With 55% of B2C businesses adopting influencer marketing strategies, compared to just 15% of B2B, it’s clear that the advantages of influencer marketing for commercial brands are well established. But as influencer power grows, the ongoing opportunity for all businesses to drive engagement, awareness and website traffic through third parties is growing significantly.
When influencer marketing first started out, bloggers were happy to work with brands and businesses on a one-off basis as a simple transaction, but this is now not the case. Influencers, or ‘enablers’, are in such demand that it’s essential for brands to invest time working with them on a long-term basis, so the advantages for both parties become deep-rooted and mutual. This relationship building of course takes time, but it’s fast becoming something even B2B brands can’t afford to avoid – influencers have the power and we are at their mercy!
So whilst it can be daunting not knowing where to start, it doesn’t have to be.
We’ve compiled our Top Five Tips for developing successful B2B influencer marketing programmes to help grow your business reputation both on and offline.
When it comes to relationships, authenticity is a big deal which needs careful attention. Consumers will happily ’call out’ non-authentic posts which seem forced or fake, so building organic relationships has never been more important.
This is particularly prevalent in developing markets where word-of-mouth offers a unique opportunity to grow sales, leads and your revenue stream. And it’s not just for B2C markets, there’s an influencer in every niche and industry, the challenge is finding them!
Tell your stories
The reality is that B2C consumers tend to trust humans over faceless corporations – and the same applies for B2B brands too; the trick is building the story you want to tell! What are your own business values and messages? What do you want to say and what do your customers want to hear? These are your stories.
When starting off an influencer outreach campaign, learning to listen before you speak is key.
Spend time finding out what problems your customers are facing. What do they want from businesses and how can you help them? Think about how you can add value and make their lives easier, cheaper, quicker?
Develop a culture of sharing in your business too. When you’ve nurtured a relationship with an influencer, let your whole team know what content you’ve created – especially your sales team. It’ll help create conversation points and reach, enabling you to improve your reputation in your field.
Finally, be prepared to give up some level of control. With traditional marketing, the brand is in the driving seat, but don’t let fear hold you back! Be open with your influencer and set clear guidelines – but be prepared for them to get creative. After all, they know their audience better than anyone, and trusting them to do what they do best will undoubtedly yield the best results.