Looking to Amplify Your ABM Strategy? Don’t Sleep on B2B Influencer Marketing
In today’s digital landscape, B2B marketing has evolved significantly, and brands are constantly seeking innovative strategies to connect with their target audience. With Gartner data indicating that sales reps only have around 5% of a customer’s time during their B2B buying journey, it’s up to you to guide them to decision confidence and secure buy-in from the entire buying committee. One approach that has gained significant traction is B2B influencer marketing. This powerful strategy allows you to leverage the influence and expertise of industry thought leaders to enhance brand awareness and build credibility.
The Rise of B2B Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has traditionally been associated with the B2C industry, where influencers collaborate with brands to promote products and services to their consumer audience. However, as the landscape shifts, B2B marketers are increasingly recognizing the immense potential of influencer marketing to reach target audience and drive meaningful engagement.
According to a study conducted by InvespCro, 94% of B2B marketers believe that influencer marketing is an effective strategy. Yet, despite this, only 24% of B2B brands have incorporated influencer marketing into their overall business plans. This presents a significant opportunity for you to leverage influencer marketing to gain a competitive edge.
The Benefits of B2B Influencer Marketing
B2B influencer marketing offers numerous benefits for those looking to amplify their account-based efforts and drive success. Here are some of the key advantages:
- Increase Brand Awareness and Credibility: Collaborating with influential figures who are recognized thought leaders or experts in a specific industry elevates brand visibility and perception. When renowned thought leaders endorse your solutions or services, it instills trust and credibility among their audience. This increased credibility increases the attention of buyers who are more likely to be genuinely interested in hearing what a brand has to offer from someone they know and respect.
- Attract a Previously Untapped Audience: B2B influencers often have a dedicated following within a specific industry or niche, which can help you more effectively reach your desired audience. This targeted approach is especially useful if you’re looking to break into a new industry or market. When an influencer is associated with a B2B brand, it positions the company as knowledgeable and reliable. This helps you attract the attention of individuals who might not otherwise know about your solution or services.
- Build Long-term Relationships: Collaborating with influencers can extend beyond a single campaign. By nurturing a long-term relationship, you can tap into the influencer’s network and industry connections, further expanding your reach. Influencers are often skilled creators who can produce high-quality content. Engaging in events, co-creating content, or participating in thought leadership initiatives with them will further strengthen your brand’s reputation and reach.
How to Implement B2B Influencer Marketing
Collaborating with B2B influencers requires a well-thought-out strategy that includes connecting with the right individuals, aligning on a campaign strategy and objectives, and monitoring measurable outcomes. To effectively incorporate influencer marketing into your ABM strategies, you need to consider several key aspects:
Identify the Right Influencers
Finding influencers who align with your brand’s values, industry, and target audience is crucial. Utilize influencer discovery tools or even get feedback from your current customers to help you identify the most suitable influencers for collaboration. While it’s important to find individuals with a significant following and engagement within their specific industry or niche, you must take into account the quality of their audience as well. An ideal influencer might have a large following, but low engagement or credibility. You can’t always trust that the people who follow them are real, and not ghost accounts, fake profiles, or bots. Engagement rates are one way to ensure an influencer actually has the dedicated following that you need.
Next, it’s important to ensure the influencers you work with genuinely align with your brand values so that their endorsements are genuine and transparent. Analyze their content to determine the topics their audiences are interested in and look at past collaborations to assess how successful they were. Buyers will recognize a forced collaboration from a mile away. Once you lose credibility, it’s nearly impossible to get it back.
Once potential influencers are identified, focus on building authentic relationships with them. This involves engaging with their content, sharing their posts, and providing valuable insights and contributions to their discussions. Establishing genuine connections ahead of the collaboration lays the foundation for more genuine and successful influencer partnerships.
Develop and Activate a Strategic Campaign
A well-defined and strategic influencer marketing campaign is essential for success. You must set clear goals and objectives and provide them with specific guidelines that establish opportunities for creative freedom. It’s important to not be overly prescriptive or controlling when working with an influencer. Keep in mind that all influencer campaigns go both ways; they are looking to increase credibility and expand their audience too. Collaboration and open communication between the influencers and you are key to creating impactful and engaging content that resonates with your target audience.
Next, determine which platforms suit your goals and audience preferences. Does your influencer have a good story to tell? If so, you might want to leverage that to educate your audience through white papers, blogs, or podcast interviews. Hosting more than 930 million global professional members and over 59 million companies, LinkedIn is a B2B marketing powerhouse and a core pillar in an effective ABM strategy. The company recently launched Thought Leader Ads which allow you to promote authentic content from real employees to generate brand trust or share unique perspectives from your execs, industry experts, or top talent to stand out from competitors. Running your B2B influencer campaign through LinkedIn allows you to make it a more seamless part of a unified multi-channel ABM strategy.
While the collaboration is running, be present and active on their channels. Maintaining authenticity and transparency is key. Clearly communicating the relationship between your brand and the influencer is essential for building buyer trust. Amplify the campaign by resharing and cross-posting the content on all of your brand’s social channels, and repurpose the content they create throughout your ABM strategy.
Measure Campaign Effectiveness and ROI
Measuring the effectiveness of influencer marketing campaigns can be complex but is essential for evaluating the impact and return on investment (ROI). You want to know how your influencers are performing, how your audience is responding, and how your campaigns are impacting your bottom line.
Make sure to define specific goals and metrics for your campaigns, such as lead generation, website traffic, or conversions. Influencers often provide a general set of analytics, but it’s always worth stating exactly which metrics you want to see from the outset. In addition to monitoring metrics like impressions, open rates, website traffic, and downloads, focus on data points that help drive improvements over time. This could be the changes in pipeline volume, velocity, and the measurable value an account provides. These insights provide a better understanding of whether your efforts are moving the needle and identify areas to optimize and adjust your approach.
The Bottom Line
B2B influencer marketing has emerged as a powerful strategy to enhance brand awareness and credibility. By collaborating with influential thought leaders and industry experts, you can leverage their expertise and reach to effectively connect with your shared target audience. Implementing a well-defined influencer marketing strategy, nurturing authentic relationships, and measuring campaign effectiveness is key to driving success in the digital era of B2B marketing. Embracing the power of influencer marketing can unlock new opportunities and drive growth in the competitive B2B landscape.
Remember, B2B influencer marketing is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and you must tailor your strategies to align with your specific goals, target audience, and industry. By consistently evaluating and refining your influencer marketing efforts, you can stay ahead of the curve and maximize the impact of your campaigns. What are you waiting for? Embrace the power of influencer marketing and drive success in the evolving B2B marketing landscape today.