91% of B2B purchase decisions are influenced by word of mouth. Therefore, it is no surprise that organisations are recognising the value in working with an expert in their industry to spread the word about their business or product.
Despite this, it has been found that only half of organisations actually have a plan for their influencer activation strategy and only 19% of marketers are running ongoing influencer programmes. Whilst the word ‘influencer’ might spark thoughts of Instagram based consumer #ad posts, there’s plenty of opportunity to utilise influencer marketing within the B2B space.
So, once you have made contact with an influencer and encouraged them to work with your brand, how can you get the most from this relationship? Learn about the ABC of B2B influencer marketing below.
1. Align influencers with your business goals
Once a relationship with an influencer is cemented, it is best to view them as an extension of your business rather than just a promotional tool. Influencers will be appreciative of you being transparent with them about your business goals and will then be more likely to suggest ways for you to reach these. For example, if you are hoping to achieve 100 form fills on a report with a conversion to MQL of 10%, an influencer may suggest how many social posts or videos or blogs he/she can support with in order to help reach these goals.
This is also where reporting comes in. If an influencer is aware of your KPIs for your campaign, they are more likely to be co-operative with reporting – even if this is an organic relationship. An example of this is them monitoring the number of clicks they get onto your business landing page, then how many form fills come through as a result. This helps you and the influencer to identify where user engagement is performing best.
2. Brief influencers properly
Even if you’re just hoping to work with an influencer on a specific campaign, taking the time to fully brief an influencer on your business will make collaboration a lot more authentic. Brand heritage, different products/services and details on your target audience are all worth discussing.
An example of this is collaboration with SAS and influencer Bill Mew. In early 2019, SAS collaborated with Bill on their research report about ‘procurement fraud’ due to Bill’s experience and expertise in the field of digital privacy and risk. As well as this, Bill was also made aware of SAS’ key target audiences, attended an event where SAS displayed different elements of their business and engaged in conversations via Zoom with SAS experts in order to further learn about the business.
Almost two years later, Bill is still thinking about SAS and how to reach the target audience and now writes a column in Accounting Web (directed at a financial audience which is a key industry for SAS) and has mentioned SAS in an article about supply chain fraud. By developing a strong relationship with Bill sand ensuring he is fully aware of the different elements of the business, he is now able to seek and suggest further opportunities for collaboration.
3. Collaboration is essential
An influencer should be seen as an extension of your team rather than a promotional tool. This means that an approach which focuses more on working with an influencer to determine a strategy, rather than giving the prescriptive requirements, can often work best in an organic relationship. Not all influencers have the same method of working and many may prefer some forms of content to others. For example, some influencers feel they can best convey their expertise and achieve your goals via writing a blog, but some may prefer to record a video interview or conduct a webinar.
By working with your influencer to determine the content that suits them best, achieves the desired results, and aligns with your brand, you are more likely to convey authenticity to your target audience.
If you keep these three things front of mind when forming your B2B influencer marketing strategy you will be more likely to see return on investment and identify areas for optimisation in your tactics. Remember your influencer ABC: align, brief, collaborate.
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