If you thought that influencer marketing was only for B2C companies — think again! This lucrative marketing strategy can also be effective for B2B companies so long as you utilize the right approach. So here’s everything you need to know about B2B influencer marketing, how it works, why it works, and how to do it for your business:
What Is B2B Influencer Marketing and How Does It Work?
B2B influencer marketing is a type of marketing that involves partnering with social media “influencers” with established followings to promote a product, service, or overall business.
In B2B influencer marketing, the business approaches an influencer in their field who has a following that matches their target audience. The business may offer to pay the influencer directly for their work or provide them with a free product in exchange.
The influencer then creates content promoting the product, service, or business and encourages their followers to buy it.
Why Is B2B Influencer Marketing Beneficial?
While influencer marketing is particularly popular in the B2C context, it’s still useful for B2B businesses as well. Here are some specific reasons why:
- B2B influencer marketing can help you boost the credibility and authority of your business within your given industry
- B2B influencer marketing can help you reach new groups within your wider target audience
- B2B influencer marketing offers high conversion rates compared to other methods of marketing
How to Do B2B Influencer Marketing?
- Consider your marketing goals
- Consider your audience
- Research potential influencer partners
- Pitch potential influencer partners
- Establish partnership and campaign guidelines
- Track results and provide feedback
Here are six steps to help you plan and launch a successful B2B influencer marketing campaign:
Step 1: Consider Your Marketing Goals
First, you need to consider your marketing goals for the campaign. If you’re a new brand just starting out, you likely need to focus on building brand awareness. On the other hand, if you’re a more established brand trying to promote a new product launch, you should definitely focus on conversions. No matter your goals, it’s important to establish them at the beginning of the process to guide the rest of your campaign.
Step 2: Consider Your Audience
Next, you need to consider the audience for your campaign.
- Who are they?
- What do they do?
- What are they looking for?
- What do they care about?
- Which social media platforms do they use?
It might be helpful to develop an audience persona to gain a complete picture of your audience instead of just focusing on general demographic factors.
Audience personas for B2B campaigns differ from those for B2C campaigns. Instead of focusing on gender, age, and education, you will need to focus on industry, company size, and job title. Instead of considering personal goals and motivations, you need to consider professional goals and motivations.
Step 3: Research Potential Influencer Partners
Now that you have a better idea of your target audience, you can start researching potential influencer partners. Start by browsing your target social media platforms using your target keywords.
Check out the followers, views, likes, comments, and shares of any potential influencer partners you find. Check out the influencer’s content to make sure that it’s in line with your company goals and values.
Step 4: Pitch Potential Influencer Partners
Once you’ve identified a few influencers that you would like to partner with, you need to pitch to them. Most influencers include contact information for partnerships in their bios.
Using this information, you can craft your pitch. Your pitch should never be a generic email that you could send to an influencer; instead, you should tailor it to that influencer.
Talk about why you want to work with them specifically and mention specific photos, videos, podcasts, etc., that you particularly enjoyed and why. Also, talk about your business and what you expect to gain from the partnership.
Being up-front about your goals and expectations ensures that everyone is on the same page and lays the groundwork for a strong partnership.
Step 5: Establish Partnership and Campaign Guidelines
From there, you can further negotiate the terms of your partnership and provide your influencer partner with some guidelines for your campaign. Additionally, this is a great time to discuss some of the rules and regulations surrounding influencer marketing.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) states that you must disclose all sponsored content. There must be both written disclosure in the description of the video and verbal disclosure in the video itself for video reviews.
You can use the hashtags #ad and #sponsored for social media posts so long as they’re the first hashtags used and are visible.
Step 6: Track Results and Provide Feedback
You need to track the results to make sure that you’re hitting your goals. If you want to establish a long-term partnership with an influencer, provide them with feedback that they can use next time.
Best Practices for an Effective B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign
- Be authentic
- Go beyond follower counts
- Partner with multiple influencers
- Allo for creative freedom
- Work with marketing experts
Here are some best practices to ensure that your B2B influencer marketing campaign is successful:
1. Be Authentic
Influencing can seem shady when you don’t go about it the right way. As a result, it’s important to be authentic and upfront with your B2B influencer marketing campaigns so that the trust your target audience places in the influencer can be transferred to your business.
2. Go Beyond Follower Counts
Businesses tend to focus a lot on follower count in influencer marketing. And while follower count is important, it shouldn’t be your only consideration.
Micro-influencers with thousands of followers rather than millions are proven to be quite effective as they tend to have more personal relationships with a smaller and more dedicated group of followers.
3. Partner With Multiple Influencers
When it comes to influencer marketing, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. Instead, you should partner with multiple different influencers so that you can reach every inch of your target audience group.
4. Allow for Creative Freedom
While it may be tempting to simply give your influencer partner a script that they have to use for the campaign, this might not be the best approach. Influencers are proven content creators, so let them create their own content! Plus, their dedicated followers will likely be able to tell if something isn’t really coming from them or in their own voice.
5. Work With Marketing Experts
Clearly, a lot of work goes into running a successful influencer marketing campaign. From establishing partnerships to creating content, it’s definitely not in everyone’s wheelhouse. As a result, it might make sense for you to work with marketing experts who already have established relationships with influencers and know what goes into an effective campaign.
Greg Gillman is a marketing expert with extensive experience with influencer marketing in addition to other marketing tactics. He promotes an omnichannel approach to marketing wherein all marketing efforts work together for an unrivaled customer experience.
His revolutionary marketing approach has helped his clients generate $4 billion in annual revenue, including big names like Adidas, Goop, Lunya, Petco, Ring, Theragun, and more. At the same time, he works with small businesses to help them get started and experience growth with tailored marketing strategies.
Make a name for your B2B business in the world of influencer marketing. Reach out to Greg Gillman to discuss how to get started.