By Ariana Donaville
Over the past few years, business-to-consumer (B2C) companies have relied on influencers to market their products to their targeted publics. While many B2C companies have seen great success from influencer marketing campaigns, business-to-business (B2B) companies have struggled to see the value in implementing influencer marketing strategies. They find themselves asking, “how useful is an influencer to a business-to-business organization?”
Influencer marketing can be a useful strategy for B2B companies because it allows organizations to build new relationships with established thought leaders and fulfill a buyer’s need for third-party validation when purchasing from a vendor.
In a survey sponsored by Demand Base, survey respondents ranked experts/analysts, peers/colleagues and web searches as the first three resources that informed them about a product. Additionally, 53 percent of survey respondents reported that social media played an important role in their decision to purchase technology tools or services.
As few B2B companies have managed to implement successful influencer marketing campaigns through social media, many others are looking to jump into the relatively new space.
B2B companies should consider these three steps when implementing an influencer marketing strategy:
Step 1: Create an influencer marketing strategy
Influencer marketing strategies come in all shapes and sizes. Before jumping into an influencer marketing campaign, communications professionals should draft an initial influencer marketing strategy. A basic influencer marketing strategy consists of identifying an influencer through first or secondary research methods, engaging with the influencer and establishing expectations and rewarding the influencer once the job is complete.
Step 2: Identify an influencer
Identifying an influencer is no easy task. When vetting if an influencer is a right fit for the organization, you should consider the three “Rs”
- Reach: Does this person have a large following? How wide is the influencers reach?
- Relevance: Is this influencer relevant to my campaign? Does this influencer’s values align with my organization’s values? Does the influencer speak to topics that are similar to my industry or product?
- Reputation: Does this influencer have a positive reputation?
Step 3: Set expectations and establish goals with the influencer
It is important for B2B organizations to be honest with the influencer about their goals. Organizations must set clear expectations with the influencer surrounding the content they expect to see from the influencer’s social media handle.
To sum it all up, B2B companies can benefit from influencer marketing strategies, as they allow for purchasers to receive third-party validation when purchasing a product for a company. Mishael Brito said it best, “The most effective way to overcome a B2B decision maker’s skepticism is by influencing their decisions through trusted third parties.”