Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash
These days, influencer marketing is all the rage.
But what good is that? you might be thinking. I run a B2B business – influencer marketing is for B2C. Well, we’re here to tell you that influencer marketing can work just as well for B2B businesses as it does for B2C businesses.
In fact, studies show that the ROI generated by influencer marketing is 11 times higher than traditional strategies. Why is that? Well, partially because paid advertising is becoming more expensive, more crowded and therefore less effective.
But the real reason that B2B businesses should be turning to influencer marketing is that consumers trust other consumers more than they trust messages that come directly from brands. And while B2B consumers may not be consumers in the traditional sense – they are still people and should be treated as such. The best marketing is human to human.
For starters, B2B influencers drive greater visibility and credibility to B2B companies. Why? Because influencers bring their genuine opinions and expertise to the table. This means that they’re easier to trust and believe in.
Second, B2B influencers are powerful storytellers and those stories can resonate with your target audience if done in an authentic way. In this way, it’s likely they’ll be able to create a powerful story that connects and influences.
And finally, influencers drive conversations. That’s just what they do. They influence the conversations going on around your market, target customers, and services. So if you can get into the conversation – even if it’s just a mention – then that increases both your visibility and credibility, which will drive B2B audiences to you.
B2B influencer marketing is using somebody external to help raise your brand profile. You do this by leveraging the influencer’s expertise and the trust that your customer base has in this person or these persons to help give your brand credibility.
And while B2C influencer marketing takes place on Instagram and Facebook and Snapchat, B2B influencer marketing most often takes place on blogs and LinkedIn and Twitter and in the news. You want to leverage people like thought-leaders, market analysts, journalists, bloggers, and industry executives who are well known to your audience.
It can be hard for consumers or potential customers to trust the claims that companies make about themselves. But if the claims are made by somebody external – someone who is respected and trusted – that can make all the difference. This is because that external proof (the influencer) makes it far easier for potential purchasers to accept the claims are genuine. Even business buyers will trust the word of an influencer – a real live human – over the claims of the company itself.
So while B2C influencer marketing programs can see results in as little as 30 days, with B2B influencer marketing you need to lengthen your expectations. Most B2B influencer marketing campaigns take up to 6 months to start yielding results. This is because B2B purchasing decisions involve a lot more people than a B2C purchasing decision – and so it can take a while to make the decision or choice.
You also want to make sure you’re looking for and using existing influencers as advocates. It may be easier to get fresh or new influencers to agree to partner with you – but they won’t have the trust and credibility of an established influencer.
Additionally, make sure you’re keeping in mind any conflicts that may prevent an influencer from working with you. Most influencers have “day jobs” at a company which is why they’re so trusted. However, these day jobs can prevent them from hyping your product/services if they’re competing for the products/services the influencer is supposed to be promoting from their own company.
Finally, focus on co-creation. The more influencers put their own spin on your products, services, and benefits the more impactful and persuasive they are on your behalf. Give influencers the freedom to come up with ways to create interesting content as opposed to telling them what you want – they’re good at this. That’s why they’re the influencer.
We’re all influenced in one way or another. So, why not leverage influence to drive business opportunities forward? And influencers’ bread and butter is, well, influencing – so if you have a compelling solution that works mutually for your audience, they’re going to want to partner with you.