Tips for an Effective B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign
The thought of an influencer might bring a celebrity or Instagrammer with a high follower count to mind, as they promote the latest weight-loss tea or makeup brand. While B2C (business to consumer) influencer marketing has skyrocketed in recent years, B2B (business to business) influencer marketing has yet to hit its peak, but continues to grow. And B2B influencers aren’t necessarily promoting products through a highly stylized photograph, which begs the question: How are brands able to promote their products and services to fellow businesses via an influencer?
If you’re a B2B organization looking to make use of an influencer, consider the following:
Follower counts don’t matter
Influencer marketing in the B2B world works best when companies work with micro- and nano-level influencers – meaning that you don’t need to hire someone with millions of followers. A recent piece by Forbes notes that “even though these micro-influencers (5k-10k followers) and nano-influencers (1k-5k followers) have much smaller audiences, those audiences are almost invariably far more engaged than those of mega-influencers.” Consider using an influencer that’s already in your industry, whether it be a thought leader, a rising star, or even an employee at your company.
The authenticity of using an industry voice boosts your campaign’s credibility factor, and will create an authentic connection with those being influenced. B2B influencers should have a strong knowledge of the topic for which they are producing content.
You don’t have to create the perfect Instagram lifestyle
Your influencer won’t be posing by the ferris wheel at Coachella in a stylish outfit, using your product. Staged photos and perfectly shot videos won’t resonate with your audience. Instead, consider a behind-the-scenes look at your business or products. Interviews with actual employees and advocates will give a real-life look at your business that isn’t fake or contrived.
IBM ran an ad campaign called “Dear Tech, Let’s Talk,” featuring celebrities, influencers, and IBM employees. In one video, Lisa Deluca, a distinguished engineer and mother of four, conversed with a young girl about how STEM isn’t just an old boys club. The video seeks to break down gender barriers and encourage younger generations to pursue careers in previously male-dominated fields.
The video is featured on a YouTube playlist featuring similar videos with the hashtag #SheCanSTEM, encouraging young girls learning from female engineers, astronomers, and other noteworthy women in STEM. The YouTube series makes this career path easy to learn about for younger viewers, and introduces them to career paths that might not have existed for previous generations.
Sharing content can happen on- and offline
B2B influencers may choose to share their content on LinkedIn or YouTube, or give live demonstrations on streaming platforms like Facebook Live. But they can also be found “in real life,” whether it be presenting at conferences or networking events. Engaging with a captive audience is paramount, as Forbes notes that “80% of B2B buyers consume at least three pieces of content before talking to a sales person.” Someone may have even shared this article with you!
B2B influencer marketing seeks to give life to intangible topics, products and services. Are you trying to educate fellow businesses about AI, AR, IoT, or the latest cutting-edge technology – and how your product/service will provide a solution? An influencer will be able to help your business spread its message effectively and on an accessible level. Get creative and see what an influencer can accomplish in the B2B world – it will propel your brand into the industry limelight.