Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly important for B2B brands. The concept of influencer marketing is already well known, especially in the B2C sector, where well-known personalities advertise certain products, restaurants/bars, hotels or even travel destinations through social media platforms. For some time now, B2B companies have also recognized the power of influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing aims to ensure that the influencer is authentic and convincing regarding the product and recommends it to his or her followers. The goal of the marketer is to increase attention for the brand or product. There are already initial differences between B2B and classic B2C influencers. In the B2C area, it is common to provide a product. For B2B influencers, it is more a lively exchange of knowledge. The most important good is exclusive information that can be exchanged among each other. B2B influencers often have successful social media channels, they have a blog or podcast or are very active online via universities or associations.
However, how do you find the right influencers for your market and how do you build a good relationship with them? Working successfully with B2B influencers in four steps:
In the first step, it is important to define which topics are currently being discussed and which goals are being followed. The larger the company, the more diverse the topics of the individual departments. However, in order not to have too much scatter loss at the beginning and to identify the right influencers, one has to focus on one or two topics. Once this has been done, the search for suitable influencers can begin.
Let’s search for Industry 4.0 influencers: Which universities in my corporate environment are dealing with this topic? Which events/roundtables/etc. take place on this topic and who are the possible speakers? Which topics are relevant for you? Which journalists (outside of the focus media) or analysts deal with this topic? Which associations are active in this field? Which topics are of interest to the association members?
IMPORTANT: What information and exclusive insights can my company spokesperson provide on the topic?
As we have already seen in step one, there are various B2B influencers who are not all interested in the same information. If we want to build strong relationships, we have to take that into account. Every B2B influencer must receive the information that is really relevant to them – there is no universal method. In order to find out which topics are interesting for the respective person, it is necessary to research! What does the person do on the social media channels? At which events does he/she appear? Which focus topics can be found on the website?
For the first contact via e-mail or telephone, put together specific information. Think carefully about how you want to introduce yourself and the company or topic and also ask openly whether this is a suitable topic and what is driving the influencer in this area/industry right now. In the B2B sector, influencer marketing is a give and take, a constant exchange of knowledge. Invite the contact person to a meeting with their business expert in the area. Offer insights into production or meet at an industry event
The first contact is not the end of the road. With Influencer Marketing in the B2B sector, you can also place paid advertising, for example by booking a speaker for an event or having a paid guest article written. A more important goal, however, should be to create a trustworthy basis through a good exchange of knowledge. On the basis of this relationship of trust, the influencer will perhaps name the company/product as a good example and mention it in a blog post/podcast/technical article or share information about the company/product on social media – on his own initiative. How to do it? Support the influencer in the first step just as you would like him/her to support you. Follow him/her on the social media channels, subscribe to the newsletter, follow the blog, share posts, comment, meet at events, share knowledge, link to own articles.
Influencer marketing in the B2B area is a give and take and can only happen on the basis of a trusting cooperation. Only those who are willing to invest time and knowledge have the chance to gain a foothold outside the company’s own world and convince industry influencers. Depending on the culture and industry, this can be a path that can only be pursued in small steps, but is always worthwhile in the end.
A question at the end: Who in your company is already an industry influencer?
Account Director HBI Helga Bailey GmbH – International PR & MarCom
Jasmin Rast has been a PR consultant since 2012 and serves clients in the B2C/B2B sector. Her many years of PR experience contribute significantly to successful communication and customer care. In addition to PR, she is also responsible for online marketing, rounding off the agency’s integrated communications concept. Image