Thanks to the rise of social media, influencer marketing campaigns have become increasingly popular over the last few years. They’re also wildly effective – not only do 74 percent of people turn to social networks for guidance before making a purchase, but an incredible 49 percent of people actually say that they rely heavily on these influencer recommendations before they’re willing to part with their hard-earned dollar.
But even in the face of statistics like these, many B2B brands have been slow to take advantage of this particular trend. They often think that because B2B and B2C audiences are so wildly different, an influencer marketing campaign can’t work for them, so why should they even bother. In reality, this is absolutely false. Influencer marketing campaigns simply focus on individuals who have influence over potential buyers – nothing more, nothing less. This concept can absolutely be applied to the B2B world with a tremendous amount of success. You just have to keep a few key things in mind.
Important Considerations for a B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign
Influencer marketing campaigns are nothing if not a great way to connect with customers who are already difficult to reach. In the B2B world, who could be more difficult to reach than the one person at one particular company with purchasing authority? Young people in particular have been raised in a world where they’ve grown to dislike advertising, to the point where 84 percent of millennials say they distrust it altogether. As B2B buyers get younger, these types of campaigns are only going to get more important.
This segues into perhaps the most important consideration for running a B2B influencer marketing campaign: you need to learn how to tell the difference between brand advocates and genuine influencers. A brand advocate is simply someone who loves your brand, its products and its services. An influencer takes things one step farther and adds in a tremendous amount of social capital – Twitter followers, email subscribers interview opportunities, conference speaking engagements and more.
Influencers that meet these requirements exist in the B2B world and rest assured, they’ve already got the ear of your target audience. You just have to get better at seeking them out. Consider business coaches, authors and other prominent business experts.
Once you do identify the influencers who your audience is listening to, you need to take steps to further that relationship in an organic way. Look for opportunities for a true partnership – work to create a mutually beneficial relationship for both you and the B2B influencer. Be authentic and move forward with the highest level of transparency. Communicate your return on investment goals for the campaign from the outset and look for ways in which you can both help each other.
But if you’re going to be successful in terms of your B2B influencer marketing campaign, you need to make it easy at all costs. Lay out everything for your influencer to make the process of helping you (which is largely what you’re asking them to do) as simple and as straightforward as possible. Don’t rely on them to pull in the necessary content – come up with that yourself. Design the content marketing. Draft the emails.
Give them everything they need so that they can focus all of their attention on the thing that matters the most to both of you: their voice and its powerful reach.