Many B2B companies struggle with promoting their products and services. Most of the time, this is because they’re using the wrong techniques.
Don’t get us wrong. Digital marketing strategies like search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are critical. However, did you know that 91% of B2B purchase decisions are influenced by word of mouth?
Customers (even business customers) value the opinions of others above anything else. As a result, your organization needs to figure out how to tap into this well, which is where influencer marketing comes into play.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is one of the largest industries in the marketing domain. Forecasts state that it could be worth up to $16.4 billion by the end of 2022.
Influencer marketing is all about using other people to influence the purchase decisions of your target audience. When talking about B2B influencer marketing specifically, you want influencers to convince other businesses that what you’re offering is exactly what they need.
How Does it Work?
You can’t simply walk up to a random person on the street and ask them to promote your services for you. That’s not how it works. That random pedestrian likely has no influence over the businesses you’re targeting.
The trick is finding individuals or other companies that are likely to have an effect on your target market. These will most likely be people your ideal customers are listening to or people whose opinions are highly valued within your target market’s industry. Influencers often take the form of YouTubers, podcast hosts, and industry experts or thought leaders.
Typically, you will start by contacting these influencers and discussing your campaign with them. You’ll have to ask them to create content about your brand in exchange for payment and free products. After settling all the terms (what they will post, how often they need to post, etc.), the influencer gets to work.
The influencers will attempt to create content that attracts your target audience and reels them in. If your target audience truly values the opinion of your chosen influencer, their content is highly likely to generate some interest amongst that audience. Thus, the influencer’s recommendations encourage businesses to contact you and inquire about your offerings.
Of course, this is a simplified version of the process. The actual process can take several months before you see results. Still, this is generally how B2B influencer marketing works.
How Do You Find the Right Influencers?
The first step in any B2B influencer marketing campaign is to find your influencers. If you don’t have the right people working to promote your brand, then the entire campaign will fall on deaf ears. There are two primary considerations when choosing an influencer: popularity and engagement.
Popularity covers factors like social media followers, YouTube subscribers, and blog visitors. In most cases, the more popular an individual is, the better they will be at promoting your brand. You can find influencers with follower counts as low as 1,000 or as high as 10,000,000 and beyond. However, popularity isn’t good enough on its own; you need engagement.
Consider how influential the influencer actually is. This is the point, after all. How engaged is their audience? Does their audience seem to hang onto their every word? Do they get lots of social media interaction? Do their blog posts or videos get tons of views and comments?
Influencers with lots of engagement are the best ones to focus on because they have a stronger relationship with their audience. It is more likely that people will listen to them and take their opinions seriously.
As such, popularity shouldn’t be the only factor you consider. Someone with only 1,000 followers could have much more influence on their audience than someone with ten times as many followers. At the same time, large audiences are a good thing, so you must find a good middle ground. Just make sure you don’t sacrifice engagement for more followers.
Finally (and this is pretty obvious), the influencer needs to be relevant to your brand. What does your company sell? What industry do you work in? The influencer’s age and gender are also important considerations. Find people who align themselves with your industry and share a target audience with you.
Ensure the influencer’s target audience includes critical decision-makers in their respective businesses. Selling to businesses via influencer marketing is different from selling to consumers via the same methods. You can’t just target any random employee; you have to target the members of a company who can get the ball rolling.
Where Can You Find Influencers for a B2B Marketing Campaign?
If you comb through different social media accounts for potential influencers, you will likely come across many catered to the B2C market. You might need to look a little bit harder for B2B influencers. It helps to have some tools at your disposal to pinpoint the best prospects. Here are some of the best to help you get started: GroupHigh, Klear, and Upfluence.
These tools help you search for influencers based on a series of factors. For instance, if you sell business software applications, you can search for individuals most suitable for this kind of promotion. From here, you can find their contact details and view any previous or existing campaigns they’ve done for other companies.
What Are the Benefits of B2B Influencer Marketing?
There are many benefits of B2B influencer marketing, including the following.
Broadens Your Reach
Many small businesses struggle in the B2B space. A lot of companies already have contracts with B2B suppliers, so it can be difficult to establish yourself. However, 78% of B2B marketers claim they increased the social reach of their brand by working with influencers.
Working with individuals who have already established a large audience will promote your brand to more people. It raises brand awareness, sowing the seeds of your company directly into the minds of your target customers.
Improves Your ROI
Your return on investment is everything when running marketing campaigns. There is no point in spending money on marketing or advertising if it doesn’t yield a positive return. Influencer marketing is fairly affordable, making it one of the easiest digital marketing techniques to achieve a positive ROI. Sometimes you can achieve a positive ROI by simply sending out free products to a handful of influencers.
Generates More Leads and Sales
Another reason the ROI for influencer marketing is so impressive is that it helps you boost leads and sales. Not only are you tapping into your target market, but you’re also utilizing the people they trust to influence their decisions.
As previously mentioned, a high percentage of B2B transactions occur with the assistance of word-of-mouth. People who decide to buy things for their business will often listen to others before coming to a decision. If they listen to people with large followings and a lot of respect, they are likelier to follow what they say. Thus, influencers can direct more traffic to your website and create more sales and leads.
Builds Trust and Credibility
Moreover, influencer marketing can help you improve your brand credibility and trustworthiness. Again, it goes back to the idea of already established and trustworthy people talking about your brand. If someone is known as an expert within the tech industry and speaks about your new software application, businesses are more likely to trust your brand. In essence, you are hitching a ride on the credibility and trust the influencer has built!
Enhances Other Marketing Techniques
A little-known advantage of influencer marketing is that it can improve other marketing techniques. Your SEO will improve because you’re generating more backlinks to your website through the influencer’s content. Plus, if you gain traffic due to the campaign, this also gives your search engine performance a boost.
You may also gain more followers on social media, further improving your chances of using that as a channel to promote your business. Overall, there are lots of ways that influencer marketing benefits your brand strategy. There is just one question left to consider…
How Should You Use B2B Influencer Marketing?
You’ve seen the benefits, but how can you apply influencer marketing to your overall brand strategy? Of course, it all begins by creating your B2B buyer personas, which help you understand who your target customers are. From here, you can figure out which influencers will suit your business. After contacting them, you have multiple ways to utilize B2B influencer marketing.
Create Your Own Content Using the B2B Influencers
Brands do this all the time. They create blog posts or videos that include an influencer or two. The influencers could provide a guest post on your site, or perhaps they are the subject of a video testing your product or service. The advantage of this is that they will drive their audience to this content, which has a more direct impact on your business as you gain views and traffic.
Allow the Influencers to Handle Content Creation
In most cases, influencers prefer to create their own content, as it gives them more creative freedom. You pay them to make content, but you don’t give them any strict rules. They just have to build something around your brand or product.
It could be a video, a blog post, or some social media content. The influencer creates this and posts it by an agreed-upon date. As a result, it is seen by their followers (and your target audience), raising awareness and potentially driving inquiries to your website. You can also reuse this content for your own ads or social media posts.
Start Capitalizing on Influencer Marketing!
Although influencer marketing is a relatively new digital marketing technique, there’s no question that it is here to stay. In our society that is dominated by the internet, social media, and podcasts, influencer marketing is becoming increasingly essential by the day.
RSM Marketing offers both B2B and B2C influencer marketing services. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help you leverage this incredibly popular marketing technique to increase your sales and grow your business!
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