When you hear the term ‘influencer’, you may immediately picture snapshots of stars like Kylie Jenner and Selena Gomez sipping a whey protein shake or applying a heavy dose of cellulite-busting lotion on Instagram. Top it off with a #ad in the caption, and it becomes abundantly clear there was a hefty payment fueling the post to their 141 million+ follower fanbases. Though this method of influencer marketing has seen a recent rise in relevancy and success, it only scrapes the surface of influencer potential. Believe it or not, influencer marketing may stand to revolutionize B2B channels, as it effectively combats some of the greatest challenges facing the digital world today.
B2B influencer marketing is a tactic that creates mutual value for both parties involved, while producing higher quality content for consumers. It’s an efficient and effective collaboration. When two businesses team up, they have the potential to generate greater value than one could have achieved without the other. Over 2,000 years later, the words of Aristotle reign true: “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.
How does it work?
A B2B approach varies greatly from a B2C approach. The purpose in B2B is not to purchase an expensive name or personality to advertise your product, but rather to integrate a fresh, outside perspective into your own marketing campaign. Whether you’re looking to use a brand expert, big name CEO, or one of your own clients, this will often be an organic transaction.
You want to actually build a relationship with the influencer, curating genuine and informed content, rather than simply scratching them a check and moving on to the next.
Who’s your influencer?
The key to choosing an effective influencer is to find someone for whom you can create mutual value. You want to select a person who is both pertinent to your topic, and who stands to gain something from the collaboration. This will often require a deep analysis into your influencer’s expertise and current audience base. Think of industry experts like certified physicians or PR professionals as potential influencers. Look for someone who has the ability to promote your business in a positive light and who properly aligns with the messaging represented through your current channels.
Ideally, your influencer will be willing to share the collaboration on their own social channels. If they have a following that is consistent with the audience you are targeting, this can greatly multiply the reach of your campaign.
How is it successful?
By incorporating a relevant influencer’s voice into your marketing campaign, you have the ability to create a higher quality content. For example, say you represent a small investment firm. If you can include a direct quote from a notable financial expert into a personal blog post, you’ve instantly elevated your reputability. And, what do they stand to gain? Make sure to promote their business and elevate their expertise so that they feel validated in their contributions. The more genuine of a relationship you build, the more likely you can receive influencer commentary for nothing more than an overall desire to inform the community.
It’s essential to maintain relationships. Think of your influencers as extended branches of your business, reaching out into all sectors of the world. The larger you can grow your network and the more you can sustain these relationships, the greater success you will have moving forward.
In addition, keep your influencers informed on the results of their featured campaigns. Let them know the extent to which they were able to create value. If they feel redeemed by the contributions made and fully heard by your audience, they will walk away from your business feeling appreciated and inspired to work together again in the future.
Not all influencers are Instagram stars or internet moguls with 100k+ followers. Joe from HR can add value. Susie from the office next-door can add value. If you’re ready to kickstart an influencer campaign, take the necessary steps to ensure it is strategic and effective, and reach out to us today if you’re looking for help along the way.