SEO

B2B Influencer Marketing: How to Get It Right From the Beginning

With the decline of traditional marketing, influencers have become more important than ever. And why shouldn’t they be?

After all, 61% of consumers trust what influencers say about a brand more than what a brand says about itself. While word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is important for most brands, it’s bread and butter for B2B brands.

Why so?

Because user reviews are the third-most trusted source of product information for B2B buyers. 91% of B2B buying decisions are driven by user reviews. And since most influencers anchor their marketing on user-generated content, it’s safe to say that influencer marketing can drive direct sales for B2B companies better than any other tactic.


Image via TrustRadius

For B2B companies, industry influencers can foster consumer trust, build brand awareness, and cement industry reputation. All of this leads to a greater number of sales and enhanced brand loyalty in the long term.

As B2B marketers, you need to master this marketing tactic if you want to outperform the competition and stay relevant.

In this post, we are going to cover the A-Z of B2B influencer marketing. You’ll learn how to build strong influencer relationships and create a solid influencer marketing strategy.

But first, let’s understand some salient features of B2B influencer marketing and how it differs from B2C influencer marketing.

Disclaimer: This content contains some affiliate links for which we will earn a commission (at no additional cost to you). This is to ensure that we can keep creating free content for you.

B2B Influencer Marketing: Salient Features and Comparison with B2C Influencer Marketing

If you’re new to B2B influencer marketing, you need to acquaint yourself with some truths about it. Many influencer marketing strategies and tips are applicable to both B2B and B2C companies, but there are remarkable differences as well.

Let’s dive in.

Be Patient As B2B Influencer Campaigns Take Longer to Drive Results

B2B buyers take longer than B2C buyers to reach the conversion point. That’s because they deal with big-ticket items. For consumer goods, influencers can bring instant results since B2C customers are prone to impulse buying.

B2B buyers, on the other hand, consult at least five sources before arriving at purchase decisions, according to the TrustRadius report cited earlier.

Furthermore, multiple decision makers are involved in making B2B buying decisions. Convince & Convert predicts that B2B marketers should wait at least six months before expecting any tangible results from their influencer marketing campaigns.

Your takeaway: You should aim at building always-on campaigns and nurture long-term associations with your influencers, spanning at least a year on average.

Don’t Focus Only on Social Strength

Using social media influence as the sole criterion to evaluate influencers can be misleading. You can miss out on great thought leaders who may not be as active on social media, yet have a massive influence in the right circles.

Seth Godin, for example, is an excellent influencer for marketing firms but has got a negligible social media presence. If social media footprint was the only measure of influencer viability, Godin wouldn’t have been a sought-after influencer.

Your takeaway: Keep reputable authors, thought leaders, niche experts, innovators, philosophers, and philanthropists on your radar, even if they aren’t social media mavens. They can have the potential to become perfect influencers for your B2B company.

Don’t Ignore B2B Influencer Conflicts

Unlike B2C influencers who make a living out of recommending products full time, B2B influencers typically hold “day jobs” and double up as influencers on the side. Often, their day jobs are responsible for their solid industry reputation and knowledge.

But there’s a catch too:

Working in industries that complement/compete with yours can restrict influencers from promoting your company to the extent you’d like them to.

Their employment terms might restrict them from openly promoting another company in the same field. Or, they might not be able to devote as much time to your B2B influencer marketing campaigns since it’s just a side gig for them.

Your takeaway: Encourage your influencers to be transparent about the extent to which they can promote your brand. They should disclose potential conflict areas so that you can avoid legal troubles later on.

Build Relationships with Influencers Incrementally

With B2B influencers, it’s a great strategy to start slow, assess influencer performance, and gradually expand the working relationship.

B2B influencers are unlikely to launch full-scale campaigns for your brand unless they’re sure about what you bring to the table. After all, their reputation is at stake and they stand a lot to lose if the relationship backfires.

Your takeaway: To break the ice with your influencer, start by featuring them in expert-opinionated posts. That’s a great way to introduce them to your brand and showcase your association to the world.

Take the Time to Educate Influencers About Your Products

Once you are ready to expand your influencer marketing campaign beyond publishing a few articles, you should educate your influencers about your company, products, work culture, audience, and vision. Sadly, this is one aspect that gets ignored quite often by B2B companies.

Why so?

Because they don’t want to curtail their influencers’ creative freedom by imposing their own perspective on them. But, the truth is that if you educate your influencers thoroughly, they will be able to tell your brand’s story in a more convincing way.

In fact, 73% of influencers are likely to invest more effort in promoting brands they are passionate about. Communicating your story to your influencers can help instill passion and a sense of proprietorship into them.

Your takeaway: Your influencer’s keenness to learn about your brand will indicate their level of commitment towards their job. For committed influencers, learning is a joy, not a burden. Such influencers can be valuable partners for your B2B brand.

Focus on Co-Creation

Your influencer’s authenticity is their strength. Don’t force them to compromise their voice while promoting your product or service on Instagram and other platforms.

Telling influencers to create hyper-real, salesy content can be counterproductive for your B2B influencer marketing campaign.

Why?

By publishing brand-created content, influencers often come across as inauthentic, which can ruin your entire campaign. Plus, rigid guidelines are a turn off for 14.6% of influencers (according to the Zine study cited earlier).

Your takeaway: Instead of restricting your influencers with rigid content-creation guidelines, focus on collaborating seamlessly.

Your marketing/sales teams can pitch campaign ideas to influencers, but give them enough room to improvise. Your influencers should be allowed to decide when and how to promote a product or an offer.

If you give some creative freedom to your influencers, they will feel valued and trusted, which can have a positive effect on the results they generate for you.

3 Killer Strategies for Successful B2B Influencer Marketing (With Examples)

Now that you’ve got a grasp over the basic principles of B2B influencer marketing, you need to acquaint yourself with some of the proven marketing strategies you can use.

Like what?

1. Collaborate with Industry Experts

When you hire industry experts as influencers, they help you add instant credibility to your brand and exposes it to their indigenous networks. To make this tactic work, collaborate with industry leaders in the following ways:

Brand Endorsements

Thought leaders can endorse your brand by enriching your content with direct quotes and expert opinions. Even a few lines of “social proof” from influencers can do wonders for your brand.

Example: The cognitiveSEO blog welcomes visitors with a pop-up that includes a quote by the renowned SEO consultant, Bill Sebald.


Image via cognitiveSEO

Reach out to industry experts who have shown interest in your brand in the past. You can create a list of such influencers by using the social listening tools mentioned earlier in this post.


Image via Followerwonk

Case Studies

Many industry leaders have their own rags-to-riches stories. It’s in their interest to share their success stories through sponsored case studies and it can also help your brand get more exposure.

Example: AccuRanker reached out to HubSpot’s employees (who are marketing pros) to share how their tool helped double their traffic. AccuRanker benefited from the big names in their case study, which helped them get more website traffic as well.


Image via AccuRanker

Want a pro tip?

While promoting your case studies on social media, don’t forget to tag the mentioned influencers. Every time your posts are reshared, the influencer gets more visibility, which can eventually drive more traffic to your content.

Video Content

Modern consumers absolutely love video content. You can reach out to influencers to craft engaging videos for your B2B brand. This way, influencer marketing can fuel your content strategy.

To keep your video-production budget in check, you can live stream (for free) on your most profitable social channels. Or, you can include a live Q&A session with influencers in webinars and promote them as standalone content.

Example: Siege Media leverages this tactic smartly. Their YouTube channel, “Content & Conversation,” is full of interviews with experts in the digital marketing world.


Image via YouTube

Research Collaborations

Have tons of B2B proprietary data? Share it with your influencers and have them publish a research paper on their website/blog. By doing so, your content will reach a targeted audience and you’ll be able to strengthen your influencer relationship.

Example: Brian Dean often anchors his research on data provided by his partner brands. Here is his recent email outreach study, which is based on data provided by Pitchbox:

Image via Backlinko

2. Convert Loyal Clients into Brand Ambassadors

If you’ve ever worked with influencers, you’d know it’s tough to convince them for collaboration. They receive dozens of proposals on a daily basis, 25% of which are turned down for a variety of reasons.

Converting satisfied customers into advocates is another strategy. You don’t have to sell your brand to them. They are already familiar with it and are likely to be more than happy to promote it, especially if you sweeten the deal with a paycheck or discount.

Here are some ways to convert happy clients into vocal brand advocates:

Special Community Programs

You can incentivize people to engage with your content and build a community. The most active people can be a great fit for your brand advocacy program.

Example: BigCommerce uses gamification to encourage their website visitors to like and comment on their posts. They track how actively a person engages with their content to identify their brand champions.

Image via BigCommerce

Closed Groups

You can create exclusive groups on Facebook and Twitter where only hand-picked customers are allowed entry. This way, you can streamline conversations about your brand, gather feedback, and share exclusive offers (beta offers, free upgrades, etc.).

3. Host Offline Events to Nurture Relationships

Nothing can beat the camaraderie developed at face-to-face events, not even webinars and video calls. So, take the opportunity to build bonds with your influencers at in-person events.

Example: Semrush regularly organizes “Summer Jams” that bring together the best brains in the digital marketing space. The high-profile, VIP event has a feeling of exclusivity for which influencers and guests are ready to pay heavily.

FAQs

Q1. What is a B2B influencer?

A. A B2B influencer is someone who can “sway” or influence the purchase decisions of consumers in the B2B industry. They can be industry experts, thought leaders, analysts from industry bodies, or anyone with considerable knowledge and “influence” in a particular niche.

Q2. What does B2B mean in marketing?

A. B2B or business-to-business marketing refers to the process of promoting products and services to other organizations and companies. Typically, B2B marketing tends to be more revenue-oriented since purchase decisions in the B2B space directly impact business bottom lines.

Q3. What is a B2B marketing example?

A. One example of B2B marketing is when a company that sells SaaS products, automation tools, team collaboration tools, etc. markets their product/service to other companies and organizations.

Most B2B companies leverage informative blog posts, SEO tactics, social media posts, whitepapers, live events, email campaigns, and product videos to engage and convert their prospects.

Q4. Where can I find B2B influencers?

A. To find reputable B2B influencers, you can use influencer marketing tools and agencies. They have databases of verified influencers in most niches. You can also find B2B influencers at industry events and online.

Q5. Who are the top influencers on LinkedIn?

A. Some of the top influencers on LinkedIn include:

  • Rand Fishkin, the former CEO of Moz
  • Seth Godin, the owner of Seth’s Blog
  • Jay Baer, the Founder of Convince & Convert
  • Ann Hadley, the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs
  • Joe Pulizzi, the Founder of Content Marketing Institute

Q6. How do I find influencers on LinkedIn?

A. There are many ways to find influencers on LinkedIn, including:

  • Use LinkedIn’s search tool, click on “Content,” and then type relevant keywords to find the most popular posts.
  • Scan LinkedIn groups in your niche.
  • Use influencer marketing software like GRIN to find, evaluate, and compare influencers.

Q7. What is a B2B marketing strategy?

A. A B2B marketing strategy is the step-wise roadmap on how to target other businesses and organizations that might be interested in your B2B product or service.

B2B companies create a step-by-step strategy that defines their marketing goals, tactics, tools, and ways to measure results. They can run campaigns to create brand awareness, educate consumers, generate leads, improve industry reputation, and boost conversions.

Q8. How do I leverage influencers to implement a word-of-mouth marketing strategy?

A. Influencers can foster trust for B2B brands by writing positive product reviews, testimonials, and recommendations on social media.

Since their words are trusted by others in the industry, they can help you start a positive conversation about your brand. Moreover, their opinions are likely to be authentic and technically sound, which can help boost the credibility of your brand.

Q9. What does influencer marketing do?

A. For B2B brands, influencer marketing can be a powerful tactic to:

  • Reach a wider audience.
  • Boost engagement.
  • Generate leads.
  • Increase brand awareness.
  • Establish authority in the industry.
  • Foster consumer trust.
  • Increase sales.

Q10. How can I improve my word-of-mouth marketing?

A. To get tangible returns from word-of-mouth marketing, you can collaborate with influencers.

The right influencers can mobilize conversations around your brand by writing positive reviews about your products. Since their fans and followers trust their recommendations, they can help you get more eyeballs on your brand.

Conclusion

Unlike one-time B2C influencer campaigns, B2B campaigns are more about generating a regular flow of conversations between influencers and your target audience.

Using the information, tactics, and examples mentioned in this post, you can nail your next B2B influencer marketing campaign easily.

Do you have any questions about running influencer campaigns? Feel free to share them in the comments section. We will answer them soon.

Disclaimer: This content contains some affiliate links for which we will earn a commission (at no additional cost to you). This is to ensure that we can keep creating free content for you.

Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav Sharma is the Founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company. Grew an agency from 5-figure to 7-figure revenue in just two years | 10X leads | 2.8X conversions | 300K organic monthly traffic | 5K keywords on page 1. He also contributes to top publications like HuffPost, Adweek, Business2Community, TechCrunch, and more.

Recent Posts

How to Make a Promo Video That Sells (7 Easy Steps)

Interested in learning how to make a promo video for your business but don’t know…

1 day ago

How to Create a Video Marketing Strategy That Actually Works

Are you planning to use video in your digital marketing efforts? If so then you…

4 days ago

10 Headline Writing Tips That Will Change the Way You Write

Do you struggle to write catchy headlines? Are you looking for headline writing tips that…

5 days ago

Best Recurring Billing Software for 2022 – Free and Paid

Looking for the best recurring billing software out there? Your pursuit ends here. Businesses like…

1 week ago

How to Create a Professional Email Signature in 2022

Mastering how to create a professional email signature is important to leave a lasting impression…

1 week ago

7 LinkedIn Lead Generation Strategies to Grow Your Business

As a B2B marketer, if you were to concentrate on just one channel for your…

2 weeks ago