Influencers are an underutilized B2B social marketing resource. Not every organization has the knowledge to adapt the lessons of a particularly successful influencer campaign to their own needs, or even the foggiest clue of where to begin.
Any influencer strategy requires a customized approach that follows a few general principles: entertain, align, engage, relate, and be genuine. On a more practical level, here are five tips for launching and executing a successful B2B influencer campaign:
1. Where to begin
The first step in the process is to identify a few potential influencers who share appeal with your target market. Instagram has a creator marketplace specifically designed to match video creators with brands. So does YouTube’s BrandConnect platform.
While these platforms are helpful for finding talented video creators, identifying the channels you are using to reach your target market is crucial to an effective marketing strategy. Thought leaders and industry experts may provide increased reach on channels such as LinkedIn. This is important to consider if your marketing initiatives do not include video creation.
Once you’ve committed to a channel and a medium for your influencer campaign, look for creators, thought leaders, or industry experts who align with your brand’s core values. This matters more than the influencer’s audience size. The ultimate goal is to spread brand awareness to a relevant audience, but you will need to think critically about who will create content that inspires confidence in your organization. Having an influencer who believes in your values ― and vice versa ― will encourage passion through effective promotions.
2. How to Collaborate
Once you have a few potential influencer partners in mind, come ready with ideas on how your company would like to approach its target market, and how to allow the influencer to tailor this approach to their own brand. This will help get influencers interested in what you’re doing as a company.
Propose a structured approach to your campaign that will create expectations. Be flexible when creating a promotion that will benefit your brand as well as for their content. Allow enough room for creative freedom, so the creator can incorporate their personal touch that fosters engagement.
3. Think long-term
Long-term relationship building is a strong promotional tactic. Top Rank Marketing has found that 86 percent of B2B brands consider their influencer marketing successful.
Central to this strategy is trust: An influencer who also believes in what you are selling will provide authentic feedback to your target market, which in turn establishes brand trust. This is especially important in industries where rules and regulations are in place to maintain the integrity of the relationship between an individual and a business, such as, finance, healthcare, and insurance.
Think critically about the kind of content that will engage your audience. In 2022, webinars were the favored content of B2B influencer marketing climate, according to Top Rank Marketing. This is in part because of the potential for live engagement with a webinar event. The audience values the immediate rapport that you can build with the influencer.
When pursuing a webinar strategy, consider influencers who are experts in your field ― known as “thought leaders.” They already have content that is viewed by others looking for educational experiences, which reframes advertising into a more engaging experience. These individuals do not necessarily need to have a high follower count to generate engagement.
5. Look within
Consider the potential for an employee already in your organization to serve as an influencer. This could save money and ensure the Influencer aligns with your brand. Employee content has also seen an increase in engagement by eight times more than the company’s channel content. Employee content, especially executive content, is something that is overlooked and underutilized.
GE’s LifeAfter/The Message adapted an employee discussion about the limits of technology into a podcast format, entertaining and captivating the audience with a wide range of tech solutions provided by GE.
One drawback to utilizing an employee influencer is the fear of losing that employee. This can be one prong of your influencer strategy; a team of influencers that doesn’t solely depend on one or two people can help mitigate the risk.
Finally, be sure to have a mechanism for measuring your ROI. Monitor the engagement rate and other analytics on your influencer’s content to ensure the strategy is reaching your target audience.
Keep in mind that sales metrics might be slow to respond. Long-term promotional activities involve establishing a trusting relationship with your audience that won’t always translate to immediate revenue.
Tatum Van Andel is a marketing associate at ddm marketing +communications. She provides marketing and operational support for the agency. With a passion to learn, Tatum approaches new projects with enthusiasm, curiosity, and confidence.