The B2B world thrives on building professional networks. The power of who you know and who they know can make or break a B2B business. And influencer marketing is a great way to harness this power as influencers break into the world of B2B with their forte of fostering meaningful connections with their audience.
What Does Influencer Marketing Mean for B2B Brands?
Businesses pair with professionals or other businesses that have a deep knowledge of the industry and can influence corporate buyers. The basic principle of customers trusting the word of other customers applies to B2B influencer marketing as well, except here, the influencer is more of a thought leader in the industry.
How Can B2B Brands Benefit from Using Influencer Marketing?
One study showed that using influencer marketing, B2B brands can get 11X more annual ROI than by using traditional methods.
Influencer marketing can –
- Give you access to a large network of professionals
- Use original thought leadership to influence other businesses
- Establish authentic credibility that can resonate with your target audience
Finding The Right Influencers for Your Brand
The right influencer should be able to connect with the decision-makers of your target brands or businesses. You can start by looking for existing advocates in your industry like your channel partners, vendors, or other businesses you work with.
Influencer marketing platforms like Affable.ai can help you identify industry influencers by researching businesses that match your buyer persona, looking at which websites they visit, who do they follow or interact with on social media, and so on.
Influencer Marketing Strategies for B2B Brands
Once you have found your influencers, you’ll want to execute your strategy which should ideally revolve around creating engaging content and tracking key metrics to measure the success of your marketing campaigns.
Here are 4 ways to create a result-driven B2B influencer marketing strategy:
1. Give Away Free Product or Service
Businesses or decision-makers always request a free demo to try a product or service risk-free.
You can offer free one-time usage of your product or service to promising influencers who can try it and then become your advocates. This is especially useful if you are a new kid on the block.
For example, if you are into the business of providing online courses for professionals, you can collaborate with a corporate or a few professionals with a huge fan-following to offer them a free course. If they find it valuable, they will talk about it with their colleagues, thus helping you grow your business.
2. Turn Clients into Brand Ambassadors
Create a community of user-advocates by turning loyal, influential clients into your brand’s ambassadors. Since your product or service is already sold to these clients, persuading them to collaborate with you would be a lot easier.
You can turn clients into your vocal supporters by building special community programs as Moz did. Moz, a digital marketing company, created a system called ‘Moz points’ that were given to users if they liked or commented on Moz’s blog posts. Similar activities would help users accumulate more points and then claim a prize from the site.
3. Hold B2B Influencer Marketing Events
Events are a powerful marketing opportunity for B2B brands. Having influencers participate in your product release parties or sponsoring a seminar or an awards night featuring your product can pay off much more than just setting up a booth or paying to have your logo put on promotional materials.
There’s a lot to learn from SAP in this case. For instance, they once had an event in Germany where they roped in their influencers to talk about their product’s IT-specific specialties which became a hit on social media.
4. Include B2B Influencers in Your Content
You can include influencers in your company’s blog posts, videos, social media posts, and podcasts. You can also give influencers a branded microsite to post content with the creative freedom that they want, while you take the primary responsibility of the content creation.
The Cisco Champions program implements this strategy by inviting its influencers to share their product-related expertise with viewers on YouTube, Twitter, and podcasts.
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