The last few years have put a huge light on the marketing possibilities influencers can bring for a brand.
But why are influencers so important for marketing? While pure content marketing can sometimes be seen as a strict advertising message, influencers portray their authentic view about a product or service with a very wide (volume) and specific (interest) reach.
While certain social network channels like Instagram are very relevant to promote an amazing new lipstick to a huge crowd and highly targeted audience (let’s say…young, female, #redisthenewblack), things might become a bit more difficult when the product to be marketed is in fact a service and the target audience are other businesses.
The most significant differences between product B2C and service B2B marketing might be the exact timing at which point in the customer journey the influencer will invite the audience, as well as through which channels influencers can reach the potential audience.
Sometimes the goal is to spread a message as far as possible (for example, for recruitment purposes) sometimes a very detailed message to a very small target group is needed.
So what are in fact the options to engage influencers in successful B2B marketing campaigns?
Blogger or writers / journalists that are well known in their area of expertise (travel authors, tech invention bloggers, etc.) can be great influencers as their target group is very specific. Think a YouTube video about the consumer product mentioned above, lipstick. This reaches a much wider audience than likely necessary as many people will watch the video although they are not looking for a new lipstick nor is the product their color or possibly their price range. However, the video is watched from all over the world, resulting in a large amount of views, although the product might not even be available for many viewers in their area. B2B bloggers, writers or journalists will reach a rather small crowd in comparison, but readers or viewers are likely to be experts or very interested and possibly deciders in the same field, product or service. Engaging a guest blogger that is an influencer in a specific area of expertise can increase a brand´s readership and credibility and magnify the content reach.
Speakers are an excellent option for very selective B2B influencer marketing. Conferences, meetings, events or symposiums are all great opportunities to engage with like-minded professionals and share opinions. Sharing the same vision about the future of a company’s product, service or solution and the desire and ability to create a real passion amongst the crowd can be extremely beneficial, especially for companies offering service solutions that might require a very specialist knowledge (and audience).
Employees that are excited and proud of their work environment and company, can be highly influential. Many companies are not only relying on influencers to market their service in a B2B environment, but also to recruit the right staff. An excited and motivated employee with a high social media reach and a following in the similar target audience can really boost recruitment efforts for employers.
Employees sharing their positive work experience online and giving career tips, etc. to their followers can be very effective in raising a company’s visibility and credibility in the job market, compared to a paid ad with a professional model or actor and a generic message.
Clients can be true B2B influencers through testimonials, word-of-mouth and references. Clients might be contacted by business partners, as they have possibly seen or heard about your service, but now need further info and a reference in order to take it to the next step and contact you. They will likely seek further information in order to compare their current view or knowledge of your service with the reference of a trusted business partner.Client testimonials are a perfect tool for B2B influencer marketing, especially when they can be used for communication and marketing purposes.
Influencer marketing can be more cost efficient, more personal and more trusted than a general advertisement message, but keep in mind, that finding and working with an influencer in a B2B environment takes time and a lot of relationship building efforts. B2B influencer marketing is based on trust, similar interest and a common goal or benefit. Finding and engaging in a good B2B influencer marketing strategy can absolutely take a company’s efforts, visibility and engagement to the next level.
How does your company engage influencers in their B2B marketing efforts? Tell us about it in the comment section, we love to hear your thoughts.