Even though influencer marketing is commonly associated with B2C brands and social media celebrities promoting various products, the strategy continues to make waves in B2B, poising it for more growth throughout 2021.
The pause of face-to-face interactions and physical events left companies with a big demand gen hole to fill, forcing marketing teams to go all-in on digital. This created the perfect opportunity for influencer marketing to close the gap with an air of relatability and assurance. You see, the pandemic presented the realization that despite any fancy executive titles, we’re all going through the same general experiences and emotions. This opened the door to create empathetic, personal marketing campaigns that included first-hand accounts. After all, what’s better way to point to your company’s actionable results than partnering with an influential industry peer who can strengthen your claims?
The biggest thing to keep in mind when implementing influencer marketing in the B2B space is that businesses consume content in different ways and make more deliberate purchasing decisions than consumers, so campaigns must be more targeted.
In an interview with Demand Gen Report, Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing, explained that influencer marketing relationships are mutually beneficial. Partnering with a well-respected figure in a particular field who actively and tactfully collaborates on creating custom content and promotes the material on their social channels or website enables marketing and sales teams to get their campaigns in front of more eyes.
Not Just Another Tweet
A key point to keep in mind is that influencer campaigns must be crafted carefully to work properly, explained Odden. There should be daily check-ins, a clear plan of action and streamlined communications to provide the best results.
“The way it’s shaping up is you don’t just ask your CEO and CMO to start tweeting a lot,” said Odden. “You do it by marrying your external influencer marketing and the growth of employee advocacy and internal influencer development. That way, you have the power and brand value of your internal people talking about things in a way that are respected and of interest to your customers. But you’ve also got the thought leadership bonus of validation by third parties saying, ‘Yeah, what she’s saying is right on; I agree with that.’”
As a testament to B2B influencer marketing, let’s take a look at TopRank’s case study of monday.com, a provider of remote project management software. When the pandemic forced most companies to switch their workforces to fully remote, monday.com saw an opportunity to support teams who felt lost during the transition. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a novel idea, and the company found itself trying to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
To differentiate itself, monday.com developed an influencer marketing campaign with TopRank and partnered with three industry experts to collaborate on material that focused on how to innovate under unfamiliar conditions, motivate teams to increase productivity and build a strong culture in the virtual workspace. The content was published on monday.com’s website and social channels, the influencers’ websites and via livestream. The campaign generated 17.9M in potential reach from brand mentions by influencers (surpassing the goal of 1M), more than 300K organic impressions on social media and 3K video views of a livestream that featured two industry experts within the first week.
Influencer Marketing's Growing Potential
Despite potential for success, influencer marketing is still not fully integrated into or embraced in the B2B space. According to TopRank Marketing’s 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, 74% of B2B marketers agree that influencer marketing improves customer experience with the brand, yet only 19% are running ongoing campaigns.
As the world’s largely going to remain digital throughout 2021, the need to create personalized content and utilize influencer marketing to get a brand’s message across is only growing stronger. Some results brands expect to see with these partnerships include reaching new audiences (84%), generating new leads (69%) and improving their reputation (58%).
In TopRank’s report, Katie Martell, Marketer, Author and Producer of Woke-Washed, explained that the reallocation of budgets away from live events and trade shows will end up driving influencer campaigns, which will allow companies to form stronger partnerships, lend more credibility to their expertise and point to actionable results.
Content4Demand can help B2B organizations develop effective influencer campaigns, handling everything from influencer identification and outreach to content strategy, creation and promotion. Drop us a note about your challenges for advice from one of our strategists, or check out How Bottomline Turned an Influencer Program into a Driver of Web Traffic & MQLs.