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Should I use an influencer in my B2B marketing campaign?

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Over the past few years, you may have heard the phrase: “I’m an influencer.” More often than not, this statement comes from people who are popular on social media and work their magic in B2C settings, reviewing products and promoting specific brands. Where does that leave B2B companies? Should influencer marketing be part of their strategy? The short answer is “yes,” and here is why.

Who or what is an influencer?

Before creating or using a social media influencer, the first step is understanding what an influencer actually is. According to Influencer Marketing Hub:

“An influencer is someone who has:

  • the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience.
  • a following in a distinct niche, with whom he or she actively engages. The size of the following depends on the size of his/her topic of the niche.

It is important to note that these individuals are not merely marketing tools, but rather social relationship assets with which brands can collaborate to achieve their marketing objectives.”

Why should I use an influencer in B2B marketing?

The short and sweet answer is that by partnering with an influencer, you add credibility and support to your marketing efforts. Customers are more swayed by online reviews than by brand messaging, with 92% of people reporting they trust recommendations from individuals over a businesses. And if that doesn’t convince you that influencers are an important addition to your marketing strategy, also take into consideration the original point of view, new network and contacts, and professional credibility he or she will bring to the table.

How do I select the best influencer for my strategy?

Keep in mind, an influencer is not always a celebrity, especially for B2B marketing. It's anyone with the power to affect purchasing decisions. Not to mention, consumers aren’t necessarily swayed by celebrities anymore. Instead, your target audience is looking for authenticity, so look for thought leaders in your space. In other words, don't try to get a Kardashian to sell your silicon chip or engineering software.

Take a look at micro- and nano-influencers, too, not just those with huge followings. Oftentimes, those audiences are almost far more engaged than those of mega-influencers.

Create a list of who you think would add value to your campaign, get input from other team members, and then go through each candidate systematically. Review their social profiles and work they have done, articles they have written, etc. to ensure they will be a good fit before reaching out. Check out this helpful infographic on Social Media Today to dig into building an effective influencer campaign.

Show me some examples!

Here are a few examples of recent (and successful) influencer marketing campaigns for the B2B audience:

  1. The American Express #loveMyStore campaign: In this campaign, small business owners were the influencers. They talked about the importance of being able to accept credit cards, with the goal of increasing American Express signage in stores. And it worked! The campaign garnered 5 million social media impressions and resulted in the distribution of over 400,000 new Amex decals to store owners.
  2. The Cisco Champion Program: This global program invites Cisco users and influencers to share their Cisco technical knowledge with YouTube viewers. In 2019, there were Cisco Champions in 47 countries, who reached audiences across all verticals at over 200 companies worldwide.
  3. Landis+Gyr created an employee advocate program as part of their B2B influencer marketing strategy. They encouraged employees who were already active on social media to spread the word about the company and values. It brought great results: one campaign brought in 1,500 engagements and 1,800 content shares.

Ready to get started?

Start by reviewing your current marketing programs and your 2021 goals to see where an influencer marketing strategy will work best and make the most sense. This will also help you to better focus your influencer candidate list. As always, we are happy to help – so don’t be shy about reaching out!