Influencer marketing is ever-changing, time-consuming, and can be a complicated strategy to plan, launch, and manage. For these reasons, it may be tempting to avoid an influencer marketing strategy, and you may wonder whether it’s worth including it in your budget. Consider, however, that many leading marketing trend-watchers are expecting this market to generate over $22 billion in revenue this year.
For quite some time, influencer marketing was considered a space that only B2C lived in. However, there are many benefits to B2B brands embracing influencer marketing. It’s cost-effective, impactful, and can actually save time. Not convinced? Read on for some tips to perfect your potential B2B influencer marketing strategy.
In a sea of influencers, finding the right partner for your brand can be daunting. Before seeking out your desired influencer, you’ll want to ensure that you’ve clearly identified your brand identity, including your values, audience, and desired campaign goals. Doing the legwork to determine the trustworthiness of an influencer can provide a lot of insight into your potential partner. Analyzing a user’s engagement rate, such as likes and comments, versus their followers is a great quality check in determining genuine interaction and insight into their audience. Don’t forget to do research on who they are and what they stand for, as their values also need to align with your brand.
Quality over Quantity (of Followers)
For many brands developing their list of potential B2B influencers, one of the things they’ll consider initially is follower count. Although this is an important metric to consider, audience engagement should be higher on your list. Having a good understanding of an influencer’s relationship with their audience can be critical to developing a partnership. Additionally, don’t overlook the micro-influencer. Although they may have a smaller reach, they are typically more budget-friendly, are experts in a niche market, and may be more in-tune with their audience, resulting in a higher sales conversion rate. In short, having a small but highly engaged audience can be much more valuable to you than a larger audience with a less engaged following.
Don’t Limit Yourself
When most people think of the term “influencer,” the image of a lifestyle blogger promoting a product on Instagram comes to mind. The reality is a bit more complex. One of the great things about reaching out to a potential B2B influencer is that you don’t have to be limited to just social media platforms. Looking outside the box in areas such as podcasting, authors, researchers, and even entrepreneurs for a partnership can give your brand a distinctive edge, particularly if they’re considered an authority in their field.
Time is one of the most significant differences between B2B influencer marketing and B2C influencer marketing. A B2C campaign can provide results faster, some within as little as thirty days, whereas a B2B campaign typically requires more time. Having realistic expectations regarding your timeline and performance is critical because your B2B campaign may take a few months to see a return on investment. Typically, engagements with influencers may need time to develop before the relationship generates a return.
Let Creative Freedom Reign
When pursuing B2B influencer marketing, resist the temptation to have your influencer post all of the details about your brand. Your influencer’s audience is more interested in seeing and hearing content relating to them, meaning content that strikes a balance between educational and engaging.
Influencers are great for a B2B partnership because they can humanize your brand, are trusted by their audience, and have a keen awareness of what their audience responds well to. Setting up a basic outline of your vision is great, but ultimately, you’ll want your influencer to take up most of the creative vision. Remember, the influencer you are partnering with is considered a thought leader and excellent content creator because they know how to deliver information to their audience, and isn’t that why you chose to work with them in the first place?
If leveraged correctly, B2B influencer marketing can pay off in a big way. The key is to choose the right influencer based on the values that best represent your brand and the metrics that are most predictive of successful audience engagement. When you trust your influencer, managing the relationship becomes a relatively low-touch, high-yield affair – which is exactly why this strategy is gaining popularity among marketers. Take the plunge into B2B influencer marketing. If your strategy is sound, you won’t regret it.