Remember when those who had the most influence on mainstream popular culture were usually famous celebrities such as actors, athletes and musicians?
Fast forward to now, and it no longer takes Michael Jordan posing on a Wheaties box to convince children across the world that a certain type of cereal will transform them into elite athletes. Thanks to the significant global impact of social media over the past ten years, some of the biggest authorities on trends are the appropriately named “influencers.” For business owners, this could mean taking another look at your marketing strategy and deciding if influencer marketing is an effective way to reach your target audience.
Why is influencer marketing different for B2B?
Influencer marketing is considered to have a more significant impact on B2B companies over B2C companies for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that the average purchase amount in B2B is typically far larger than that of B2C. Additionally, a study conducted by Convince and Convert found that while 19 percent of the overall U.S. economy (B2B and B2C) is driven specifically by word of mouth, 91 percent of B2B transactions are at least influenced by word of mouth. That’s a huge influence and substantial amount of revenue!
If you’re B2B company is ready to expand its customer base, let’s explore how B2B influencer marketing can be done effectively to boost your company’s ROI.
Conduct research to find the right influencer
Finding the right influencer that can appropriately showcase your company’s products and services is crucial to successful influencer marketing. Obviously, if your business sells a variety of meat products, your top choice for an influencer for your brand would not be someone who goes by the moniker “Vegan 4Ever.” When looking for the ideal influencer to represent your brand, a great place to begin is to search for people that are already supporting your company. This can involve going through the followers on your company’s social platforms to see if any of them have a large fan base, or quickly researching your business on the Internet to see if it has been mentioned by any popular bloggers. Also take note of employees within your company. They should already be big fans and if they have a respectable amount of fans on social media they could be a perfect, reliable influencer to effectively represent your brand’s voice and values.
Don’t forget to research your target audience
Just as it’s important to research potential influencers for your brand, it is also important to make sure you understand the type of influencer who would connect with your target demographic. Find out what brands and influencers your social media followers are following, liking and engaging with on social media. If necessary, conduct a B2B buyer persona that details exactly what your audience enjoys and searches for in a brand. Even if a popular influencer uses your products or services, if they have other interests or a certain energy that could be off-putting to your current customers, they won’t be worth the investment.
Know your budget
As with any new marketing tactic, understanding how influencer marketing plays into your budget is an important factor in finding the perfect influencer for your company. Keep in mind that every influencer has their own price, which is usually dictated by factors such as their number of followers and engagement rate. Influencers can be broken down into the following levels:
- Mega-Influencers: Over a million followers, often celebrities, usually paid 4 to 6 figures per post, less than 1% engagement rate.
- Macro-Influencers: 10K to 1M followers, usually paid 3 to 5 figures per post, 2% engagement rate.
- Micro-Influencers: 1K to 10K followers, usually paid 2 to 3 figures per post, 3-4% engagement rate.
- Local influencers: 0 to 1K followers, followers are friends and family, do not usually get paid, engagement rate varies.
These levels determine the cost of having the influencer promote your business. Remember that it’s not always beneficial to choose the influencer with the most followers, especially if they could monopolize your budget. Also, if your business is part of a niche industry, chances are high that the top influencers for your business will have fewer followers. Review your B2B buyer persona to see if your target audience likes to have a lot of interaction with brands. If they do, it is more advantageous to select an influencer with fewer followers but a higher engagement rate (which will probably be less expensive as well), than to choose a mega-influencer who will rarely communicate directly with customers.
Go beyond social media
While much focus of influencer marketing is placed on the number of followers an influencer has on social media, great influencers for your company can be found in other areas as well. Incredibly influential people can be found in the form of authors, speakers, thinkers, podcasters, researchers and more. If you find a potential representative that has high visibility but may not have a large social media following, consider creating short videos or guest blog features that your business can place on its website or social media platforms. Influencer marketing is all about being creative, so don’t be afraid to step out of the box – it could have a positive impact on your business in the long run!