22nd November 2023

The rise of influencer marketing in B2B

Liam Gray
Senior Content Writer
The rise of influencer marketing in B2B

How brands are harnessing the power of B2B influencer marketing and digital creators to reach their target audience

In the past decade, the landscape of B2B influencer marketing has undergone a significant transformation. Gone are the days when influencers were limited to high-profile celebrities. Today, social media influencers are everywhere, operating in an incredibly saturated market. 

But despite the saturation, these influencers have managed to build tight-knit communities that command a lot of respect and trust. And when an influencer promotes a product, you’ll see countless devoted followers frantically rushing out to buy it. 

In the B2B space, thought leaders like Neil Patel, management experts like Jeff Weiner, and Salesforce heavyweights like Ben McCarthy all command a sizeable following thanks to their willingness to share their experiences, best practice guidance, creative inspiration, and everything in between. 

And today, more and more B2B brands are reaching out to these social media stars and collaborating on content campaigns, promotions, or sponsorships. But this begs the question: Is working with digital creators and influencers a no-brainer or should your brand steer clear? Let’s delve into the world of influencer marketing and find out.

What is influencer marketing? 

Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that involves collaborating with influential individuals on social media platforms — to promote a brand, product, or service to their followers. 

Back in the day, this mostly took the form of celebrity endorsements. But in an age of social media, many brands find value partnering with smaller content creators that have a closer, more engaged fanbase. 

These individuals usually have a significant following and are seen as experts or trendsetters in their respective niches. By leveraging their influence, brands can tap into their audience and gain exposure to a wider range of customers. 

When it comes to influencers, there are three main types to consider.

1. Macro influencers

These are the people who sit near the top, commanding a sizeable following in the hundreds of thousands or even millions. As such, macro influencers are typically celebrities, athletes, thought-leaders, or well-known media personalities. 

While these influencers have the greatest reach, they often have less of a personal connection with their fanbase, and are considerably more expensive to work with than smaller platform creators. 

However, when chosen wisely, the right partnership can provide a pretty decent bump in visibility and awareness, and get your brand in front of new customers from lots of different segments and markets. 

Some notable influencers include: 

2. Micro-influencers 

Micro-influencers have a smaller but highly engaged following, usually in the range of a few thousand to tens of thousands. 

One of the main advantages of working with micro-influencers is that they typically boast higher engagement rates than macro-influencers. This means their followers are more likely to like, comment, share, and trust their recommendations. 

As an added bonus, micro-influencers are also more relatable, affordable, and accessible than macro-influencers, and will be more open to collaborations and partnerships as a result. 

Some notable influencers include: 

3. Nano-influencers

Lastly, we’ve got nano-influencers. They’re the new kids on the block, and the latest addition to the influencer marketing scene. 

With a following of less than 10,000, they have an incredibly niche audience, but often hold weight and influence in their local community. Overall, they’re known for their authenticity and expertise in very specific areas.

Some notable influencers include: 

Should B2B brands consider using influencers?

Let’s take a look at the numbers. 

More than a passing trend — Research suggests that 89% of marketers partnering with influencers will maintain or increase their investment this year. This indicates that influencer marketing isn’t just a flash in the pan, but a strategy that’s here to stay. 

Better, higher quality leads — 72% of marketers say that customers acquired from influencer marketing campaigns are of higher quality than those acquired through other types of campaigns. It’s no surprise. When your brand influencer resembles your target audience, you’ll naturally attract people who are genuinely interested in what you’re selling.

A trustworthy voice —  61% of consumers trust influencers’ recommendations — a sizeable chunk

more than the 38% who trust branded (and let’s face it, slightly biased) social media content. The opportunity is there. If you can seek out and collaborate with the influencers your customers follow, you’ll stand to raise brand awareness and get your product in front of the people who align with your brand. 

Size does matter — While macro-influencers may have a larger following, micro-influencers typically generate up to 60% more engagement, which is worth keeping in mind when choosing who you want to represent you. 

How to develop your own influencer marketing strategy

  1. Define your budget and expectations

Influencer fees can vary greatly, so it’s important to clearly communicate your expectations from the start. That way, you can allocate a budget that fits in with your existing marketing goals and ensure you don’t overstep your reach. 

  1. Set clear goals

Next, you need to decide on your campaign goals. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive sales, or promote a specific product? Defining your goals will help you measure the success of your campaign and determine the metrics to focus on. 

  1. Find the right person for your brand and reach out to them

It’s important to do your homework and choose an influencer that not only aligns with your brand, but also has an engaged and relevant audience to tap into. 

Once you’ve identified an influencer that’s a good fit — give them a follow, engage with their content, and start building a relationship. A direct message on social media may be enough to kickstart a conversation with a smaller influencer. But for a larger one, it’s worth preparing a more formal pitch and reaching out via email. 

  1. Focus on the right metrics

Speaking of metrics, it’s crucial to avoid focusing on the wrong ones. Vanity metrics like follower count, likes, and even comments can be misleading. These metrics may appear impressive and desirable, but they reveal little in the way of tangible evidence to inform your future strategies. 

So, is it worth it?

Even though influencer marketing has been stereotyped as a consumer tool, it’s clear that when used correctly, B2B brands can benefit from the value an authentic partnership provides. 

By carefully selecting the right influencers and setting clear goals, brands can leverage the trust and influence of these digital creators to achieve their marketing objectives. So, if you’re a B2B tech marketer or a CMO, it’s time to embrace the power of influencer marketing and tap into the vast potential it offers. 

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