With rising ad costs and an increase in viewer ad fatigue, marketers continue to innovate their efforts to keep sales flowing. Influencer marketing for B2B is a powerful tool brand can leverage for direct-to-business sales. There are obvious differences in how brands should approach this market as opposed to a consumer market, but there is no shortage of opportunities for a strong ROI.
Clubhouse is a marketing and community channel used by thought leaders, business owners, entrepreneurs, and influencers across multiple niches. HubSpot data reports that in 2022 brands are planning to increase their investment in influencer marketing on Clubhouse.[1}
They also revealed that 71% of marketers say the quality of both the customers and the traffic was higher in quality from influencer marketing channels than what came in from other sources. It’s also projected that the influencer marketing industry will be worth more than fifteen billion dollars by the end of 2022.
Let’s dive into how human-to-human connections can drive better revenue results when brands leverage influencer marketing for B2B.
How is Influencer Marketing for B2B Different From B2C?
Influencer marketing for B2B audiences is a more complex task. When dealing with consumers, they are the end user. For B2B market, there could be an entire chain of management, directors, c-suite executives, and even shareholders that must sign off on any new purchases or partnerships.
This means marketing channels, copy, creative, and strategy must be equipped to target and multilevel audience and meet each one where they are. Influencer marketing for B2B must be designed to answer objections from line-level agents all the way to the top.
These human-driven strategies will also require a longer sales or conversion timeline. Where a consumer purchase may only take one or very few touchpoints and could result in immediate sales, a B2B marketing campaign may take weeks or even months before conversion start to take place.
Brands that leverage influencer marketing for B2B stand a much stronger chance of earlier conversions and engagement. This Is largely due to the fact that the audience already trusts the influencer and is eager to hear their perspective and opinion.
As with any marketing campaign, trust is crucial to build. However, with influencer marketing for B2B, this critical trust spans multiple levels and takes longer to develop.
Businesses aren’t looking for a one-off sale or a one-off connection. They’re looking for partners who can work with them over longer periods of time and establish a healthy working relationship.
What Goes into a Successful B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign?
Influencer campaigns with a B2B audience must start from the right place in order to finish strong. Start here.
B2B Audience Characteristics
In order to effectively hit the plurality of decision-makers a B2B influencer campaign requires, it’s important to understand who the message is intended for at each step along the sales funnel. This requires a detailed customer avatar that defines every decision maker who must be influenced during the course of the sale.
What is their job title? What are their obstacles? What challenges do they or their team face? What are the big picture problems that leadership is trying to solve? And how does it differ from line-level struggles?
Define Campaign Goals
Now it’s time to define the goals of this influencer marketing for B2B campaign. Is the intention to increase brand awareness and credibility? Or are we aiming straight for sales and conversions? It’s important to have this defined before an influencer is selected to ensure a good fit for campaign objectives.
Choose The Right Platform
Before choosing an influencer and must first be decided what platform the campaign will be launched from. it must be a platform where the target audience spends their time. A Strong influencer match that exists on the wrong platform will yield lesser ROI.
Instagram is by far the largest and most successful platform for all forms of influencer marketing. However, many others play a vital role in reaching the right people. Consider other channels such as Clubhouse, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and even Tik-Tok.
Find An Audience-Matched Influencer
It’s not enough to select an influencer that has hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers. Those followers mean nothing if they’re not the right kind of followers.
The ideal customer has already been defined in the avatar, now it’s time to find out who they’re already following. Dig through existing or ideal customer social media channels and see who they’re listening to.
Who appears to be an authority in this niche? Who does the ideal customer engage with on relevant topics? Don’t be shy to check out the competition. Who follows competitors? Dig into their followers as well.
Find content creators who are already having the conversations the brand should be a part of. Is there a content creator who already appears to be an existing brand advocate?
Create a list of each of these potential influencers and dig through their audience members. Is the target market found there? Do they engage with this influencer?
Verify Influencer Credibility
Unfortunately, having a lot of followers doesn’t make someone an influencer. Followers can be bought, sold, or completely fake. Followers and even likes are considered a vanity metric.
Verify the content creator’s credibility as a true social media or industry influencer by measuring the metrics that matter. What is the reach of their content? How many comments are generated by their posts? Is their content shared?
These are the more valuable metrics that indicate how well an influencer’s message resonates with their audience. If that’s an audience the brand shares, there is a good chance this influencer is a strong match for a B2B campaign.
Think Outside of Social Media
Influencers don’t have to be only social media personas. Think of respected authors, speakers, service providers, bloggers, thought leaders, and podcast hosts who are already adding value to the shared audience. These partnerships offer strong, long-term collaboration opportunities that have the potential to grow both brands.
What Does Influencer Marketing For B2B Look Like?
A truly influential B2B content creator is not likely to be solely supported by their online influence. They have built their audience off of their actual expertise in a niche or field. This means influencer marketing for B2B may look a little different. Here are several key factors to keep in mind.
Leverage The Influencers Skillset
Trust goes both ways in influencer marketing. It’s important to establish a connection and ensure a long-term match before diving into collaborative products or projects.
Influencers in the B2B Niche have wisdom, knowledge, expertise, and insights to offer both the brand as well as the shared audience. Let this work to the Brand’s advantage.
Use the brand’s own channels to set the influencer up as an authority. Conduct interviews, market research, or case studies with the influencer that the target market would find useful.
Ensure The Content Creator Is Plugged-In To Products and Offers
The chosen content creator will be an ambassador for the brand. It’s critical that they clearly understand the brand’s message, offers, product lines, and overall values. This may require in-house or in-depth training to equip the influencer to properly speak on the brand’s behalf.
Remember to take the long-term view of influencer marketing for B2B relationships. The influencer is investing their time, energy, creative skills, and Industry platform into the brand. The brand should also invest end the relationship with the influence there, not just the paycheck.
Collaborate On New Content
This approach works better after a strong relationship has already been established, and the audience has been warmed up over a period of time. Give the influencer a seat at the table to collaborate on new projects, products, or events they believe the audience would value.
Always Deploy A Value-Driven Strategy In Influencer Marketing For B2B
Providing value immediately is a hallmark of influencer marketing for B2B campaigns. Decision makers must feel the marketing brand is Worthy of their time, attention, and investment.
Marketing content in an influencer campaign should help the target audience overcome challenges, answer common questions, and help understand their problem on a deeper level. This value-driven approach prepares them to receive the solution more openly when it’s time to make a final decision.
Leverage Video Content
It’s no surprise that with the rise of platforms such as TikTok, Twitch, and Instagram Reels, video Remains the number one formatting media used in marketing campaigns today. In a survey conducted by HubSpot, 88% of marketers report that video marketing provides a strong ROI, And 96% plan to increase or maintain their spending on video marketing content.
For B2B influencer marketing campaigns, video can be leveraged in a multitude of ways.
- Story videos
- Live streamed interviews
- Long-form tutorials
- Short-form engagement magnets
- Behind-the-scenes footage
- Exclusive access content
Together with the content creator, create a strategic plan for how and what to produce.
Launch A Campaign In Influencer Marketing For B2B Today
The numbers are in. The results are strong. B2B clients follow influencers and thought leaders in their niche. Brands should be showing up where their audience is.