B2B purchases have always revolved around word of mouth and influencer marketing. Social media has built on this with influencers now having access to a much wider audience, which can only be a good thing when it comes to B2B influencing marketing, but it’s not the only way forward.
Respected and knowledgeable influencers are not always easy to come by, and B2B influencers are not as easy to find as B2C influencers potentially. You can’t just Google them and they are very unlikely to have influencer in their title.
Let’s rewind a bit, because before you go looking for that perfect B2B influencer who is going to help take your business to the next level, it’s vital to look at what you want to achieve with B2B influencer marketing. What are your goals and objectives? When embarking on an influence marketing campaign there are generally two camps; or key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Brand Awareness – this includes metrics around increasing audience awareness of your product or service, measured by content impressions, likes, comments, mentions and traffic.
- Direct Responses or specific actions, such as clicks, sales, conversion, leads, download or subscribers make direct responses a popular goal.
So, back to the question; who are B2B influencers?
We know people trust people more than messages and advertising from brands. Unlike B2C influencer marketing, where you are targeting individuals, B2B purchasing often involves several people with decisions taking much longer. In fact, it can take up to six months to see results from a B2B influencer campaign.
Whilst social media reach is a key measure of B2C influencers, it’s not necessarily the only way to find B2B influencers. Some of most influential influencers are not particularly active on social media. They are however just as influential all the same, try looking at these people: –
Decision Makers in Companies
Many B2C influencers make all or part of their living doing just that. It’s very different for B2B influencer marketing with most B2B influencers having a ‘day job’. They are influential in part because of that job and are generally the ‘decision maker’, someone who decides what, where, when and how on a daily basis within their company.
One of your biggest avenues for brand advocates are your employees. Adobe have recently adopted the Adobe Social Shift Programme utilising their employees’ own social media, which saw Adobe’s online traffic go from 400 visitors to 10,000 a month.
Look at your own knowledge of your industry, who do you respect or listen to when you want to know something. This could be someone within an industry association, who has good media coverage or a long history and in-depth knowledge of the industry. You can also look at your competitors, who are they working with and how well are their influencer campaigns working.
If you want to figure out who is really going to resonate as a B2B influencer, look at who your customers are already reading, watching or listening to. This could be via podcasts, blogs or videos, but the common thread is that they are hosted by someone with expertise in that area whatever the subject.
It’s important to take your time finding the right influencers, which are aligned with your company’s tone of voice and style. They need to understand your product or service in order to promote it and be an effective B2B influencer.