How to Build a B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy

How to Build a B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy
 

With many of the traditional B2B marketing tools like networking, events, trade shows, and conferences shut down due to the pandemic, B2B enterprises have had to expand their ideas on how to reach new leads and grow their businesses.

Over the past decade, Influencer Marketing has been a strategy traditionally employed by B2C and D2C brands and businesses. However, after seeing the high ROI afforded by partnering with online experts, B2B enterprises are harnessing the potential of influencer marketing to scale their businesses and earn trust.

Initially, some B2B marketers may have hesitated to invest in influencer marketing because of an outdated image of what being an ‘influencer’ entails. In the plainest terms, an influencer is simply a trusted expert with an engaged online audience. That expert has spent time and energy cultivating an audience who’s invested and excited about what they have to say.

B2B marketers who have shifted their budgets towards influencer marketing over more traditional channels are seeing many benefits, specifically:

  • Benefits of being directly associated with high-value thought leadership and expertise
  • Higher value leads
  • A lower cost per lead
  • A higher ROI than traditional advertising
  • An opportunity to re-brand or pivot
  • An ability to work around adblockers
  • More relevant top-of-funnel traffic
  • Develop valuable relationships
  • Increase awareness and reach

Here’s how to build a B2B influencer strategy that will maximize ROI right out of the gate…

Set your KPIs before you run a talent search

Before you run a talent search, it’s important to define both your short term and long term campaign goals. Whether you’re hoping to increase brand awareness among the right audiences or hoping to achieve something more measurable like driving sign-ups for an online event, understand what metrics you’ll need to measure to determine if your campaign was successful.

B2B influencer campaigns can be incredibly valuable in creating meaningful touchpoints in every part of the marketing funnel. From top-of-funnel lead capture, to establishing thought leadership with top-tier audiences, to driving last-click conversions, understand your goals at each step, and communicate those goals with the influencers you partner with.

Decide on a content strategy that will excite B2B influencers

Once you know your overall goals, it’s time to decide what kind of content you want to see influencers create or participate in for those campaigns. Some ideas are:

  • Speaking at virtual events or meetups
  • Creating original video content
  • Providing quotes for white papers and reports
  • Writing original thought leadership pieces for your enterprise’s blog or newsletter
  • Amplifying your existing content via the influencer’s social channels
  • Participating in a panel discussion

All these content ideas can be promoted and amplified via the influencer’s social media as well as on yours. Keep in mind that one of the reasons marketing teams love working with influencers is it can take the cost of content creation out of the brand’s pocket.

Focus on the audience, not just the influencer

Of course, you’ll want to select influencers who have genuine expertise in your desired area, but that must also be backed up by an audience who cares about that thought leadership. When you partner with an influencer, you’re paying for access to their audience. You’re essentially taking a shortcut to gaining the trust of those followers by aligning yourself with the expert they know and follow.

It’s also important to note that certain audience demographics can make or break the success of your campaigns. For example, if an influencer has an audience that skews to an age that doesn’t fit your targets, or if they have a high concentration of followers in a local market that doesn’t align with your goals, it can lower the efficacy of your efforts. The opposite is also true; if you mindfully partner with influencers whose audiences align with your target demographics, you’re going to be ahead of the game before your campaign even starts.

If you choose, you can leverage technology to quickly and easily discover and filter influencers who fit your goals. You can also find influencers whose audiences already have an affinity for your brand, company, or enterprise. It’s all about getting as specific as possible in order to drive the highest-possible ROI.

Invest in long term partnerships

There’s an overall trend in the influencer marketing industry happening in 2021 that shows long term partnerships with highly-researched influencers are performing better than ‘one-off’ campaigns.

This holds true for B2B campaigns as well; in a survey of 300 B2B marketers, 60% who use ‘Always-On’ Influencer Marketing programs report that those campaigns are “very successful” vs. 5% who only use periodic, ‘One-Off’ campaigns. The same survey reported that 96% of B2B marketers that engage influencers consider their programs to be successful in driving real ROI.

Now is the perfect time to invest in B2B influencers

It’s undeniable that the pandemic has completely shifted the way we communicate and interact. With the vast majority of business being done online (and no signs of stopping) it’s vital that B2B enterprises meet their target audiences where they already are: on social media.

With the right tools, you can identify B2B influencers whose audiences are predisposed to love and engage with your content. No matter your marketing goals, working with online experts can quickly and effectively help you achieve them.

If you’d like to see how Allegiant Media‘s end-to-end Influencer Marketing platform can help you discover and connect with the perfect influencers for your B2B campaigns, click here to request a demo.

This article was originally featured on TaggerMedia.com on February 23, 2021.