With the growing popularity of social media, it is crucial for marketers to be innovative, and to look beyond traditional strategies.
Gone are the days when all you had to do to get more customers was push your products in front of your audience via advertising - today, consumers are more informed, more connected, and have many more media inputs calling for their attention than ever before. Hence, winning them over is also more complex.
This is where influencers can play a significant role in your process. Through the use of influencers, many businesses are now expanding their reach, with everything from celebrities to local leaders being called upon to advocate on a brand's behalf.
And influencer marketing is no longer reserved for only B2C companies either - in this post, we'll look at how B2B marketers are successfully leveraging influencers in their marketing strategies also.
ROI From Influencer Marketing Surpasses All Others
Videofruit was able to increase their unique page views by 600% through influencer marketing, while they also experienced a 6% decrease in bounce rate, and an 8% increase in average time spent.
These are just some examples of the benefits influencer marketing is providing - and given the way in which people are now directly connected to celebrities and spokespeople, it makes sense. The media consumption chain has changed, and influencer marketing aligns with that shift. This is important to note when considering your options.
Influencer Marketing Challenges (And How to Solve Them)
There's little denying that influencer marketing, when done correctly, can be a game changer for your marketing efforts, however, B2B influencer marketing, in particular, can be quite complex.
One of the key challenges in B2B influencer marketing is finding the right influencer for your campaigns - imagine having to find an influencer whose followers include diverse groups such as telecom industry buyers, technology purchasers, banking industry execs, etc. This is generally not as straight-forward as finding more generic, popular celebrities, and it does take more time and effort in research.
One way to get around this is by making your employees your brand ambassadors.
Landis+Gyr has used employee advocacy as a successful strategy to influence their potential customers - the results from one such campaign yielded over 1500 engagements, 1800 content shares, and estimated earned media of more than $10,800.
Another key influencer segment in B2B marketing is your existing customers. Potential customers value the opinions and reviews shared by your existing customers. Hence you can successfully leverage your customers in an effective influencer marketing campaign.
Okta have used their customer success stories as a means of influencer marketing.
Using your own employees as influencers is definitely a good option, because they know the most about your business’ services and solutions. Obviously, there are some employees creating these services, also there are employees who are trying to sell these services. It's worth asking both types of employees to talk about your services and business solutions on social media - and to provide them with education, not only on how to do it, but why they might want to (i.e. highlighting the professional and career benefits for them in building their digital profile)
One company that's done this successfully is IBM - the company empowers its employees to promote their services, products, and business solutions on social platforms. Employees are provided with the content for posting and sharing from the company itself.
Celebrities too can be used for B2B marketing effectively. Cisco recently featured actor Bryan Cranston, of “Breaking Bad” fame, in their closing keynote at an event. It was a good way of emphasizing the brand status of Cisco.
As with any kind of marketing campaign, planning is as important as the execution of the campaign.
There are a few important things you need to keep in mind for B2B influencer marketing campaigns:
Work on the message that your influencers will be sharing. If it’s too long, your potential customers may not have the patience to read or watch it all. Create a short, “elevator pitch” that the influencer can share.
Decide on which channels you'll be using for the campaign. A steady flow of content needs to be shared on all of the relevant channels. Bits of content will not help you influence your audience adequately.
For B2B influencer marketing, there's still a long way to go, however there's no denying that influencer marketing can play a key role in helping companies rise above their competition. It's still quite early for B2B marketers, and a lot of them are yet to adopt influencer marketing as one of their key strategies.