By Rob Kelley
Influencer Marketing is an 8+billion industry with an 11x higher ROI than traditional marketing. But while much of the chatter in the industry focuses on B2C content, it’s important to note that many B2B campaigns have seen much success.
B2B companies are already aware of the high value of working with influential experts in their respective fields. Many of those companies are looking to take that practice a step further and take advantage of the excellent return on investment of working directly with influencers and online content creators in the space.
Traditionally, Influencer Marketing has been harder to put into practice for B2B companies than for its B2C counterparts- but it doesn’t have to be. By observing and learning from what’s been successful for B2C companies over the past few years, including the use of new technologies and platforms that help support efforts, B2B brands can adapt their marketing strategies to set themselves up for success.
Here’s what you need to know to make your B2B influencer campaign a success.
1. Find the perfect influencers (you might not expect one of the best places to look)
When it comes to B2B marketing, it’s helpful to re-frame the term “influencer” as a “trusted expert”. Whether the brand being promoted is B2B or B2C, word-of-mouth marketing from trusted individuals is exponentially more successful than celebrity-style endorsements or paid advertising. So where can B2B companies look to find the perfect “influencers” to promote their products and services?
First, B2B companies can use a platform with robust search capabilities to filter and narrow down online creators who are experts in their field. Search for keywords that align with your brand, and employ social listening to see if anyone is already talking about your company in a favorable light.
Second, B2B companies can look to their own employees and clients for excellent, knowledgeable authorities on their brand, experience, and values. Chances are you may even already employ reward programs like online referral bonuses, and encourage clients to talk about their experiences on social media.
2. Relevance and Expertise > Follower Count and Reach
When it comes to B2B influencer marketing, the level of authority of your spokesperson matters a great deal. If someone simply knows a few things about software, that doesn’t mean they can successfully talk about your program. Ideally, B2B companies should partner with creators or influencers who are already recognised as industry experts.
3. Remember: Influencer Marketing is an important step in the customer experience
There is often a considerable amount of research and multiple levels of approval that go into any B2B purchase, and influencer marketing gives companies a leg up. Partnering with influencers allows you to build an extensive library of online content that accurately represents your product and services. Since so much research is involved in B2B investment decisions, even one positive review from a respected leader in the industry can make all the difference.
4. Invest in fewer, long-term influencer relationships
With B2C content, it’s easy to send a product to an influencer and request a public review of that product. But with B2B marketing, there’s often a more advanced learning curve involved. Because of this, it’s advisable for B2B companies to carefully select influencers who have high levels of understanding in their industry.
It’s also recommended that B2B brands build a campaign strategy that involves developing an ongoing, long-term relationship with influencers. With B2B marketing, it’s about building trust and confidence with your online audience more than it is about getting the word out about your product or service.
5. Quality over quantity
When it comes to B2B influencer marketing, the quality of the content posted is more important than the amount of content released. The real value comes in knowledgable, expert opinions as well as the views and experiences of those who have actually used your product or service.
Build campaigns that are highly-focused and specific in their subject matter and customers will be much more likely to engage during their research phase.
Influencer Marketing isn’t only for B2C brands. B2B companies can take advantage of the 11x higher ROI by intelligently building social campaigns with industry experts, and partnering with them to produce high-value content.
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