Does the idea of an Instagram influencer gushing over a new pair of jeans make your eyes roll? As a B2B business, you probably aren’t interested in paying the trendiest bikini-clad chick to sing your praises online. But, that doesn’t mean you should overlook influencer marketing.
In fact, influencer marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool for any business. The following tactics are designed specifically for B2B businesses.
5 Ways B2B Business Can Utilize Influencer Marketing
1. Partner with Industry Experts to Create Content
The power of customer reviews is undeniable. And the more trustworthy the source, the more powerful those reviews are. By creating content with well-respected industry experts, you add credibility and trustworthiness to your message.
Partnering on content can take many different forms, including:
Brand endorsements can be a great way to showcase the people who are using your product or service right now. They add social proof to your offer — signaling to potential customers that they too could enjoy the same success if they used you.
The best place to start with a brand endorsement is with influencers who are already using your service. They’ve already shown that they like your product or service. Furthermore, they are likely motivated to help your business succeed so they can keep using you.
Case Studies can be another good place to harness the power of social influencers. The case study could be focused on an individual client or a collection of them. For you, this is a benefit because it lets you highlight people who are using your product and how effective your product is. For the influencer, it’s a good opportunity because it showcases their own success.
2. Develop Brand Ambassadors from Loyal Clients
Word-of-mouth marketing (the practice of a trusted friend or relationship sharing a positive experience) has been around since the dawn of time. It is hands down one of the most effective ways to market your business. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most difficult funnels to develop.
This is the beauty of developing brand ambassadors from loyal clients. They become your word-of-mouth marketing team! By sharing their positive experience working with you through their own online platforms, they instantly expand your company’s online reach and digital footprint — helping you attract more leads through a relatively organic approach.
3. Create a ‘Special Event’ or ‘Exclusive Group’
The power of networking should never be overlooked. It’s one of the keys to developing relationships. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to do. How do you actually get industry leaders to connect with you?
One way is to make their participation enticing by offering value. Inviting them to a special event or exclusive group creates something that they want to be a part of — where they’ll meet other influencers and be able to grow their own brand.
4. Share a ‘Round-Up’
Round-ups are a great way to turn a cold influencer into a warm contact. They can take many different forms, but the idea is to pick a collection of individuals who share a similar positive trait.
Often, this kind of content is published as a blog post. But it could (and should) also be shared through social media and email marketing campaigns. For the influencer, it not only makes them feel good and look good, it typically offers a link back to their site. And for you, it can encourage these influencers to link to your site and share your content.
5. Give Shout Outs to Influencers
Like everyone else, influencers are flattered to be mentioned in a positive light. And, it helps them grow their brand. By following key influencers you can track when they have big life events. This could be something as simple as a birthday or as momentous as winning an award.
How to Maximize Influencer Marketing
One of the big reasons to utilize influencer marketing, above and beyond giving credibility to your brand, is to increase awareness of your brand. Influencers have…wait for it…influence. This means they have a big, or at least valuable, audience at their disposal. One of the primary reasons to pursue influencer marketing is to gain access to this audience.
This means you want to encourage influencers to share your work. The following are some of the ways you can do so:
Reach Out to Influencers in Advance
Prior to publishing a piece that includes a mention of an influencer, reach out to them. Let them know why you think highly of them and how they will be included in an upcoming piece.
Alert an Influencer Once the Piece is Published
Once you publish a piece that includes a mention of an influencer, send them a note. Include a link to the piece in question, reinforce why they were included, and highlight the different channels through which you will be promoting the piece.
Tag Influencers on Social Media
When you share the content in question through social media, tag the influencers you’ve included in the piece. This alerts them once again and it helps add clout to your piece.
Tag Influencers When You Reply or Reshare
Did your content get shared? That’s fabulous! That’s one of the best ways to help spread awareness of your brand. To up the ante, you can re-share the share. For example, if someone tweeted about a blog post you published, you might retweet their tweet. And to make this re-tweet stand out even more, tag the influencers who were included in the piece.
Should You Pay Influencers?
There’s no cut and dry answer to this question. It depends on a lot of factors, including:
Your Potential ROI
What You’re Asking of the Influencer
It’s important to remember influencer marketing is a business. Just like you would be unlikely to work for free, don’t be surprised if an influencer won’t. Ideally, you want both parties to feel compensated and sometimes that looks like a financial investment.
But there are also other ways to compensate an influencer that they might find of equal or greater value. These include, but are not limited to:
Free products or services
Discounted products or services
Commission on sales generated from their participation
Social media mentions and links to their site
If any compensation is provided, the best practice is that the influencer discloses the compensation. In fact, some platforms like Facebook and Instagram require this disclosure. It helps build trust and loyalty for the entire platform.
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