Influencer marketing has long been a staple in the B2C marketplace. However, many experts believe that it will soon rise in the B2B marketplace as well. As thought leaders in influential markets begin to grow social media followings, they will be able to use inbound marketing techniques like podcasts and live streaming in the same way that commercial companies do.
The audience is definitely there for these techniques. Livestream recently reported that 81% of Internet users watched more content in 2016 than in 2015. Convince and Convert reports a 14% increase in the number of podcast viewers year over year. Because of stats like these, savvy B2B marketers are looking to move into influencer marketing in a big way.
There is still a huge amount of potential in B2B influencer campaigns even as the current generation of campaigns rises in competition. Most companies still do not think of influencer marketing when they look to marketing, so the technique has plenty of room to grow. Savvy companies are already pitching social media influencers to work with them. Although the market is still the Wild West, there are a few techniques that have been tested.
Using Publishers as Influencers
Because business in some markets hinges on the latest news in that industry, publishers hold a great deal of power as social media influencers. Companies are finding great success through partnerships with publishers for content or full-on promo campaigns. Publishers often have more staff focused on running a blog or maintaining a social media presence. They have the potential for much more than the traditional banner ads – you can move forward into social media posts, branded content, and even sponsored reviews.
Sites like the Wall Street Journal and Business Insider have already created portals for partners.
Well Known Speakers and Authors
If you can hook up with an author or speaker who is self-employed, there will be no limits to the collaborations they can take on. You can offer these people visibility and viability in exchange for the collaboration. You may be able to reduce the price you pay, although your visibility will usually not be enough on its own to warrant free promo services. However, you never know. Experiment with authors and speakers with larger or smaller audiences to find your sweet spot.
Types of Campaigns
Virtually any marketing campaign can be bolstered with an influencer campaign. Awareness campaigns, online reviews and presentations are just a few of the ways that you can collaborate with social influencers. For instance:
– If you are trying to use social media to promote a new product, have your influencers post about the product instead of trying to drive traffic through your brand to your brand. Make sure that you research the FTC guidelines on sponsored content.
– Create long form content with a well known influencer or blogger. Your target audience will come to learn from the white papers or webinars that your influencer creates, and you will get leads and exposure from your sponsorship.
– Send influencers to cover industry events for you. They will be able to take photos, videos, and blog about the event while judiciously mentioning your business as they go. If you have the ability to give people press passes, all the better. Those are like gold to the social influencer.