Our guide for B2B influencer marketing
Posted 09 Mar 2021
In digital marketing, the cooperation with influencers is common practice in the B2C sector: Well-known personalities use social media platforms to advertise products, restaurants/bars, hotels or even travel destinations. Due to the success of the concept, B2B companies are increasingly interested in influencer marketing and its numerous advantages as well.
The goal of influencer marketing is to increase the company’s awareness through the influencer’s reach while at the same time optimizing the marketing of products and services. Corporate influencers are commonly company spokespeople who have been established as thought leaders in their industry and particularly benefit from their community. Their followers not only listen to them, but actively engage in relevant topics and provide their honest feedback. The influencer’s opinion is highly respected and carries weight for their followers.
While B2C influencers put their focus on products, influencer marketing in the B2B sector is based more on a lively exchange of knowledge. This is also reflected in the preferred social media platforms of the two sectors.
B2B influencers have expert knowledge and are considered a credible source by decision-makers and stakeholders. Influencers gain the above-mentioned authenticity through long-term, partly scientific involvement with their field. For example, educational influencers (e.g. professors) have a teaching position and pass on their knowledge to the next generation of managers. Similar to B2C influencers, their messages, e.g. via podcasts, are also heard by people who are difficult to reach with classical PR work. B2B influencers are well connected in the industry and enable contact with other potential influencers. We show which steps are necessary for a successful cooperation between companies and influencers.
The first step is to clearly define the discourse and the goals to be pursued in the cooperation. The larger the company, the more diverse the topics of the different departments. Especially at the very beginning, a spreading loss needs to be avoided. For this reason, the right influencers must first be identified, and you should focus on one or two key topics. Hence, it is not only important that the chosen influencers have a community that matches the target group that has the biggest outreach possible. To keep fluctuation as low as possible, it is also crucial how intensely their followers interact with them, their suggestions, and opinions. Furthermore, goals to be achieved must be clearly agreed on beforehand by all parties involved. The SMART formula can help with its development. Once this has been done, the search for suitable influencers can begin.
IMPORTANT: What information and exclusive insights can my company spokesperson provide on the topic? Influencers must not outshine their own experts with specialist knowledge!
The second step is to build a deeper relationship. Every B2B influencer should receive the information that is relevant for him/her – there is no universal method here. In order to find interesting topics for the respective person, that means: research! Take a look at their social media channels: What do they currently work on? In the scope of which events do they appear? Which focus topics can be found on their websites?
For the first contact via e-mail or telephone, compile specific information. Think carefully about how you want to introduce yourself and the company or topic and ask openly whether this might be 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 personal meeting with your company expert in the respective field. Offer insights into production or meet at an industry event.
The first contact is not the end of the story. 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 commentary written. The motto is to use the momentum and plan further activities for the future.
Aim for long-term cooperation with the thought leader. Do not just draw on their expertise for a single campaign, but contribute your own expertise. In return, benefit from the thought leader’s expertise. After all, they have been able to build up an extensive community for a reason.
A long-term goal of the cooperation is the development of an interesting exchange of knowledge on a trustworthy basis. On the grounds of mutual trust, the influencers will take the opportunity to cite the company as a good example and possibly mention it in an article – on their own initiative. How can this be achieved? Support the influencers to the extent you would wish for yourself. Follow the influencers on their social media channels, subscribe to the newsletters, follow their blogs, share posts. Just like commenting articles, these activities are free of cost, but they give important feedback and will attract attention. Meet at events, share knowledge, link them in your own articles.
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.