By Freddie Weiss, Senior Account Manager, Platform Comms
B2B social influencing is skyrocketing, and for good reason. As B2B brands seek innovative ways to remain visible in front of prospects and harmonise sales and marketing activity, social influencer programmes help build brands and directly drive engagement with sales prospects and other leaders. It utilizes internal experts to drive sales conversations by showcasing their deep industry knowledge and connecting with other influencers. By employing some basic principles and lessons from the world of B2C, where social influencing has been prevalent for some time, B2B brands can gain an advantage against competitors and reach their target leads.
B2B social influencer marketing is proving to be a big feature of sales outreach in 2022. HubSpot’s 2022 Marketing Industry Survey ranked influencer marketing as the top marketing trend for this year, with most B2B marketers (71%) saying they were planning on investing more in influencer marketing in 2022. We found a similar response in our recent survey of AV tech buyers, who said they find social media posts from individuals at companies to be most influential at the end of the buying cycle. With potential customers putting so much weight on social media, can marketing leads really afford not to use influencer marketing as part of their go-to-market strategy?
However, for those taking the first step, the world of influencer marketing can quickly become a minefield of analytics and measurement, dos and don’ts, and new platforms to work on. The danger is getting too focussed on the technology and not enough on real business outcomes. Social influencer programmes are rich with performance analytics and data, but the only metric that really matters is business outcomes and helping drive sales conversations. If B2B marketers take the right approach from the start then there is a great opportunity to get their messages across to a wider audience and drive new sales conversations.
When looking to engage in successful B2B social influencing activity, B2C influencer marketing can lend some key learnings. The two fields might look different on surface level. For example, B2B influencing predominantly operates through professional channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter, whereas you’re more likely to find B2C influencers on social platforms such as Instagram or TikTok. However, both B2B and B2C influencers sing from the same songbook when it comes to programme intent and motivation.
Here are some top tips from the world of B2C influencing to help dispel some of the confusions around B2B social influencing:
Don’t just be a corporate mouthpiece:
The job of an influencer isn’t just to sell a product or plug a brand, it’s about offering more colour, context and personal thoughts on products and trends. Authenticity is the best policy and it’s always obvious when an influencer is faking or sticking to company taglines. In the B2C world, audiences can only tolerate the plugging of a new teeth whitening kit or coffee brand for so long, and the same sticks for B2B influencers. To ensure this, make sure you stand for something and have a unique perspective on whatever topic you’re taking about. Otherwise, you’re just another fish in the pond. Although it might seem obvious, it’s also important to believe in the content you’re putting out there. Otherwise, it will immediately come across as inauthentic.
Address your community correctly:
Any influencer should strive to become a thought leader among their desired audience and as such, be seen as an equal to their community, rather than being ‘above them’ or better than. They need to be seen as being part of a community rather than trying to lead it, and as such should address and engage their community correctly, not using any condescending terms or phrases. In B2C influencing, this might be seen through condescending phrases and introductions such as ‘Hey guys,’ when addressing their viewers. In B2B, it’s more likely to be using words such as ‘obviously’ or ‘of course’ when explaining a topic. Taking this approach helps build trust and engagement with an audience.
Build your audience:
Responding to comments and other posts is hugely important for building relationships and trust among your connections. If you’re posting frequently but not engaging with your community and building relationships, you’re missing the point of being an influencer. What’s more, don’t shy away from bringing some diversity into your platform. While you may be a specialist in one topic area, there’s no reason why you can’t branch out into other adjacent topics. For example, although sports streaming may be your speciality, could you offer some insights into adjacent topics like VR/AR, betting, music, or enterprise as sub-topics to demonstrate some versatility?
Having said that, audience is certainly not all about numbers. It’s far better to have a smaller audience that is relevant to your goals and interested in what you have to say, than a huge audience where most people don’t really pay any attention to your content.
Finding the right platform:
Your strategy for one platform cannot be copy-and-pasted onto another. In the field of B2C marketing, there are huge differences in strategy required between Instagram and TikTok, from the formatting of content to the way they engage and respond to viewers. The same lessons are relevant in the world of B2B with regards to how audiences are addressed, and messages are delivered on LinkedIn or Twitter.
You should concentrate on the platforms where you’re getting engagement. If what you’re doing is not working well on one platform but doing well on another, invest your time and effort into the one where you’re adding value. Bear in mind also where rival brands are actively promoting their content. Are you speaking to your market in the most impactful and relevant way?
A social influencer programme can help you close the gap between sales and marketing, building your brand and directly driving engagement with prospects and other industry leaders. By employing some basic principles and lessons from B2C brands, B2B brands can gain an advantage against competitors and ensure they’re reaching their target leads in the most direct, effective, and intuitive way possible.
We’d love the chance to tell you more about how B2B influencer marketing can drive sales. Drop us a note here to set up a quick call.