The key to business-to-business (B2B) marketing is engaging with potential and current customers and finding solutions to their needs while creating lasting relationships at the same time. But how can you do this without bragging and boasting – qualities that are seen as untrustworthy by many businesses? One solution is to use trusted influencers.
Influencers have built massive audiences based on trust and receptiveness – their followers treat them like celebrities and they are often well-respected. If you collaborate with an influencer who can share your content, they can endorse your business in a more natural manner.
This authentic way of spreading content through influencer channels is becoming more popular with B2B companies. Influencers can help to move prospective customers along the sales funnel without your business having to toot its own horn.
Some statistics for using B2B influencers
The figures show that using influencers as part of your B2B marketing strategy can be of great benefit:
- Using influencers to deliver your content can boost your ROI by 11 times.
- When a brand repurposes an influencer’s content, it performs 35 times better.
- 71% of marketers say that working with influencers is the most effective way of marketing content.
- 40% of customers say that they have purchased an item after seeing an influencer use it on social media.
- Over 90% of marketers find influencer marketing an effective solution.
So how can you use influencer marketing for the benefit of your sales and your B2B business? Most of the time, influencers are targeting customers, not other businesses.
How to utilise B2B influencer marketing
Business-to-customer (B2C) marketing often takes advantage of influencer relations – it’s a very popular tool in Instagram and YouTube. It’s easy to spot and everyone knows that the influencer is working in partnership with the brand.
However, B2B influencer marketing can be a bit different. In short, there are three types of B2B influencer marketing, according to Neal Schaffer – a social media marketing guru. These are content-centric marketing, social media marketing and event coverage.
- Content-centric influencer marketing
Brands and businesses that co-create content with influencers, or partner with influencers to use their content, are engaging in content-centric marketing. This is a common strategy in the B2B space. From guest blogging to publishing special articles on an influencer’s website, pushing content with an influencer’s reach is an easy way to sell your offerings to other businesses that might follow the influencer.
- Social media influencer marketing
This form of marketing goes beyond an influencer posting sponsored pics of your products on their social platforms. Social media influencer marketing can include account takeovers, where popular social media users run your social accounts for a period of time. Influencers can also host chats on your social media channels where they get to engage with your followers, as well as encourage their own followers to share your content and follow your account.
- Event coverage
Hosting and attending events has become a popular way to make your content relevant and current. Inviting influencers to speak at these events is an easy way to maximise publicity and online attention for the event. The influencers can promote the event beforehand and run live video snippets while at the event. This raises awareness of your brand and can catch the attention of other businesses who may want to work with you.
Potential problems with influencer marketing
If you decide to use an influencer marketing strategy, you need to ensure that the influencer is the right person for the job. Sometimes a person with slightly fewer followers can actually promote your product more naturally.
You don’t want to select an influencer just because they have a massive following. If they can’t convey your brand message without it seeming like an overt sales pitch, then they aren’t the right person for the job. Followers get easily irritated with paid promotions and plugged product placements when they don’t work naturally, so tread carefully.
The influencer content needs to be authentic. Simply having a celebrity mention your brand or product in a tweet is not marketing. You need influencers who are relatable, smart and know how the social media landscape works.
Influencer marketing is a reciprocal partnership
You need to build a solid relationship with your chosen influencer so that they know what your brand is about and what your company stands for. This will help them craft social media posts that are aligned with your vision and that flow seamlessly with the rest of their profile.
Remember that these partnerships are two-way streets. The influencer should be happy to work with you, so you need to keep their interests and needs in mind too. Simply handing them a list of demands won’t work. They know what works and what doesn’t so give them some guidelines and trust them to run with it.
Using influencers to boost your sales, promotions and reach can be a cost-effective method of marketing. Use it only in the right circumstances and your return on investment will be multiplied. These partnerships are built on trust and have the potential to last many years if both parties are happy with the results.
Sorted Design Agency is a creative company that constantly looks for solutions to other people’s problems. These problems come mostly in the visual format, such as graphic design, logo and illustration, but we’re experts in brand development, website design, and digital SEO campaigns as well.
Based in Pretoria and Cape Town, Sorted has been in the content marketing industry since 2006. We assist your company with its corporate identity by communicating core values through content and articles written for your website, blog and news area. This content is supported by AdWords and social advertising, which facilitates wider reach and audience growth. Turn your website into a business tool.
Sorted also owns two other businesses; InkFish Print Studio – a printing company that handles a range of promotional materials for businesses and other services for individual customers, and Pampiri + Kie – a gifts and stationery store selling online and in-store. Both of these companies operate from Cape Town and Pretoria.
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