8 Best Practices for B2B Influencer Marketing

b2b influencer marketingIn a recent blog post we discuss influencer marketing as a viable B2B marketing tactic. Despite the staggering popularity of influencer marketing amongst B2C organizations, its popularity has been slow to catch on in the B2B realm. In fact, according to a recent report, only 15% of B2B brands have established influencer programs (source).

If you’re among the B2B professionals who have yet to leverage the power of influencers, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity for growth. Check out these statistics:

  • Twitter users report a 2X increase in purchase intent when exposed to promotional content from influencers. (source)
  • Influencer marketing content delivers 11X higher ROIthan traditional forms of digital marketing. (source)
  • On average, businesses generate $6.50 for every $1 invested in influencer marketing. (source)

In our last post, we broke down the basics of B2B influencer marketing, but today, we teach you how to get started. Continue reading for the best practices of influencer marketing.

1.   Strategize

Consider what goals and objectives you’d like your influencer marketing strategy to accomplish. Common goals include brand awareness, social engagement, sales, and revenue.

Once you understand the end goal, you can then determine which KPIs you will use to track the success of your strategy.

2. Understand your buyers

An effective way to identify and understand your target audience is to establish buyer personas – or profiles comprised of demographic and firmographic characteristics.

Buyer personas paint a picture of your best buyers and offer actionable insights into who they are, what challenges they face and where they look for solutions to their problems.

3. Find your influencers

With a clear understanding of who your audience is, it’s time to determine who influences them. Identify the authors, bloggers and thought leaders they take the time to engage with.

One way of doing this is through social listening – or the act of uncovering the preferences and buying behaviors of your prospects based on the conversations they’re having on social media.

When implemented effectively, social listening can uncover a treasure trove of valuable insight. And since most influencers do most of their work on social media, this process is one of the simplest ways to determine who your target audience values most. Take a look at which influencers your audience is following, whose advice they seek, and whose content and messaging they engage with most.

4. Look beyond social popularity

One common mistake organizations will make is to simply choose individuals with the largest social media following. Sure, these individuals may be able to expand your reach – but do their followers really resonate with your brand? Instead, it is more important to identify the individuals who are able to cultivate meaningful relationships with your target audience.

Additionally, it’s natural to be drawn to the big name, heavy-hitters in the influencer industry. Don’t do it! It may appear as though these celebrities offer a big value at first, but their price tags can be steep. Instead, focus on up-and-coming influencers.

Not only will their fees be more reasonable, but their newness to the industry means they’re probably still trying to build their personal brand, as well. With the ability to leverage your existing social audience, the relationship will be mutually beneficial.

5. Focus on relationship building

Obviously, enlisting the help of an influencer is considered a business deal of sorts. However, even if you’re offering a good chunk of change, it isn’t enough to simply come right out and ask an influencer for their help. Like your audience, influencers need to be coaxed into a deal – not pushed. Don’t try and persuade them with a sales pitch; instead, focus on building a meaningful relationship with them first.

Consider what ways your brand can potentially help out the influencer. Simple solutions are to share or promote their content, answer their questions or even just engage with their social posts. Also, don’t go too big, too fast. Start small with your advances, in order to build trust with the influencer. A sense of trust and familiarity allows the relationship to grow more towards your favor, in a natural way. Ultimately, the more you help them, the more likely they’ll want to help you.

6. Vet potential influencers

As with any business partnership, it’s important that you make sure potential influencers align with your brand’s values.  Do your research. Does this person have a reputation of professionalism? Is this person reliable? Have they made decisions in the past that would reflect poorly on your brand?

7. Trust your influencer

As important as it is for your influencer to trust your organization, it is equally important that your team places its trust in the influencer – and that means no micro-managing! Be sure you aren’t suffocating your influencer. Give them the space and creative freedom they need to effectively complete the tasks required of them.

It may seem risky to allow an outside person to cultivate content for your brand, but editing out their voice and opinions can read as inauthentic – and is often an even bigger risk. Remember, these individuals have established themselves as respected experts; trust the process.

8. Embrace their offline power

Consider asking an influencer to host an event, sit in on a panel or even speak at an upcoming event. Invite your influencers to join you at a tradeshow, their presence at may deliver a huge boost in foot traffic!

For more information about improving your B2B marketing efforts, contact ZoomInfo today.