Make Successful Influencer Marketing for B2B a Reality!
Before we talk influencer marketing for B2B, let’s understand a few essential things about the industry.
In today’s marketing scenario, there are no universal approaches that work for anybody. Inevitably, the B2B and B2C industries deal with marketing in different ways. However, with time, we see that both these industries are getting increasingly similar in the way they reach out to potential customers. Moreover, with every passing year, B2B marketing becomes more and more personal, as well as experimental.
Once upon a time, B2B marketers didn’t want to experiment with anything except the tried and tested tools. They stuck to what worked for the unique sales processes the B2B industry demands. Moreover, the average B2B customer today has different expectations from marketers. These expectations are increasingly similar to those of pampered and well-cared B2C customers. So, if marketers don’t adapt and adjust accordingly, they are going to lose customers.
What is Influencer Marketing for B2B Exactly?
This type of marketing has cropped up as a by-product of socially connected networks. Influencer marketing for B2B focuses on influential people as opposed to the entire target market. Such marketing techniques use key leaders (in our scenario, B2B influencers) to deliver or promote your brand message. Influencer marketing for B2B is different because you make use of an intermediary to talk to a group of people. As opposed to doing this by yourself, you rope in an influencer to pass on your message.
B2B influencer marketing activities can include paying an influencer to market your message. However, you can also directly partner up with them. In cases where your product or core message is the kind that elicits curiosity, you could inspire an influencer to disperse your message to your target audience.
Is Influencer Marketing for B2B the Same as Celebrity Endorsements or Advocacy?
If this definition of Influencer marketing for B2B sounds a lot like a celebrity endorsement tactic, you’re not wrong. This type of B2B lead generation and sales tactic relies on similar principles as celebrity endorsements. The only fundamental difference is that a content-driven, modern-day touch makes it perfect for today’s customer market preferences. Most importantly, in the case of influencer marketing for B2B, campaign results come from collaborations between influencers and the brand itself.
Additionally, remember that influencer marketing for B2B is not the same as advocacy marketing either.
Probably the most essential components of this type of marketing, social media and content are both crucial elements for success. Most influencer campaigns make use of a social network. In particular, social media audiences are more receptive to influencer messaging. Moreover, most influencer marketing campaigns surely have some content at the centre of everything. It is created by the brand or the influencer, and such content crafts the brand message in a subtle, exciting way. Moreover, influencer marketing campaigns usually don’t aim at hard selling.
Why is Influencer Marketing Becoming Popular?
Digital marketing for B2B doesn’t play by the same rules as B2C. However, for both these industries, the costs of digital marketing are skyrocketing. Advertisers and marketers are getting less from each dollar they spend today than ever before. All in all, advertising has become more expensive across the digital marketing sphere. Many marketers argue that the effectiveness of paid advertising is decreasing steadily.
In such a scenario, influencer marketing for B2B comes as a savior. After all, customers are more likely to trust each other than they would trust a brand. In the words of social media strategist Bryan Kramer, human to human connections bring in the best marketing results. With marketing becoming such an integral part of our lives, we naturally expect some more emotion in these interactions.
Similarly, when people not directly part of an organization promote that brand, more people listen and believe in the message. Many influencer marketing software tools have cropped up today. They only go to show the widespread usage of this marketing technique. We think that this type of communication will remain popular for a long time.
The How-To Guide on Influencer Marketing for B2B Organizations
Now that we have established the impact that influencer marketing for B2B can have, let’s understand how you can adapt it to your organization.
#1 Know Your Audience
As a B2B marketer, a crystal clear understanding of your audience is paramount. With smaller markets, lengthier purchase processes, and more decision-makers, throwing darts in the dark is a fool’s move. Additionally, very few B2B marketing teams work without a very in-depth understanding of their target group.
Similarly, when it comes to B2B influencer marketing campaigns, audience identification is an integral step in the process. Sure, you might be excited to work with one influencer or another. However, if they don’t fit in with what your target group wants, there is no point. To get the most out of your B2B influencer marketing campaigns it is necessary to answer some questions before you start. Whom do the people in your target group consider an influencer? What message are you trying to relay? Which influencer is most likely to elicit the most responses? Answering these questions helps you concentrate your efforts.
Moreover, it helps your accounting team by cutting on non-return generating costs.
#2 Choose Influencers, Not Advocates
Influencers are people with lucrative social capital. Influencers with reach usually get retweeted or quoted many times. These are the kind of people most likely interviewed for their opinions or expertise.
In some cases, such people have an active blog. Otherwise, they might be a published author. All in all, influencers are people who have considerable reach with your target audiences. Such influencers have the power to shift customer’s perspectives and influence them to act as your organization wants.
On the other hand, advocates are people who promote your organization, its products and its services by themselves. Advocates are people who have enjoyed your services and might tell people about them. Although they feel a sense of goodwill toward you, they have virtually no social capital. So, when it comes to basing your B2B influencer marketing strategy, go with influencers. Lastly, remember that someone who is extremely popular isn’t necessarily an influencer. Especially in the B2B scenario, choosing people who can elicit action from your target group is incredibly important.
#3 Pick The Right Influencers
Now that you understand that influencers, and not advocates help your B2B influencer marketing strategy, let’s see why you must pick the right people.
The right influencer for your B2B influencer marketing campaign is one who can bring in the most value to your target group. However, unless you know your audience, you won’t be able to choose the right influencer for them. Once you get to know your audience, selecting the right influencer to connect with them is more natural.
Identifying the Right Influencer for your B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign
Data analytics can help you understand who is connecting with your audiences right now. However, this requires individually seeking out and scanning web pages. Since such searches yield data about the potential scope and reach a person has, it can help you identify the right influencer for your B2B influencer marketing campaign. However, business intelligence like this isn’t easy to find and requires skills. B2B Data solution companies can help in such scenarios.
Database analysis is undoubtedly crucial for your B2B lead generation efforts. However, there are also incredible when it comes to identifying the right influencer for your goals. With site-scraping, you can pull publically available data to identify critical factors. With data solutions companies like BizProspex, unearthing such data is more straightforward. Moreover, the process of vetting and choosing your ideal partner for a B2B influencer marketing campaign becomes easy.
As the B2B marketplace becomes increasingly technological, social media platforms have become central to marketing campaigns. Moreover, for B2B influencer marketing, people with social capital on critical social media sites are incredibly valuable. Again, relying on a reputed B2B data mining company can help you find who the right influencers are.
#4 Consider the Niche or Market You’re Targetting
Even within a target group, identifying a specific niche is essential for B2B influencer marketing. When it comes to zero down on the ideal candidate, this becomes even more integral.
When you know the exact type of customer you’re targeting, you will also know what kind of content to create. Additionally, you will understand which influencer is best suited to market a particular content creation. Ultimately, this step helps bring added value to your B2B influencer market campaign results. Moreover, well-crafted B2B influencer marketing partnerships are win-win for both the involved parties. In fact, this should be your ultimate goal.
By understanding the personal aims or objectives of an influencer, you will align with the right person for your content marketing efforts. Moreover, if your marketing message’s underlying positioning is in line with the influencer’s personal brand, they are more likely to want to engage with them. As a result, understanding what beat a potential influencer caters to is essential. When this is clear, you will know how to position your pitch to align with their objectives.
#5 Be Genuine
When planning your B2B influencer marketing campaign’s details, remember that you’re not paying someone to say something mindlessly. In the case of influencers, they have spent year building and establishing credibility. They are going to be apprehensive attaching their name with any brand. Needless to say, they will have many questions before giving a green signal to your proposal.
Although transparency and genuinity are valued qualities, they are even more critical when it comes to the B2B influencer marketing scenario. When you chart the communication for such a strategy, remember to be genuine and forthcoming. Give your potential influencers all the information they need to make a wise choice. Moreover, with an honest demeanour to your interaction, you may permanently end up making a loyalist out of an influencer.
#6 Look for Authority and Engagement
As we mentioned before, the best influencers have spent much time organically building trust within the community. This ensures that the audiences they cater to value their opinions. In short, such influencers have the authority and can get people to act. Moreover, it means that such audiences are going to be more receptive to any message the influencer sends out. Essentially, this translates to more clicks, higher website traffic, more engagement, and increased sales.
When you finally set out to zero in on the right influencer for your campaign, look for authority and engagement. Here are some helpful questions to help you gauge the viability of an influencer.
Question to Pick the most Appropriate Influencer
- Do this influencer’s social media pages receive regular comment, replies, shares and engagement from people in your target group?
- Would I trust this person to give me recommendations or suggestions?
- Do people leave reviews on any product reviews, brand recommendations or promotions that this person offers?
- Upon receiving feedback (positive or negative) from these followers, do the influencers reply to them? Moreover, are they replying in a manner that’s engaging and friendly?
- How often do these people post original content? Does such material bring in the attention of your target group?
- Are there any significant content or conversation topics that garner most engagement for this influencer? What items are off limits?
- Do the person’s core message and personality match your campaign’s objectives?
These questions are just some of the important ones to ask yourself and your marketing team. Influencer marketing for B2B demands accurate insight to bring maximum success. Moreover, these questions help you understand where to gear your efforts.
#7 Support Expert Narratives
After you zero down on the right message and the right influencer, you have to work on the correct narrative. After all, content creation is not the influencer’s job. This responsibility falls on you.
Most importantly, people who consume online content want to do so on their terms these days. The narratives that people are attracted to are usually the ones that experts and influencers are already producing. So when you create content for B2B influencer marketing campaigns, support expert narratives. Find a way to integrate your brand’s message, products or offering in a way that blends with such a story.
Additionally, remember that seamless integration of your proposition is vital for creating successful influencer marketing campaigns. Focus on subtly enforcing brand values, product uses and customer experience. Through blogs, white papers, infographics and other credible information, show that you have something substantial to offer.
#8 Don’t Try to Hard-Sell With Your Content
Customers understand that most businesses reach out with the ultimate goal of landing sales. However, it is not okay to push your sales efforts on them in a rude manner. When most people see your brand communication, they will tend to assume you’re looking at selling to them. Undoubtedly, this has put a strain on building successful connections with audiences.
Influencer marketing for B2B makes it easier to cut through the weariness audiences have built up against unsophisticated selling. Additionally, influencers won’t want to lose out on their reputation by force-feeding their audiences with hard-selling pitches. All in all, if you are serious about influencer marketing for B2B growth, make sure you’re not generating a pushy or sales-centric piece of content.
#9 Focus on Relevance, Don’t Get Stuck With Reach
In the case of influencer marketing for B2B, things are not the same as they are for B2C. In the business-to-customer scenario, mainstream recognition across buyer profiles and a large social media following make for a winning combo. However, influencer marketing for B2B doesn’t adhere to the same principles. A B2B influencer is someone with expertise, experience and influence within a respective industry.
Moreover, B2B industry specifics demand that influencers have a strong presence and relevance to their audiences. So when you look for the right influencer, look for significance, not reach — additionally, it is about quality, not quantity.
Three Types of B2B Influencers
Let’s take a look at the three most important types of influencers. When it comes to influencer marketing for B2B, these are the type of people to look out for.
We told you that influencer marketing for B2B requires influencers, not advocated. However, advocates are not entirely expendable to your marketing efforts. They are a definite type of influencer in their way.
The best advocates might already have a connection to your organization. Usually, they are employees or partners. They might appreciate the values you stand for or they might be fans of your products and services — all in all, with the right grooming you can propel your advocates to become subject matter experts. The right employee can show the same enthusiasm as a third-party influencer. Moreover, they have a direct connection to your brand and a certain degree of industry knowledge as well. Such internal brand ambassadors have great potential in influencer marketing for B2B.
Remember when we said that influencers should have some degree of authority in the eyes of their audience? Well, though leaders match that description perfectly.
In most cases, thought leaders are people considered as authorities in their field. Their opinions have high value among audiences. Moreover, such people have the power to change public perception and influence action. Such people, their advice, and their perspectives have a significant impact on your B2B brand’s reputation in the long run.
To identify who the thought leaders for your industry are, ask for customer and employee feedback. Find out which thought leaders are generating the most and best response in your target group. Primarily, look for who is looked up to as an authority figure by your target group. These people are thought leaders for your industry.
As we know that the B2B industry is comparatively smaller and more well-connected, your customers could become essential parts of your influencer marketing campaigns. Additionally, someone who buys from you and knows the value of your brand is more likely to endorse it. Influencers can come from anywhere. So, this makes it essential to be alert and always on the lookout for the right partners.
You can start by maintaining a feedback outreach activity to vet for customers likely to be influential. Make sure to review customer experiences and case studies for any workable leads. Remember, someone who has genuinely experienced a positive change thanks to your brand will sound genuine over any paid influencer. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that such people can elicit action from more people, you shouldn’t ignore them completely.
Database Cleaning Services and CRM Cleaning: Tying Everything Together
As is the case with any B2B marketing activities, the results are only as good as the database it uses. Even when it comes to influencer marketing for B2B companies, data quality and clean CRMs are integral to success.
Moreover, influencer marketing is a slow, but sure process of building credibility, generating leads and reaching out. Surely, you can’t expect it to bring overnight results or instant success. Right from researching for your target groups content preferences, to reaching out to influencers, a manual data service company is very helpful.
Opting for CRM cleaning services and data mining solutions can help your marketing team have an easier time with influencer marketing. Moreover, such services help you regulate everyday operations, easing your marketing team’s job. The effect of such services is that you will also be able to churn relevant content more effectively. Lastly, all the points we’ve highlighted for a successful influencer marketing campaign become easier with a data solutions partner at your disposal.
As more and more competition develops in the B2B market, getting your message out becomes increasingly challenging. However, with a data partner like BizProspex, you will never be stumped for solutions again.
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