influencer marketing, B2B sales would halt a grind.
B2B technology companies can greatly benefit from influencer marketing if they do it correctly. In this article, we overview the most actionable tactics to help your brand make the most from the partnership with B2B influencers.
Who Is a B2B Influencer?
What is an ideal B2B influencer? It’s not necessarily a celebrity, but rather an expert or entrepreneur with a large following on social media. A person that can impact your target audience can potentially be an influencer you have been looking for. B2B influencers are business professionals who have built a strong reputation around the job they do.
You can also try to collaborate with bloggers and video creators in your niche. Just like B2C influencers, B2B influencers are present on virtually every social network, including Twitter which oftentimes appears the most effective for B2B endorsements. Based on their professional expertise, we can categorize B2B thought leaders by the following groups:
- Brandividuals. These are people who have built their own brand name. They usually have millions of followers and are specifically known as brand influencers.
- Niche experts. This kind of B2B influencer refers to people who are reputable professionals known for their unparalleled expertise in the industry. Their opinion has a significant meaning for other experts and scientists.
- Internal experts. Every company has its own influencers - founders, employees, clients, and partners. These people are related to the company and have a considerable impact on society. Promoting your internal experts as industry influencers may help you raise brand awareness and grow a loyal audience.
Grow Your Brand with These 5 B2B Influencer Marketing Practices
According to a LinkedIn report, most B2B customers say that an expert opinion is a second biggest factor influencing their purchasing decisions. In fact, a few companies leverage influencer marketing in the market. It means that this space is wide-open for B2B companies to innovate, experiment, and test various influencer marketing tactics. These five essential tips can help you implement your B2B influencer marketing strategy more effectively.
Work with existing brand advocates
Most digital marketers think that collaboration with influencers automatically means looking for somebody outside your organization and your community of customers. However, it’s highly recommended to find brand advocates among your existing customers. Some of them might have massive social influence. You can win the jackpot if your customer is a big name in the niche and already uses your products or services. Research your client base and check whether there is a good influencer fit for your brand.
You can also consider promoting your brand by collaborating with your own, internal influencers, such as the CEO, CMO, or other experts. These people have already achieved a lot in their job. Your audience will trust them as they are professionals with tremendous expertise in their field.
Explore whom your audience already follows
If you can’t find the right influencers inside your network, the next step is exploring whom your customers are already following. For example, if you are a marketing software firm, your target audience is likely following famous experts like Seth Godin, Neil Patel, Guy Kawasaki, and Gary Vaynerchuk. All these people can potentially be a great fit for a paid partnership with your company.
Discover influencers who have already earned the trust of your customers and try to establish collaboration with those who share the same values. Keep also in mind that these people shouldn’t necessarily have millions in their followership, you can start by working with micro-influencers. They have tighter connections with their communities and may have a greater impact on their buying decisions. Additionally, the micro-influencer rates are usually lower.
Automate your influencer search and background research
Influencer search and background research take the largest part in influencer marketing. It might be very time-consuming and exhaustive if you do it manually. Try to automate your influencer marketing campaign at maximum. Influencer marketing tools like SocialBook have everything you need to do research, initiate, manage, and monitor influencer marketing campaigns. This platform allows you to perform all these tasks at ease:
- Use filters to narrow down your search
- Filter influencers according to your niche
- Tap into over 5 million vetted influencer profiles
- Choose influencers as per their engagement rate
Use automation software to raise the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and spend more time on creativity and establishing great relationships with influencers.
Be aware of the potential conflict of interests
In both B2C and B2B influencer marketing, there is always the likelihood that your company may face a conflict of interests. B2B influencer marketing is even more sensitive to corporate and brand loyalty conflicts. B2B influencers are likely the employees of other organizations or own their own company, which might have made them so popular. Be sure these companies aren’t your competitors or don’t promote your competitors (neither now nor in the past). Also, it’s advisable to have a signed NDA contract in place to avoid the leakage of any brand information.
Don’t limit your brand influence by social media
Of course, social media is a lot! These platforms are the fastest and most powerful engines of information exchange and distribution. Influencer marketing on social media is the first and foremost step. However, you shouldn’t forget about other places where influential people share their thoughts with followers. You have probably heard about famous email newsletters by Seth Godin, Scott Galloway, and Tomasz Tunguz. Some of you might even be subscribed to them. Think also of podcasts, webinars, and communities on Slack, Discord, and Clubhouse. All these platforms can serve as a perfect environment for B2B influencer marketing.
Are You Ready to Get Started?
Haven’t you implemented B2B influencer marketing for your company yet? It’s time to try. This approach may help you gather a community of loyal customers and build a positive brand reputation. Here we have considered B2B influencer marketing basics, and hope that they will empower you with the necessary knowledge to get started. Are you still thinking that searching for B2B influencers takes too much time and you can never know whether you have found the right person or not? Discover SocialBook, and you’ll see that influencer search, outreach, and campaign management can be really easy.