Influencer Marketing Means More than Fashion and Fitness.

Posted by Alexa Hunt

Here’s how B2B Companies can Make the Most of the Trend

Influencer marketing: another buzzword to add to your arsenal for 2017.

Riding on the coattails of personalized marketing, ad blocking, and social media, influencer marketing represents a new tactic that helps advertisers break through the noise to reach an even more defined target audience. Influencer marketing latches onto the power of an individual’s reputation and popularity - from the trust built with their (likely large amount of) followers to the unique perspectives they may share - to generate interest in a company or a product. This takes place across multiple channels and platforms, but social media and digital marketing lead the way in the tactic’s usage.

As of yet, influencer marketing primarily earned its credibility through business-to-consumer marketing. You may scroll through your Instagram feed and see your favorite celebrities posting #ads for their favorite clothing brand. If you log into your YouTube account, you may see that the tech guru you follow uploaded a video with promo codes for discounts on the latest tech-driven subscription box. And the list goes on.

The B2C influencer marketing trend carries into the New Year, but this tactic can apply to business-to-business practices, too. This notion of embracing the influence of a well-known, highly followed entity to promote or validate your brand can spearhead a new marketing approach for your business.

Consider these three ways to add influencer marketing to your mix of B2B marketing efforts:

  1. Analyst relations: Analyst firms represent perhaps the most widely trusted, most referenced influencer in the B2B space. They remain a go-to source for evaluations of companies, products, trends, and more - look no further than the thought leadership and studies they’ve generated on 2017 advertising and marketing trends. Start building relationships with analysts by briefing them on new, innovative products and offerings. Provide them with a detailed first-look at an upcoming release, ask for feedback, and welcome their questions. This lends to a symbiotic relationship: the analyst earns an exclusive look into something before it reaches the market, and you form a relationship which could lead to your inclusion in future thought leadership and briefings. Earning this unique (and likely research-backed) perspective from a trusted third party can boost your credibility and awareness factors.
  2. Client testimonials: What better way to build trust and confidence than through a bona fide validity check? Your client successes serve many purposes, but when it comes to influencer marketing, tapping your client base may uncover some valuable opportunities. Identify the companies considered well-respected or leading in their industry. Leverage the success and relationships you built with these key players and begin to build upon their role as brand champions to influence prospective clients. Develop video testimonials, case studies, or speak with your client at an industry conference. Client esteem can go a long way in influencer marketing.
  3. Employees: Influencer marketing works for your internal marketing efforts, too! If your 2017 plans include expanding your team, consider leveraging your employees to promote company culture which reaches throughout their networks: a recent survey by International Data Corporation (IDC) found that 95% of B2B professionals trust peers and colleagues. This trust can go a long way in influencer marketing for internal purposes. Another group of brand champions, employees’ “good word” in a trusted referral can attract top talent from their networks. More, employees can contribute their unique experiences and perceived benefits of working at your company to quality content which both they and your company can share on social media.

While it may seem like a buzzword, influencer marketing builds on the continued variety of more niche communications tactics. Its future looks bright - both in the B2C and B2B spaces. Contact us today to learn more integrating influencer marketing into your tactical mix.