When you think of influencer marketing, your mind probably wanders to the Kardashians or Zoe Sugg. Any marketer knows that done in the right way, influencer marketing is a great tool for consumer brands to reach their target audience in an authentic and engaging way, and lead to products flying off the shelves. But, can this style of marketing be applied to B2B brands?
With so many influencer agencies out there, it’s becoming increasingly easy for brands with a sizeable budget and campaign idea to find an influencer that fits the values of the brand. For B2B it’s not that easy. For a start, you can’t ask an influencer to take a selfie with your service, well you could but, it might be a bit awkward! B2B behaviours are different, the customer is not likely to click on a link from a social post, go to a corporate website and then purchase right then and there. They will spend considerable time doing research and reading reviews, and more often than not they will not be the only decision makers you have to win over.
The B2B buyer’s journey has changed over time and the power is no longer in the hands of the sales teams, the buyer is now in control of their own purchase journey. As buyers are sifting through tons of information and researching their purchasing decisions, content shared by industry insiders (influencers) is given much more credibility. Using influencers in your B2B strategy won’t narrow down the often-long sales cycle, but it will help inform and educate.
B2B decision makers use influencer resources in a completely different way to that of B2C consumers and therefore success can’t be measured in the same way. A quick Instagram post or YouTube video is in no way going to encourage a CEO to buy your service, however LinkedIn posts, E-books, videos and lectures from industry leaders may well do.
B2B influencer market has the opportunity to be much more authentic, as influencers will only endorse and promote a brand’s products if they are already using their product or service (after all it’s their credibility on the line). One thing to remember though, is that social media is not predominantly a selling tool, social is at its most powerful when used to educate, inform and entertain. It’s useful to bear this in mind when asking your influencers to create branded content – don’t make it too salesy – your target audience will purchase when they’re ready.
Now more than ever B2B brands should be considering this avenue. Influencer marketing programmes can allow your company to create rich, valuable content that potential buyers won’t find anywhere else. You only have to look at the success of the influencer marketing within the consumer world to see how valuable this could be to your B2B strategy. Who doesn’t want to increase credibility, raise brand awareness and eventually drive sales? Yeah, we thought so.
Don’t know where to start? How about here.