The Ultimate Guide to B2B Influencer Marketing

In the present relentlessly advanced world, any regular buyer or corporate leader is more demanding, tech-savvy, and perceiving than ever. This implies that individuals are no longer inclined toward digitized brand hoardings that they see on the roadside, but they want something more to be convinced of. 

And this is where influencer marketing comes into the picture. Word-of-mouth marketing brings customers to businesses, but reviews and testimonials by credible influencers can have a more significant impact on your business. In fact, about 65% of famous consumer brands have reportedly used influencer marketing which has garnered an ROI of 10 billion dollars in a year.

Now, B2B marketers are also trying to find the best ways to leverage influencer marketing for B2B audiences. If you are here for the same reason, then just keep reading.

In this article, I will walk you through every aspect of B2B influencer marketing and how you can implement it for your brand.

Ready? Let’s get started.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a buzzword in the business world today. Being one of the most established and commonly used online marketing techniques, it is one of the most strategically used marketing techniques. Influencer marketing is all about endorsing products and services by a celebrity or a famous personality. This involves a kind of collaboration between the brands and the influencers.

Influencers can be anyone and not necessarily a celebrity. The only condition should be that he/she can influence your target audience.

For instance, an influencer can be an entrepreneur with more than 10,000 followers or millions of followers on social media platforms. Yet they have a reputation for influencing others. This type of business influencer provides answers to the questions of your users or audience. You need to search for an influencer who is inclined toward your brand and has extensive knowledge about your industry.

The influencer marketing technique has been leveraged by savvy entrepreneurs these days to bring in more leads to their businesses. And B2B marketers are not lagging in leveraging this strategy.

Who are the ideal B2B Influencers?

B2B influencers are usually business professionals who have built strong personal brands around their profession. You can also find some bloggers and video content creators related to your niche.

Broadly, you can categorize B2B influencers in the following categories based on their experience and professional expertise in the field.

  1. Brandividual- This type of influencer is those who have formed their brand name. They are the ones who have millions of followers and are specifically known as brand influencers.
  2. Up-and-coming- The up-and-coming or upcoming influencers are budding social media stars who are trying to build their names on platforms like YouTube. A famous YouTuber can be the new-age influencer for your brand promotion.
  3. Niche expert- These professionals hold expertise in your respective niche. This type of influencer can help promote your brand because they know what it deals with and how it can be marketed.
  4. Internal experts- These types of influencers are none but your clients and employees. Client reviews or employee reviews matter the most when it comes to marketing and promoting your brand.

The best part of B2B influencers is that you already know them, and they are well-known in your space.

Powerful B2B influencer marketing strategies to grow your brand

Once you have discovered potential influencers for your brand, you need to reach out to them with your idea of how you want to collaborate.

You can also ask for ideas from the influencers, but it is always a good idea to pitch your idea so that they think you are serious about it. 

If you are ready, let’s get started with B2B influencer marketing strategies. 

1. Focus on co-creation

B2B influencers aren’t just supposed to parrot your party line and retweet your brand account word for word. If that’s the game plan, just buy some ads. The more influencers put their own spin on the benefits of the products and services, the more impactful and persuasive they are on your behalf.

The best way to grow with influencer marketing is to find the right people and educate them. Next, explain clearly what you are looking to accomplish with influencers and why. Then, just listen. Let the influencers come up with ideas on creating exciting content, how to promote your events, how to engage with key customers, how to enable your sales team, and more.

Just make sure that the influencer you choose should be well established among your target audience and well-connected in the industry. Here are a few ideas to help you get started with co-creation strategy –

  • Research Collaboration: Collaborate with industry leaders to get their insights or study specific topics related to your business. Do surveys, gather data, study it, and publish a complete report that can be shared proudly. Also, it would hold credibility because of the people involved in the survey and study.
  • Co-hosting Podcasts: This is another amazing idea that no influencer will say NO to. You can host a duo podcast or interview guests together. This can also be used as video content for YouTube and social media
  • Publish Guides: If you are into the SaaS business, this idea is the best for you. ConvertKit did this best by collaborating with Pat Flynn to create video courses and guides. Pat Flynn is a credible name in the space of podcasting and email marketing because he built his whole business on it. So, who can be better than him to teach the target audience of ConvertKit, who are mostly bloggers.

2. Turn your customers into loyal advocates

Apart from reaching out to successful or established influencers, you can also check out your clients and followers and ask them to become your brand ambassadors.

The main strategy here is to build the referral of word of mouth technique. Persuading influencers to be your loyal advocate is not an easy task. Most of the influencers will keep ignoring your proposals. However, targeting your customers can be a bit easier for you.

Ask them to share their experience in purchasing or using your products and services and provide reviews. SEMrush, as a tool, has invested in community building and has motivated people to engage and participate with their brand. They have made use of the gamification mode to keep their customers engaged.

SEMrush Community Ranking System B2B Influencer Marketing

You can also offer them free product or service giveaways. In this way, you come an inch closer to your users or customers. If you want your customers to promote your brand with word-of-mouth or by sharing it on social media, then giving away freebies is one of the best techniques. This is one of the first steps you will be making toward building a lasting relationship with your customers. 

3. Organize events 

You can organize various offline events with the influencers to build a trust factor in your relationships. You can conduct VIP events, award functions, or any other big parties to honor the person who is supposed to be your influencer. However, conducting an event mainly depends on your budget. It is up to you how you plan to organize it and how many guests you will be inviting. 

By holding events, you can establish face-to-face communication with the influencers, which is the best way to catch up with them at any time. They can be your clients as well and not necessarily experts or influencers.

4. Include influencers in your website’s content

People easily trust branded content and follow it often. This is the reason why marketers are now including B2B influencers in their website’s content. This can be any type of content. For instance, you are using a blog post, and you’re providing an example of a famous influencer who has used your products or services. 

You can also use videos or podcasts in your content where the influences will share their experience in using your product or services. This is one of the most popular methods of influencer marketing.

Here is an example of the Cisco Champions program, which is a kind of ongoing influencer marketing campaign. Here, the influences are invited to share their views on Cisco product-related expertise.

Cisco Champion program B2B Influencer Marketing Example

5. Utilize employee advocacy

It is your employees who determine your brand’s strength. If your employees are not happy with the work culture or management, they might not provide a useful review, which might hamper your brand’s recognition. Employee advocacy is one of the most essential tools for marketers, and companies have used this power successfully.

IBM, with over 200,000 employees has provided them with an opportunity of using them as their “brand advocates”. They identify themselves as IBMers. Its objective was to enable them to share draw-in with organization content on their social media channels. This initiative drove 50,000 new enrollments for their IBM Verse product within the initial fourteen days of dispatching the program.

6. Support B2B influencers on social media

Leverage the power of social media by giving a shoutout to influencers’ content. Here are a few tricks for making use of social media for influencer marketing.

  • You can invite them as guest hosts for webinars and chat sessions on your social media pages. 
  • You can send them company tags or gifts that showcase your company’s name. 
  • You can congratulate them on their life events or any of their achievements with a personalized message.

Here’s how Semrush followed the simple rule of influencer marketing by smartly inviting an influencer for a chat session on Twitter:

SEMrush B2B Influencer Marketing

7. Keep on looking for more influencers

Do you know that more than 49% of customers rely on the recommendation of influencers? Influencer marketing is the talk of the year 2020, and that is the reason why B2B marketers are always looking for the best influencers for their brands. This game of finding the best influencers never stops. 

You need to keep looking for new influencers from time to time, as it is vital for you as a marketer to grow your network of highly potential influencers. Most of the high-rated influencers won’t respond to your emails, but that doesn’t mean you will stop connecting with them. Send up a follow-up mail every two weeks or so to ensure that they check your mail at least once.

Ready to leverage B2B influencer marketing?

Unlike B2C influencer marketing, B2B marketing is not about just buying someone with a huge social following – the credibility of the influencer is a crucial factor in choosing the right person to promote your brand.

So, if you are just getting started, start with your top clients and then gradually move to other strategies that we discussed above.

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