A growing number of brands are shifting their budgets to influencer marketing. In 2016, influencer marketing accounted for less than $2 billion in advertising budgets. As of 2022, the industry was estimated to be worth over $16 billion! Influencer marketing has obvious benefits for consumer brands. In B2B companies, however, and particularly in highly technical companies, it has historically been less accepted as a vital marketing tool. Even so, Hubspot identified it as a key marketing trend for B2B organizations in 2022.
How should B2B organizations approach influencer marketing? As a first step, it’s critical to accept that social media is a paid activity that can propel brand awareness. In 2016, SAP promoted its Sapphire event using live video chats with influencers. The Cisco Champion program is another example of fostering relationships with IT influencers. Initially, this campaign ran on Twitter and expanded to other channels with various assets including unplugged videos.
The purpose of influencer campaigns is to build trust through genuine long-term relationships as opposed to the transactional nature of digital advertising and it is possible for them to generate a much greater ROI than digital ads when executed well. That said, In light of rising advertising costs and the demise of third-party cookies, B2B organizations should explore influencer marketing.
It is critical to remember one caveat: Think creator rather than influencer. For B2B brands, it’s about gaining the trust of a creator to reach your audience and build a genuine connection between brand, creator, and community.
7 TIPS TO SUCCESSFULLY PARTNER WITH CREATORS
Over time, we have learned a few things about what makes creator campaigns successful and what pitfalls to avoid. Here are some ways to maximize impact:
SEEK RESOURCES TO INVEST
It’s likely to be difficult to put together an effective program without enough time, money, and products. Remember that this idea applies to almost every marketing approach. It is critical for B2B organizations at the outset of their creation journey to invest sufficient money. If the program is too limited, there will be insufficient data to measure the impact.
DO NOT SPRAY AND PRAY
Test your strategies before implementing them. A tailored strategy is essential, and what you believe to be a winning creator campaign may turn out to be a bit of a surprise, so explore different options. There can be moments when the findings have surprised us during the testing phase, but we should be able to tweak the program to make it resonate before committing major expenditure. This level of adaptability is crucial.
Businesses require a distinct brand identity in order to maintain a loyal following in an era where consumers have several options. The most successful brands employ creativity to create a long-lasting and positive perception of their brand even when partnering with influencers or creators.
According to a Nielsen survey, 60% of consumers prefer to buy products from brands they recognize. Essentially, if you can create a distinct identity that people remember favorably, more of them will buy what you’re selling.
Creativity, by definition, is about originality, so don’t be scared to think outside the box with your campaigns you launch alongside influencers. Playing it safe may seem comfortable and result in minor success, but it is likely that your company might be forgotten in the mind of consumers.
IT’S MORE THAN JUST BUSINESS
Don’t think about creator marketing as just a transaction. Accept that it is about developing genuine and long-term relationships between the brand, creative, and community. A compensated endorser is not a creator. Make certain that everyone understands the incentive structure. Another approach is to allow the creator to set the tone. They have built a relationship with their audience by using their voice. Avoid trying to script the content if you want to tap into this authenticity of the creative you are working with.
TRACK AND EVALUATE THE CAMPAIGN ON A CONSTANT BASIS.
You should track and assess your channels and material on a regular basis, just like any other strategy. To determine ROI, you could examine engagement KPIs such as cost per lead. Evaluating each ad provides useful information about what the audience perceives to be a compelling offer or content.
QUALITY Over QUANTITY
Finding influencers with large communities can help consumer companies increase recognition, engagement, and sales. Micro creators, on the other hand, might be significantly more beneficial to B2B firms, but they are far more difficult to find. A micro creator is someone who has a very relevant community that directly overlaps with your target audience. So, assess creators based on the quality of their community instead of its size.
NEITHER SKIP NOR RUSH THE RESEARCH PROCESS
Finding relevant contacts can make or break a company’s initiative. It is therefore critical to conduct research and select the most suitable experts to collaborate with. One size does not fit all, and you should expect this to be a lengthy process. There are numerous tools available to help with the process, but it is still necessary to dig through the data to locate the creators with the most value for your brand and sector. Ensure you don’t rush this, as it’s the key to amplifying your brands’ impact.
Influencer marketing has revolutionized the way that brands communicate with their consumers, allowing them to reach niche and targeted audiences with their products. In contrast, B2B companies are only beginning to recognize the potential of the creator economy and actively engage with influencers. At its core, a successful B2B creator strategy is about building relationships with influential individuals who can drive engagement with the content, events, and conversations they create. CMOs who aren’t thinking about engaging with creators run the risk of irrelevancy. Influencer (or creator) marketing is a productive and cost-effective strategy that can deliver lasting brand impact, and maximize your lead generation. It is imperative that every B2B organization develops a dedicated creator program as part of their marketing mix.