In the world of B2B marketing, businesses are constantly looking for new ways to engage their audiences and drive sales. One of the newer and effective ways of marketing is influencer marketing. It was once thought to only belong to the B2C sphere, but it has proven itself in the B2B sphere as well.
Influencer involves partnering with individuals (called “influencers”) with a large following on social media or other platforms to promote a brand or product. These influencers have the ability to reach a wide audience due to their following and fulfill the role of celebrities in marketing. They are seen as trusted sources of information and set trends as leaders of their following.
Why is influencer marketing effective?
There are several factors that contribute to the effectiveness of influencer marketing.
Firstly, influencers have a strong relationship with their audiences. They have built up trust and credibility over time by providing valuable content and engaging with their followers. When an influencer promotes a product or service, their followers are more likely to trust their recommendation and make a purchase.
Secondly, influencers have the ability to reach a large audience quickly (subject to the size of the following). Through social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn, influencers are able to reach thousands of people with a single post. This is particularly valuable when decision-makers are difficult to reach through traditional marketing channels.
Finally, influencer marketing can be a cost-effective method of marketing. Rather than spending a lot of money garnering a following and creating advertisements, businesses can partner with influencers with an already established following and a strong online presence.
How to select the right influencer
When going down the influencer marketing route, there are several aspects to consider. One of the more important factors to consider is who the influencer(s) is going to be. But what constitutes the “right” influencer?
Firstly, the influencer should be relevant to the industry or product. While the B2C market can get by through sheer popularity of the influencer, B2B businesses aren’t aiming at a general populous. They are aiming for business decision-makers. There is a higher chance of a business’s target market consuming the content of an influencer relevant to their industry. For example, if you’re selling software for accounting firms, you may want to partner with an influencer who is an accountant or has a large following in the accounting industry.
Secondly, the influencer should have a large and engaged following. Number of followers is one way to check this, but engagement level per post also matters.
Finally, the influencer should align with the business’s values and reputation. Guilty by association is a thing in business and within a larger public space, this matters when a business’s reputation is at stake. Businesses should also align with someone who aligns with their brand and radiates an energy that is congruent with the business and has the ability to foster leads.
Best practices for running influencer marketing campaigns
Once an influencer(s) is chosen, there are several steps to ensure that everything goes smoothly. There are other ways of doing things, but this is what we think are the best practices for a successful campaign.
Firstly, it is important to set clear goals and objectives for the campaign. This could be said for any marketing campaign, but a deliberate marketing campaign informs deliberate practices. What is the purpose of the campaign? To increase brand awareness? Drive website traffic? Generate leads? By setting clear goals, the results of the campaign are measurable, and adjustments can be made. Furthermore, the goals and objectives of the campaign will inform other decisions in the marketing strategy.
Secondly, the influencer should receive clear guidelines and expectations. This could include the messaging they should use, the types of content they are allowed to create in association, and any legal requirements they should comply with.
Lastly, these guidelines and expectations can be stifling at times. The influencer should have the freedom to create content that is in line with their own brands. This allows them to resonate with their audiences while still promoting a product or service. By doing this, they are able to create engaging content which is important for marketing.