Influencer Marketing is considered to be a key strategy for many brands and companies to influence their audience and grow their business. It is true that Influencer Marketing has proven to be effective and has done wonders for the B2C niche. But the question is, how effective is it for B2B companies? Does it work for B2B Niche? It’s a solid yes, but if they follow a strategic approach.
For some reason, B2B companies have always been overshadowed by B2C companies, they have lagged in adopting and effectively utilizing social media presence. However, in modern times B2B companies have understood the value of collaborating with influencers but are unsure of how to go about it. The first and foremost thing is to leverage influencers positively in niches they relate to.
How is B2B Influencer Marketing different from B2C Marketing?
B2B influencers are different from B2C Marketers, both can be an expensive affair, although certain influencers settle for barter deals to promote a business or product. B2B Influencer marketing can take a longer time to execute as it takes time to identify the right influencer. The biggest difference is that B2B campaigns are difficult to measure due to the complexity of their purchase products, whereas B2C campaign measuring is fairly easy.
In reality, B2B influencer marketing is more important, than B2C influencer marketing, as the average purchase size of B2B dwarfs B2C, and consumers tend to trust one another more than they trust brand messages, in short, word of mouth is a crucial factor in B2B Marketing as the majority is influenced by word of mouth.
Let me pen down a few Influencer strategies that will help your B2B business goals.
- Finding the right Influencer – This is the trickiest part; influencer marketing is all about influencing people who can then influence your potential customers into leads. In other words, you need to tap people who are Niche-focused. It is important to analyze the reach of your influencer expert’s social media presence and the kind audience he/she is having. Whether that person is affiliated with companies that use your products. Lots of useful tools help in identifying the right influencers; tools like Buzz stream, Upfluence, Muck rack help in identifying the right influencers saving you time and effort.
- Build a Story for your Audience – Brand storytelling is important to build an audience or what I’d call loyal customers. Your story should resonate with the audience for your brand to be successful. The first thing to keep in mind is building your values and messages. Then talk about what products or services you’re selling and how that product or services fits into their life’s.
- Educate your Influencer – After identifying your influencer, you must educate them about your products and services, for them to do justice. B2B products are more complex than B2C products. Just giving them briefs and asking them to execute isn’t going to help your cause. You need to spend enough time with the influencer so that they effectively promote your business. B2B influence marketing isn’t going to get you instant results, give it at least 6 months. The influencer should also understand how exactly he needs to work with your business for him to get potential leads and conversions.
- Focus on Co-Creation – If you think your role is limited to just giving briefs and dictating terms, then it’s high time you rethink your strategy. Never feed your influencer with pre-made content, instead give your influencer the freedom to come with ideas and improvise on your ideas. This way, you are engaging your influencer to come with content that will resonate more with your audience and his followers. People tend to follow a particular influencer because they believe in their opinion, so it’s important that they promote your products and services in their own words as much as possible. Always keep in mind the influencers are also creators and both you and the influencer are working towards the same goal.
- Build long-term relationships – Aim at building long-term relationships with your influencer, don’t just collaborate for a one-off project. It may provide short term benefit but not a solid foundation for the brand. A Facebook post or a WhatsApp message isn’t going to last long, what lasts long is the relationship you build with an influencer. B2B influencer marketing is picking up the pace and soon may challenge B2C space. It’s wise to consider B2B influencer marketing as a marathon race rather than a sprint race.
- Influencing the right Channels – Finding the right channels to influence your audience is a game changer. Be it Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc. B2B brands usually get the most bang buck for their money through LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube. While Instagram and Snapchat can be great visual mediums to influence your audience.
Though B2B influence Marketing is progressing at a slow pace, it can be a boon to your business. It requires a great level of commitment to thrive in your community. You need to make sure you keep these strategies in mind before actioning your plan.
Author – Pradeep Kumaar, CEO Neil Patel Digital India & Stan Ventures