October 24, 2017
One of the major shifts we have seen in consumer behavior is how reliant they are on reviews and third party recommendations. In fact, 71 percent of people say they make buying decisions based on recommendations they find on social media. These social recommendations often come from third party reviews, like bloggers and other influencers, leaving company ads less desirable.
On average, 75 percent of people don’t trust ads. This makes company sponsored ads a potential ROI disaster.
Another pitfall to traditional company ads comes in the way of pop up ads. In fact, two out of three Millennials use ad blockers. This makes ads somewhat obsolete for web based products and services, with third party reviews more powerful. Now consumers can perform a few quick search queries and read, listen or watch what their favorite influencers are saying.
Influencer Marketing Makes More Meaningful Connections
Consumers are eager to ignore or block an ad, but when it comes to their favorite influencers, they will pull the purchase trigger without second thought.
The art of online sales has become more about reach and trust, rather than limited connections. Influencers are not only loved, but have pre-qualified, loyal followers in their niche and industry.
According to a joint study by Twitter and Annalect, influencer recommendations have just as much sway as friends when it comes to building consumer trust.
Unlike B2B, the B2C influencer marketing approach was adopted and integrated quite well. In fact, 55 percent of B2C companies have already integrated influencer marketing into their overall marketing strategy.
However, only a mere 15 percent of B2B companies have taken influencers seriously enough to make it a main marketing staple. About 49 percent of B2B companies are currently experimenting with influencer marketing.
In many ways, B2B businesses and brand are just now seeing the big picture when it comes to influencer relations. This influencer upswing for B2B has made the focus on content more about how it is shared, rather than the actual message it provides.
Shareable Content Boasts More Value than Content Itself
The importance put on how your marketing message is shared, doesn’t make the value of your content less. When it comes to B2B marketing, companies want influencers that deliver content to their loyal following, as well as having an expertise in your industry and niche.
This is a clear call to action for any CMO looking to maximize their marketing efforts. In fact, 71 percent of B2B technology companies found influencer marketing to be strategic or highly strategic.
Investing in Micro-Influencers
For some businesses, finding the funds for influencers may not be easy, but there are various ways to finances growth strategies. Regardless of whether influencer marketing is part of your budget, or requires an additional budget, it needs to be considered.
Micro-Influencers Can Make a Big Impact
Influencers with millions of followers may not be discussing the most important issues, and they may not have the loyal following you may think.
This makes experts and micro-influencers in your industry with smaller followings top influencer choices for B2B brands and businesses. These experts may only have a few thousand fans, but their engagement is far more impactful.
How to identifying key micro-influencers:
- Monitoring conversations experts are having in your industry. These experts could very well be emerging influencers, and inserting topics into conversations that are relative to your company could prove valuable.
- Join and interact with potential influencers on community platforms and tech forums that relate to your company. This is a great way to find micro-influencers that may not even know they are influencers yet.
- Sometimes micro-influencers can be right under your nose. You hired the best and brightest in your industry and their expertise is certainly influencer worthy. You may be surprised how many of your team members have a blog about their career passion.
- Develop and nurture influencer relationships to get the best fit for your company. You want your influencer marketing campaign to be inline with your company’s mission, message and values. The only way to ensure this is to have meaningful relationships with your influencers.
Make Your Marketing Purposeful Over Promotional
Marketers have been conditioned to meet conversion and sales quotas since the dawn of marketing time. Quarterly earnings, projected profits and sales goals have always been on the forefront. However, influencer marketing turns all that on its head.
When it comes to influencer marketing, having a more purposeful goal, rather than promotional is vital to any campaigns success. This is what makes the transmission of your content far more valuable than the actual content.
How do you balance the needs to meet those quarterly earning goals while building long-term, meaningful relationships with influencers? It may seem challenging, but the companies that are focusing more on long-term influencer relations are investing far less than one would think.
Here are a few ways to have your influencer marketing cake and eat it too:
- Ensure your branding meets the branding of your influencer. This is very important since influencers have worked diligently to gain the trust and have credibility with their followers.
- Take a gentler approach when it comes to influencer relations. You want your influencer marketing campaign goals to be seamless with your influencer’s goals.
- Let your entire team be involved. By having meetings and workshops about the products and services your influencer will be recommending will create a synergy key for long-term success.
Make Influencer Relations Collaborative
Fully harnessing influencer marketing for B2B growth and success means collaboration. By making your influencer relationships more than just about the marketing and PR department, make the effort cross functional.
Ways to create a collaborative influencer environment:
- Search out and identify ways to make influencer relations part of your entire business. This allows different departments to interact and collaborate with influencers that are aligned with their specific B2B goals within your business.
- Make your influencer marketing efforts part of your entire B2B messaging, asset planning and positioning.
- Make it a team effort. One of the best ways to make influencer relations collaborative is to let each core area of your business reach out and qualify different influencers that have value.
As traditional marketing methods continue to fall short of expectations and goals, influencers are ready to deliver your company’s message. What could be better than having a pre-vetted group of potential customers? Influencers can make it happen, and are an area of potential growth for any B2B business.
Read more influencer marketing strategies at TechCo
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