influencer marketing strategies convention

How to Use Influencer Marketing Strategies for B2B

When you hear ‘marketing influencer’, your first thought may be a makeup enthusiast sharing videos and selfies on their Instagram account. If that is your first thought, you’re not wrong and influencers like these can be extremely useful for B2B marketing. They can help raise awareness for your products and services using social media. If digital marketing is breaking your budget, you may be excited to learn about this alternative route. Besides, influencer marketing is growing quickly and it works. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of this niche marketing strategy, it’s time to learn more about influencers and what they can do for you.

What are Influencers?

Basically, influencers are well-regarded third parties seen as experts in the industry in which they are recommending products. The advantage of using influencer marketing is that they have an established audience interested in products like yours. A well-chosen influencer has already gained the trust of their audience and is an established industry expert. By talking about your product or service on their platforms, the influencer lends credibility to your company with their followers.

Where Can You Find Them?

Without a doubt, influencer marketing isn’t just effective in the consumer realm. It can be just as useful in the business-to-business marketing arena. Influencers don’t always have to be a celebrity, they just need to have respect and authority in your particular niche market. And chances are that you may already know some of these people. Potential influencers can be people who speak at industry conventions, write guest blogs, or craft articles for industry magazines. In addition, they are sometimes the people who appear first in Google searches for your niche.

Alternatively, influencers don’t always have to be people. Some marketers are even turning to computer-generated images (CGIs) to be influencers and have a surprising amount of success doing so. These CGIs are fabricated “people” with their own social media accounts and own backstory (that have been carefully written with the target audience in mind). 

How Do They Impact Sales?

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept buyers indoors- even B2B purchasers. Therefore, your customers are now searching online for the products and services their businesses need. To address this change, adding influencers can be extremely effective in penetrating new markets. For example, Okta (a company that sells identity management software) created a series of videos from their top customers sharing their experiences.  

One memorable example of a virtual influencer comes from the accounting firm of Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC). They are the firm that handles the ballots for the Academy Awards. In 2015, they created a year-long marketing campaign around the briefcase that host Neil Patrick Harris brought onstage at the awards ceremony as their influencer. The briefcase appeared in posts from businesses all over the world with the #ballotbriefcase hashtag. Results generated from this campaign included 126,000 Instagram impressions and 12.3 million Twitter impressions, undoubtedly increasing the firm’s visibility beyond its original goal.

What Do They Want in Return?

Many influencers will work for free products or free access to your product (maybe even a Beta of your new software). Most of them prefer a commission from sales that can be tracked to their posts about your products. The standard rate is between 25 and 35 percent. And if you use CGIs, that work would be done for free.

According to a survey by Aspire IQ, most influencers want your product to be a good fit for their brand and have the desire to develop a long-term working relationship from this partnership.

One important caveat to remember about influencers: the arena is changing rapidly. The Federal Trade Commission is continually updating its guidelines on digital marketing. It is expected to take a close look at influencer marketing as this sector continues to grow. It is imperative that you stay abreast of current legal and regulatory guidelines.

Choosing the right influencers and the right marketing message can be a challenge. At Pollock Marketing Group, we have the expertise to help you reap the benefits of influencer marketing. For more information, contact us today.