How can a B2B influencer contribute to my company or brand? What is he or she going to do exactly? It’s a question we get a lot. There are many options but the question you need to ask yourself first is: How do you align your strategy with a B2B influencer marketing campaign? That’s the challenge! Here are 10 tips to successfully use an influencer as part of your marketing strategy.
1. Don’t underestimate the value of a good strategy
B2B influencer marketing should align with your long term strategy, something which is often underestimated by the majority of the clients. To find the right influencer, you need to know your desired target audience. Take the time to prepare the campaign (at least 2-3 months) and find the right influencers to reflect your brand or company. Also define the desired outcome of the campaign, what does your company or brand really need? Visibility, (brand) awareness, customer satisfaction or reputation? Having a clearly defined strategy is essential for the success and outcome of your campaign. It will also have an impact on the collaboration with the influencer(s).
2. Don’t expect stunning results from day one
If you start with a B2B influencer marketing campaign, one of the most important aspects is to be patient. This might be a surprise but don’t expect huge results at the start of a campaign. First of all because we work B2B, the decision making processes take longer than in a B2C environment. You don’t need to reach the entire world, your goal is that the campaign will reach your desired target audience, that’s what it’s all about! Associations think long term and plan their annual conferences sometimes up to 3 years ahead. Besides, implementing a new strategy and focus costs time.
3. Align the B2B influencer’s message with your audience
A lot companies think they need a fancy product, or a crazy campaign to use the power of the influencer. That’s absolutely not true. Every industry, every company, whatever they might sell, can harvest the power of a B2B influencer campaign. It’s not about your product, it’s about your target audience: what do they want? What do they value? Do your research and look for the right person who can represent your product or service in that specific industry or niche. What about interviews, product reviews, podcasts, or whitepapers, etc. It doesn’t need to be fancy, it needs to be aligned with the needs of your desired target audience.
4. Don’t overthink it
A lot of companies think they need a stunning campaign that costs a lot of money. Stick to the core values of your company! Often the most simple, or original message will be the most effective in convincing your target audience, and to do that, you don’t need an enormous budget.
5. B2B influencer marketing campaigns are not only for large companies
Influencer marketing is for all companies, size is irrelevant: from a start-up or a small company, medium, large to huge companies. The question you need to ask yourself is: will a B2B influencer support me in reaching my goals? Starting can seem like a daunting task but you can start small: invite an influencer to your company and ask what they can potentially do for you. If they accept, you can potentially receive a wealth of information and data. And by combining your product, with the knowledge of the influencer and their audience, you can create a great campaign, even on a shoestring budget. Or if they’re just starting, give the option to grow with you. If the influencer only has 5,000 followers now, who knows what will happen in 6 months or a year?
6. Meet the influencer in person
Don’t forget the offline aspect. For example for the opening of your hotel, invite the influencer and spread the word to attract the audience that you want to have at the opening of your new property. And what about a tradeshow? Let the influencer give a presentation or introduction, it’s always better if you are introduced by someone other than the sales manager that has to convince the new potential client.
7. Use the knowledge and experience of the influencer
Influencers are humans (some companies tend to forget that…) with knowledge about your industry and about social media. Why don’t you ask the influencer to share their tips, knowledge with your team in a training session, or presentation? Both parties will benefit, the company values the knowledge of the B2B influencer, and will strengthen the relationship. The influencer knows the team and their challenges and will be better able to support you during the campaign.
8. Leverage the influencer
If you’re not active on a specific channel yet, let the influencer take the first steps on your new account by placing the first content and do a takeover (if you work B2B, preferably at least a couple of weeks or longer). The influencer can also help you create a content calendar with valuable info for your followers. Some companies find it difficult to give up control over their accounts but with good communication and clear rules, this issue is easily resolved.
9. Inform your team of the cooperation
We often see that companies don’t align their marketing activities with the influencer, a pity. Let everyone in the company know if you’re starting a campaign and introduce the influencer. That way, the employees can share the content within their network. For example, you could create a video for your employees to announce the influencer campaign before the official start to get everyone on the same page.
10. In case you might not be ready…
No worries, why don’t you start with your employees, stakeholders, partners, or other people who you could engage as B2B influencers for your brand or company. And what about your loyal clients?