Influencer Marketing for B2B
Let’s begin with, what is Influencer Marketing? Also known as influence marketing involves utilizing social media amplification to endorse a product or service through influential people. These influencers can be product experts or those with a large following in which their knowledge and thoughts mean something to those following along. Influencer marketing is largely used in the B2C world but is slowly gaining popularity in the B2B world. Some organizations still don’t fully understand the benefits and are not yet confident about the execution of B2B influencer marketing.
In layman's terms, Influencer marketing involves advertising and is simply the transaction between the promotion of a product or service and we will pay you. When looking at B2B, influences come from strong and trustworthy business relationships and less advertising. Organizations must focus on collaborating with industry experts who have developed these strong business relationships with their respective buyer audiences. Unlike B2C, where an influencer can post one Instagram picture promoting a product and sales can directly be related to that post, B2B purchase decisions follow a much longer timeline therefore don’t expect your influencer program to yield much return on investment for at least 6 months. Instead of a one-off campaign, your influencer program may take multiple campaigns, with different messaging hitting the different stages in the buyer's journey.
Another aspect to note for BB influencer marketing is to not solely look at social media presence and following. While this may be the most important factor in B2C, B2B influencers may not even have social media. Instead of being social media movers, they could be respected authors, speakers, podcasters, industry experts, and researchers. Another factor to understand is that B2B influencers are not meant to take your copy word for word. To get the most out of the relationship, they need to speak to their audience just as they would be without plugging your product or service. They need to be authentic and not speak as if they're a robot (or as if they’re getting paid to do so). They very well may touch on your words or use them for reference but ultimately they will put their own spin on the benefits.
There are many other factors to consider when beginning your B2B influencer marketing campaign, this blog could go on for ages. Many of the practices are similar to that of a B2C influencer program and can be just as effective. Keep in mind the differences and make sure you do your research on the right influencer to associate your brand with.