The Changing Face of B2B Growth: Influencer Marketing.

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Should a B2B company invest in Influencer Marketing?

It’s normal for people to assume influencer marketing only works for consumer product brands because social media is often times so entertainment-focused.

But did you know that 93% of B2B businesses rely on social media as part of their strategy? Or that half of B2B buyers (the people who are looking for your service) are millennials? Furthermore, we know these millennial buyers prefer their phones and begin their research with general searches, too.

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How do you produce strong content in a saturated environment? How do you get people to listen when they don’t trust advertising?

This explains why B2B buyers are increasingly relying on the opinion of industry influencers, whether they are colleagues, bloggers, or even competitors.

Put simply, influencers are regarded as a more trustworthy (and accessible) source of information than paid ads, making them an incredible asset to B2B marketers.

The truth is that B2B buyers are looking for information about your product first, not your brand. This is about lead building, not brand building.

Despite their core differences, in the modern age both B2Cs and B2Bs must adapt to the digital market and new consumer behaviors. While their approach differs, the key to leads stays the same: authentic, original, shareable content.

What better way to distribute and produce said content than by engaging industry experts?  

Industry influencers increase your content reach, improve its quality, and encourage more engagement from buyers. Ongoing influencer involvement can also lead to organic advocacy of your brand, products and services, (regardless of the niche industry you might represent.) Overall, translating to increased leads and deals.

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Longer Life Cycle:

Selling a service to a business is a process that is logic-driven and impersonal, unlike impulsive consumer purchasing. That doesn’t mean you can neglect content, though. In fact, it means you need more quality pieces that will withstand the review processes of buyers and later, their C-levels. 

Knowing your Platform:

While B2Bs overwhelmingly use LinkedIn to market their services, Facebook and Instagram are on the rise among B2B researchers. Where are your clients?

Content that shares itself:

Whether influencers are producing content, amplifying it for you, or both, B2Bs need to be strategic and creative about the content they’re circulating. How will it be useful to your desired community? For example, this interactive ebook created by the software corporation SAP gathered more than 18 million impressions because it was shared by the influencers who helped build it.

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Likewise, here are two examples of influencer content: one B2C and the other B2B. Notice the strategic placements, audience targeting, and distribution strategies. Infographics make strong content for B2Bs with more technical services.

How does a B2B company launch a successful Influencer campaign?

Step 1: Targeting and Segmentation.  

Instead of entertaining, B2B’s build the trust they need for sales by speaking to a small, focused audience of B2B buyers with specialized content. Highly specified editorial pieces, quality reviews, expert endorsements: this is how businesses sell to other businesses in 2017 …but before you can start producing content you must know who you’re speaking to. This is achieved through targeting and segmentation. As a B2B, dividing the market into profitable segments is the first step. What businesses need your products? Where are they located? Often B2B’s make the mistake of stopping their marketing research after they’ve answered these questions. They start targeting businesses on LinkedIn, hoping for the best yet they’re missing arguably the most important demographic: the end consumers. Who are the customers of your clients? Understanding the goals of the businesses you’re selling to is crucial to B2B marketing and you should consider both of these segments before you begin targeting.

Having trouble decoding your market? Try focusing on the Key Opinion Leaders in your industry and working down from there. Key Opinion Leaders are experts in their field, unlike Influencers they have not gained influence through social media and aren’t going to advertise for you. Rather they represent an industry through the work or knowledge they’ve contributed. They can serve as a model for what businesses and consumers are linked to your field, an excellent insight into where to start targeting.

Step 2: Using technology to activate your targeting.

Once you know your target market you have the right criteria to start an influencer campaign. Identifying and connecting influencers is easiest with technology. Whatever your industry is, whether you’re looking for a large scale campaign or multitudes of micro-influencers in a specific field, it helps to have a search tool.

At Upfluence, our software categorises and identifies influencers based on 20+ criteria such a language, community size, geolocation, engagement, keywords, etc… So you’re guaranteed to find the right voice for your campaign (no matter how technical.)

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