Over the years, Influencer Marketing has grown in popularity, especially with B2C companies. However, there’s still much confusion around whether it works in B2B marketing strategies. Many B2B companies don’t yet consider influencer marketing a viable option for them. However, depending on your product and customer profile, it can have a huge impact on your brand.
Influencer Marketing is one of the fastest growing digital marketing strategies. Simply logging into Instagram will show you how often brands are placing their products in the hands of influencers.
How do you know if your product lends itself well to influencer marketing? If you’ve never done it, how do you know where to start?
Influencer marketing is all about authenticity. It’s the type of marketing that needs to be done strategically and with a lot of thought — because savvy customers know when something doesn’t make sense. Therefore, if you’re considering using influencers as part of your strategy, here are a few things you should think about first.
Research Your Audience
As we mentioned before, not every brand or product lends itself well to influencer marketing. So, how do you know if yours does?
Do a quick Google search to see if there’s conversation out there about related products. If there are influencers who seem to engage with similar products or could benefit from what you’re selling, that’s a good sign it could work for you.
Essentially, influencer marketing is about naturally joining a conversation. If you find that you can fit easily into a conversation that’s already being had, you probably have plenty of opportunities to do so.
Shy Away from Celebrities
Influencer marketing is no longer about partnering with the biggest celebrities on social media. These days, it’s better to focus on the nano- and micro-influencers.
Again, influencer marketing comes down to authenticity. Most customers know that celebrities get paid a pretty penny to endorse things on social media. They also know that most smaller influencers take product endorsement seriously.
The smaller accounts are not getting paid as much, and they generally want to make sure what they’re selling fits into their brand. So, followers tend to be less skeptical and more open to hearing about new products.
Many of the smaller influencers have more engaged followers compared to those with large accounts. That means you’re reaching people that are still very much involved in the conversation — which is exactly where you want to be.
Carefully Consider Your Influencers
Influencer marketing isn’t about reaching out to every social media maven in hopes that a few will say yes. You should thoroughly research the people you want to partner with and have something in common with their brand.
Hootsuite suggests considering something called the three R’s:
Does this person make sense for your brand? Are they already engaging in conversations and activities that are aligned with your vision? More importantly, would their audience be interested in what you’re selling?
If the answer to all of these questions isn’t yes, that means that influencer isn’t right for you.
For instance, if you’re a clothing company about to launch an eco-friendly yoga line, you might consider reaching out to health and wellness influencers that frequently talk about lowering their carbon footprint.
It’s not necessarily something a simple Google search will tell you. You have to take the time to research who the influencer is and understand if their lifestyle fits what you’re trying to sell.
This might seem pretty obvious, but your reach will have to do with the number of followers an influencer has.
That number will give you an idea of how many people your brand can reach. However, the follower count isn’t where reach begins and ends. That’s where resonance comes in.
Resonance is about the number of engaged followers. Hundreds of thousands of followers are meaningless if they’re not interacting with the content.
Pay attention to the number of likes and views an influencer gets. Furthermore, ask them about the analytics on stories, IGTV, and even live feeds.
The more their audience interacts with their content, the more likely it is that you’re going to get in front of people that might potentially take the action you want them to.
Have the Right Product
According to LinkedIn, the brands that perform the best with influencer marketing are “Digitally Minded Scaleups.”
Typically, these are established brands that are in a high-growth phase and sell something that can be purchased easily.
If you follow enough lifestyle millennial influencers, one trip through Instagram stories might show you that they’re all sharing their discount codes for meal delivery services, like Green Chef, Blue Apron and HelloFresh. These companies have found that in the influencer world, there are many conversations that align with their products. Think healthy eating, convenience and budget-friendly options.
If you know your product is easy to sell, and you’re in the process of growing, it’s probably time to consider influencers as part of your strategy.
Focus on Your Goals
Influencer marketing can help your brand grow in several ways. As you start to think about including it in your strategy, be clear about what you’re hoping to accomplish.
Whether you want to gain more followers or sell more products, you need to have some actionable goals so that you can better track your ROI.
Working with one influencer over a period of time can help build confidence in your brand via their audience. That means the two of you can continue working together as you release more products or move into different stages of your marketing campaign.
The only way you’ll know if your influencer campaigns are successful, is if they check the boxes you need them to. From follower growth and content engagement to selling products, approach every campaign prepared with your objectives.
Know What Your Willing to Spend
Influencers are in the lucky position to set their own rates. In general, it’s dependent on the number of engaged followers they have (their reach and resonance) and whether or not what you’re selling seamlessly fits into their brand.
Come prepared to negotiate, but know what you’re willing to spend. Don’t only consider monetary value, as some influencers are willing to feature products if they’re given them for free.
Also, don’t forget that influencers talk. Generally, they know what one another are being paid. They know where they stand compared to larger and small accounts. The last thing you want to do is offend someone by offering them below market value.
Influencer marketing is still a new concept. One that B2B brands have been struggling with for a while.
But to compete in a digital marketing landscape that’s always changing, you need to try new things. If you feel like influencer marketing can work for you, start small and scale over time.
If you find a niche that feels like it’s working, stick with it, and continue to build brand awareness. There’s no reason that B2C and B2B companies alike can’t run successful influencer campaigns if they consider their options thoroughly and thoughtfully.