The marketing world is governed by influence. It drives sales, increases a brand’s visibility both on and offline, and connects companies with their target audience. Given that consumers are no longer susceptible to plastic digital advertising, the only way to market to your target demographic is through the word of an influential (and authentic) spokesperson for your brand.
When we talk about influencer marketing, we’re often referring to an established profile online using their expertise and skills to market to the everyday consumer; like you and us. However, when we delve a little deeper, we discover that influencers operate in the corporate world to connect businesses with other businesses. This is B2B influencer marketing.
To find out more about B2B influencer marketing, whether as a business or as an aspiring B2B influencer, keep reading!
What is B2B influencer marketing, exactly?
Just as the name suggests, B2B stands for business-to-business. This means that any marketing that takes place within this realm is from one business to another. B2B influencer marketing holds several key distinctions from its B2C (business to consumer) counterpart.
For starters, it is typically a lot more informational. This is because, unlike the purchase decisions of the everyday consumer, business purchase decisions are based on bottom line revenue impact; in other words, what a business’ net income is. Another consideration for corporate decision makers are ROI (return on investment) opportunities.
As emphasised previously, you should be looking for B2B influencers within your existing customers, fans, business partners and employees for evidence of advocacy and influence. These influencers should be experts and have profound knowledge in your industry.
B2B marketing can succeed in many formats. These can include:
Blogs – if kept regularly updated, your blog can provide you with organic visibility and drive traffic to your site—which is what we do here at Socially Powerful in order to attract our clients!
Search – though the SEO space can be a tricky one to navigate, staying on top of changing practices is crucial for any B2B marketing strategy.
Social media – keep this both paid and organic. Channels can be used to research potential vendors for purchase decisions.
eBooks & infographics – these informational and downloadable documents can either be gated (meaning a user must provide contact information or perform another action to acquire access) or ungated.
Livestream events & webinars – good for demonstrating expertise, showing innovation or granting behind-the-scenes access into your company’s culture.
Case studies & customer testimonials – establishing credibility is crucial for B2B marketing strategists.
B2B influencer marketing examples
Let’s step away from all the technical jargon for now and take a look at some B2B influencer marketing examples.
In honour of National Women’s Day, Microsoft launched their #MakeWhatsNext campaign in 2017.
With the aim being to empower women to pursue their dream jobs, particularly in STEM, the tech giant leveraged some of social media’s most influential macro and micro adventure photographers to get 30 perfect shots; all of which featured a story about a female adventurer or scientist.
This B2B influencer marketing strategy turned out to be a success, as Microsoft reached a commendable 91 million people with their campaign, with the photos receiving 3.5 million likes in just a matter of days.
This surely solidified Microsoft’s position as one of the leaders of innovation.
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As a way to promote their new platinum card, American Express launched a campaign using the hashtag #AmexAmbassadors. The card was targeted to high-spending individuals, such as business executives and managers, as a way of emphasising luxury and exclusiveness.
To achieve their goals, American Express partnered with a variety of influencers and celebrities who lead luxurious lifestyles and travelled frequently in order to enjoy the special privileges that come with the platinum Amex card. During the campaign, these influencers were tasked with creating posts depicting travel and events showing how much they enjoyed the benefits of having this card. This B2B influencer marketing campaign was a great way of leveraging the power of diversity within the social media realm; reiterating that successful people come from a wide range of sectors, representing a huge spread of companies.
How to set yourself up for B2B marketing success
Here are a few pillars that will help your team stand out and make an impact:
Be human – Remember, you are trying to reach real people within a company, and like any other human being, they are driven by emotional and cognitive motivations. Don’t just learn about the companies you’re pursuing, learn about the people behind them.
Target with both precision and volume in mind – A common mistake when selling is trying to pinpoint the decision maker. Most b2b buying decisions are made by multiple stakeholders. It is essential to do your research so that you can target all stakeholders.
Thought leadership makes an impact – Research shows that senior-level decision makers read thought leadership content for at least an hour a week. What’s more, B2B decision makers will pay more if it means they’re working with a company that has used thought leadership to establish a clear vision of the future.
Keep context in mind – while you may want to speak the language of your customers, you should be aiming to run ads that fit thematically with the trends on that particular platform. For example, short-form video works well on most social media channels, while longer, informative videos are favoured by YouTube.
B2B Influencer Marketing Round Up
People and companies do not want to be sold plastic promises nowadays. They want real insights from real people, who know what they’re on about. This is what B2B influencer marketing is all about.
What is B2B influencer marketing?
B2B influencer marketing is where a company partners with an influencer (typically an expert in a certain field) to sell their product or service to another company. #
Is B2B influencer marketing effective?
B2B influencer marketing is effective if a thorough strategy is planned out ahead of running a campaign.
Why do B2B influencers exist?
In a world that no longer trusts traditional advertising methods, word of mouth recommendations are fast becoming the most effective way of grabbing the attention of your target audience and accompanying them through to the purchase phase. Whether it is business to consumer, or business to business; influencers are the perfect, persuasive middle man.
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