If talk of influencer marketing brings to your mind MrBeast (Jimmy Donaldson), KSI (Olajide Olatunji), Alex Cooper, or The Chess Champs (the Botez Sisters), we applaud your current cultural awareness, but influencer marketing has value for the B2B industry, just as it does in the B2C world.
“The key benefits of using influencers for B2B marketing is the ability to reach an already engaged and targeted audience,” according to Forbes. “Influencers often have a niche audience that is interested in a specific industry or product, which allows B2B businesses to reach potential customers who are more likely to be interested in their products or services. Additionally, influencers can help build trust and credibility for B2B businesses, as many consumers trust and value influencers’ opinions.
Today, valued opinions come from a breed of B2B influencers who include bloggers, forum moderators, social media specialists and product reviewers. Influencers can express their thoughts about a given product or service faster and further than ever before.
Because you’re always on the search for effective ways to market your product, brand or service, know that someone your audience views as reputable who’s speaking to the credibility of your products, brand or service can amplify your marketing efforts.
To successfully add influencer marketing ideas to your marketing strategies, bear in mind the following suggestions:
Have a purpose for using an influencer(s) in your marketing plans
Like any element of marketing, doing it just because other people are doing it recalls your grandma’s warning about jumping off a cliff with your friends. Build your influencer marketing efforts because influencer marketing can accomplish something that the other elements of your marketing plan can’t—or don’t as easily.
For example, izea, an influencer marketing software company, discovered in 2020 (before it acquired tapinfluence) the return on investment (ROI) doubles after three months with no extra investment in the influencer campaign. And that’s only exploded in recent years.
“A single piece of influencer content showed a four times ROI after four months and an eye-popping 11 times sales lift over 12 months,” according to izea.
(Go here to see the research from izea on trust-in-influencers.)
That’s great, but only if a company’s purpose for using influencer marketing was to deliver on ROI and build sales. (Insert reminder here that your marketing efforts should never just be to sell stuff. As we’ve said before, too many factors influence that end—factors that marketing can’t control.)
A better purpose for using influencer marketing could be to deepen storytelling around your products, brand or services. If you’re trying to humanize your construction company, having a credible influencer talk through why your company or services matter can be beneficial—and it’s not tied directly to selling stuff. Think of access or engagement as your purpose for using influencer marketing.
“Partnering with influencers will give you access to that audience and desire to engage with products and brands,” according to Forbes. “Influencers give brands access to some people, both business-to-consumer (B2C) and B2B, who normally block ads and do not see your content.”
Find the company’s ideal influencer
The company’s ideal influencer and the persona of the intended audience must align. If you are trying to reach out to a new segment, partner with an influencer who can communicate to your new audience. Before you can settle on an influencer or a micro-influencer, you need to answer a few questions:
- How large is the influencer’s audience?
- How active is the influencer on different social media platforms?
- How relevant are they to your industry?
- What is—and has been—the industry’s response to them?
The above questions help when evaluating how relevant the potential influencer is to your marketing campaign. Looking at the potential influencer’s past partnerships can give you an idea of how successful they are and who they connected with over time.
Given the growth of influencer marketing, multiple tools exist to help you find an effective influencer for your niche. For ideas, start with aggregate sites for guidance, such as ahrefs and influencermarketinghub. You can do the work manually by searching hashtags, browsing locations, such as country or region, browsing the relevant influencers‘ following—or just Google search “your Niche” + Top Influencers + (preferred Social Media Platform).
A list of the top influencers in your industry and sector will appear first. Evaluate the top profiles and peruse suggested accounts, tagged content or relevant hashtags in their posts.
Focus on a specific platform
Your social media strategy will influence the platform you choose. For example, if your main audience is on Pinterest, you will need an influencer with a substantial presence and a large following on Pinterest. Take the time to understand the community attracted by your influencer. It will help you identify if they are a relevant fit for your target audience.
When choosing a platform also consider what your influencer might be assigned in terms of a campaign. The most-common influencer campaigns for building materials include product reviews or launches, seasonal campaigns (spring projects anyone?), how-to guides and events (hello, International Builders’ Show and CONEXPO-CON/AGG). Ideally, your influencers have strengths they can promote, such as credibility in front of a large in-person audience, that fit better in a specific campaign for a specific goal.
Also know that research shows that infographics, multimedia and photos have important roles in the influence game, but they don’t compete with thoughtful and researched text blog posts. Eighty six percent of successful bloggers’ posts are written, as opposed to an image or video, according to dropshipping app for Shopify Oberlo.
Develop the influencer’s campaign goals, analysis framework and metrics
For every marketing campaign, you must have at least one goal. With influencer marketing, your concrete goal must be communicated to your influencer(s). Once you have a goal and share it, you need success metrics to help track performance and analyze the results.
For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, you can measure your success by measuring fan growth, video views and brand recall. Goals for influencer campaigns, in general, focus on generating engagement, reaching new audiences, strengthening social community and promote a brand’s values or reinforce a brand’s position. Yes, some companies focus on driving revenue, but it shouldn’t be the top or only goal. Too many variables marketing can’t control.
Manage expectations by giving content deliverables and requirements
Having identified the best influencer for your niche, you need to think about their content deliverables. The success of the campaign is dependent on the ability of influencers to create valuable content and the frequency they post content to your benefit or on your behalf. You might want the influencers to use certain keywords or hashtags in their post or even product placement. Your expectations must be clear. Document them.
Measure ROI on any influencer marketing efforts
If you cannot measure it, it probably is not worth your time and effort. Results from the campaign should be collected and measured. There are three ways to measure return on investment, they are:
- Product visibility
- Traffic engagement through traffic data to your site and followers.
- Content tracking through clicks, likes, shares, brand mentions and comments.
For any marketing strategy, you need to focus on the purpose and the results. Influencer marketing can prove to be a valuable strategy if you know who your audience is, what you are doing and who you contract.
We’ll leave you with three key points about influencer marketing in the building materials industry:
- Choose influencers who would use your product in their everyday work lives (or hobbies) and have the double Es in your industry: Expertise and Experience.
- The most evergreen content comes from campaigns that deliver content for which consumers or contractors would ordinarily have to pay.
- Speaking of consumers and contractors, remember they are different audiences and rarely have the same pain points. Don’t use an influencer who really holds sway with consumers for contractors and vice versa. You could be wasting your money and their time.
Using influencers allows B2B businesses to reach a targeted and engaged audience who are more likely to be interested in their products or services. Influencers also help build trust and credibility for B2B brands.
Influencer marketing can help B2C brands reach consumers who may block ads and not see their content. It provides access to an audience that desires to engage with products and brands.
The purpose should go beyond just selling products and can include deepening storytelling, humanizing the brand, accessing a specific audience, and increasing engagement with products or services.
Consider the influencer’s audience size, activity on social media platforms, relevance to your industry, and the industry’s response to them. Evaluate their past partnerships and use tools like ahrefs and influencermarketinghub for guidance.
Yes, choose a platform that aligns with your target audience. Understand the community attracted by the influencer and consider the types of campaigns that fit the platform.
Communicate your goals to the influencer and define success metrics based on those goals. Metrics can include fan growth, video views, brand recall, engagement, reaching new audiences, and promoting brand values.
Clearly communicate your content deliverables and requirements to the influencers. Specify keywords, hashtags, and any desired product placement. Document your expectations.
Measure ROI through product visibility, traffic engagement to your site and social media followers, and content tracking such as clicks, likes, shares, brand mentions, and comments.
Choose influencers who have expertise and experience in the industry and would use your product in their everyday work or hobbies. Focus on delivering valuable content that consumers or contractors would typically pay for.