Understanding the Evolution of B2B Influencer Marketing
Over the years, the term “influencer” has evolved manifold. The understanding of who is an influencer is now deeper than ever. The idea of an individual having an “influence” on any specific set of audiences is what ideally comprises an influencer. When we say influence, it could mean many things, ranging from the way one dresses, eats, travels, etc. While it began initially as something that effectively catered to the B2C market, it has now also taken over the B2B market. "How?" you’d ask. The answer to this is very simple.
In the current fast-paced world, every corporate decision-maker is now savvier, demanding, and discerning. People now look up to personal reviews and ratings rather than any plastic marketing techniques. This is exactly where B2B influencer marketing helps. When an influencer advocates for a business, they build a level of trust among their followers for the brand. The business achieves a wider level of acceptance and trust through this method.
Understanding the type of influencer that would work for your marketing goal is also a core component. While huge follower numbers have always been a highlight, it isn’t necessarily the most effective factor that must be taken into consideration. Influencer marketing
in B2B is comparatively trickier than in B2C. The credibility required in the B2B cycle is much larger.
Most often, B2B influencers are professionals familiar with the B2B buying cycle. They can be industry analysts, experts from industry bodies, or opinion leaders. It then depends upon your influencer marketing strategy on which kind of influencer you would like to associate with for your business.
B2B Influencers to Watch in 2022
Almost every company has people who are happy with the service that they have received and would share a positive note about the company. Positive word of mouth has always been an effective marketing method, and brand advocacy is exactly the same. This can even be one of your employees, as a matter of fact. The top management of a firm would always have a c-suite circle that appreciates suggestions and recommendations.
The most sought-after people for B2B influencer marketing are industry analysts. B2B marketers are most anxious when a new report from Gartner, IDC, or Forrester Research is released. Keeping this in mind, it is quite clear how influential they are, irrespective of any market sector.
Thought leaders are basically the prodigious content creators of a specific theme or topic, ideally someone who would write for a mainstream publication and drive a conversation while being a top executive in a leading industry. Someone whose words hold great value among others is an ideal prospect for your B2B influencer marketing campaign.
Enabling the Right B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy
Once you have an idea about the B2B influencer you are looking to associate with, then comes the aspect of strategizing. While the process is fairly straightforward, there are certain things that need to be established before initiating a B2B influencer marketing strategy.
The strategies that you would incorporate for your B2B influencers would ideally take a longer timeline. Because of the decision makers being involved and the larger purchases, it makes the process extensive. Furthermore, you’d also need to closely understand the kind of followers your B2B influencers have and what their average engagement is. Most importantly, you should also figure out what their audiences are more inclined towards and what kind of content would work. Once you have all these aspects in place, you’ll be one step closer to having an effective B2B influencer marketing campaign.
Understanding Buyer Persona and Evaluating Your B2B Influencer Strategy
After you have effectively evaluated the buyer persona
, that is when you strategize the goals and KPIs for your B2B influencer marketing strategy. These KPIs would ideally span across the most common metrics like clicks, impressions, conversions, and sales. Associating with a B2B influencer whose goals match those of your business would effectively bring in much better results.
Partnering with an influencer allows you to highlight your brand’s own existing narrative in a new way, so that you can reinforce the proof points you really want your customers to know.”
Whitney Magnuson, Global Head of Social and Influencers at IBM Systems
Challenges and Opportunities with B2B Influencer Marketing
The most common challenge that one will come across while curating their B2B influencer marketing campaign is when they have to decide the scale of the influencer, whether they want to activate a nano-influencer, a micro-influencer, or a macro-influencer. Yet again, the most effective way to tackle this challenge is by looking back at what your end goals are.
In the year 2017, Microsoft’s ‘Make What’s Next Campaign’ partnered with National Geographic to launch an Instagram campaign on the occasion of Women’s Day. The core objective was to promote their event #MakeWhatsNext to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM disciplines.
The campaign was a resounding success, with the pictures garnering over 3.5 million likes on the very first day. This campaign helped Microsoft reach more than 90 million people.
B2B influencer marketing is growing exponentially. With the markets constantly evolving every day, it is important that we keep up with the needs of the hour. The pandemic has also played a large role in this aspect, where several marketing channels
have become obsolete. With the demand for new and fresh marketing ideas constantly on the rise, B2B influencer marketing has effectively become a crucial armor in a marketer’s arsenal.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to find the ideal B2B Influencer for your business?
The best way to go about this is to tap into who your clients follow and understand the type of content that they consume. Once you have an idea of this, you can then easily decide the kind of influencer that would work best for your marketing strategy
How can you benefit from using B2B influencer marketing campaigns?
The global pandemic has brought about drastic changes in the landscape of B2B marketing. Several companies are now experiencing reduced marketing budgets, a trend that is likely to continue. With this situation demanding a fresh perspective towards B2B marketing, B2B influencer marketing effectively captures all the required essence.
How does B2B influencer marketing work?
B2B influencer marketing provides content generation and distribution at a much lower price. This method is also proven to be more authentic, engaging and has a higher ROI than any other form of digital media.