Influencer marketing has been a successful strategy for B2C companies for a long time now. Brands across the world are leveraging brand influencers to drive brand awareness, leads and sales.
A market research illustrates that around 6% of the influencers contribute to influencing 80% of the social media audiences.
After witnessing the success B2C brands have had with influencer marketing, B2B brands have been quick to jump on the bandwagon.
And for good reason.
While word of mouth is a powerful advertising tool, it is tricky and difficult to scale. But, once you catch the momentum and engineer the craft of advocating for your brand through key influencers, you can expand your reach through trusted channels. This is why B2B brands are keen to adopt influencer marketing to achieve the ultimate goal of increased revenues and improved customer relationships.
In this blog, we’ll explore various ways in which influencer marketing can change the game for B2B companies.
But before that, let’s take a step back to understand what influencer marketing is.
Influencer marketing is a marketing tactic that involves engaging influencers, subject matter experts, industry leaders and the likes of them to actively participate and speak on your behalf to your target audiences to help you achieve your business goals and simultaneously improve your brand.
Unlike conventional marketing strategies, leveraging influencer marketing involves targeting key individuals to influence your target audience, instead of focusing on the entire market as a single target.
When a trusted influencer talks about your brand, it builds brand credibility amongst the community or customers you’re targeting. When various parameters such as relevance, knowledge, followers, etc. are taken into consideration together when scouting for influencers, it sets the stage for a powerful marketing strategy.
How you can get started
Identify the right influencer
Finding the relevant influencer can be instrumental in expanding the horizons for your business in terms of trust, visibility, engagement and respect.
Although, influencer as a word is getting thrown around quite a bit these days, what we strongly recommend B2B brands to do is identify and approach thought leaders. Influencers who are thought leaders are essentially people who are passionate about a subject and have gained substantial knowledge and expertise in that area, and are open to educating and disseminating this information to engaged followers.
The key word here is passion and expertise, rather than simply look at cosmetic figures such as ‘number of followers’ or ‘reach’ to make a decision about who you want influencing your audience.
The other parameter to consider when identifying influencers is how well they relate to your customer base. Whether they call themselves influencers, thought leaders, bloggers, analysts, etc., it’s important to gauge how they engage their audience and if they talk from a space of honesty and confidence in the expertise they’ve gained over the years. Getting a deeper understanding of their engagement will assist you in establishing a rapport with your target audience.
Just as you’d pitch for sales, influencers have to be pitched to. Regardless of what you’re approaching relevant influencers for- whether it is to introduce them to your brand or to promote a campaign – ensure that you have a relevant pitch.
It is important for your influencer to feel passionately for your brand and believe in it. You can target 5-7 influencers at a time and keep looking until you find your match.
While engaging with influencers, obtain insights on how they operate, how well can they introduce your brand to your target audiences, and what kind of impact they can generate within your target market.
However, your pitch should also state clearly what you are offering the influencer. Whether it is a collaboration that is done in exchange for a link, a mention or a payment, it is important that you understand how the influencer operates and propose a fitting pitch.
The next important thing to mention in your pitch is the type of content you are seeking. It can be a variety of things, like blogs, interviews, white papers, campaigns, events, etc. Or, it could be something as simple as a quote from your influencer mentioning your brand or a certain technology or trend.
It’s almost important that that content you’re creating in conjunction with the influencer should align in terms of tone and goals, so your audience won’t find a disconnect when they switch from the influencer’s site to yours or vice versa.
Have a promotion plan in place that can be initiated as soon as you have the content from the influencer ready to go. Immediately setting a promotion strategy in motion will ensure that the content will grab eyeballs quickly, which then helps it stay on top people’s feeds, for increased engagement and reach. Your promotion plan should include graphics, engaging questions, statistics, etc. You should also consider the right times to post on social media and encourage followers to also share the content within their circles.
Whether B2B or B2C, one fact remains – people buy from people. Influencer marketing allows a great way to leverage this important sales fact. Engaging the right influencer, that is, a trusted, engaging influencer, allows your audience to see content that is relevant to them, and get introduced to your brand and offerings, making it more likely that they choose to buy from you instead of a competitor.
The team at The Smarketers understands the nuances of B2B inbound marketing – particularly influencer marketing. If you’re looking to get started and need more information or a tried and tested strategy, get in touch with us today.