Guest post by Scarlett Finley.
Social media influencers are no longer merely the darlings of consumer-focused marketing campaigns. Today, they have transcended those glittering confines and entered the lofty corridors of the B2B realm, bestowing their unique brand of persuasive charm on industry segments that have traditionally taken a more reserved marketing approach.
Influencer marketing in B2B is all about forming meaningful and often long-term relationships with industry thought leaders and leveraging their expertise and credibility to champion your brand’s message. But how do you go about creating and managing such partnerships?
This post provides practical guidance on how to integrate B2B influencer marketing into your overall strategy and how you can forge successful influencer collaborations to amplify your B2B marketing messages.
Nail the Perfect Match – Pick Influencers Who Mean Business
In the wild and vibrant world of influencer marketing, where selfie-loving fashionistas and smoothie-bowl connoisseurs reign supreme, the B2B environment demands a different kind of star power. Here, the influencers are not merely social media sensations but bona fide experts who have earned their stripes in the industry.
So, when choosing your influencer squad, don’t be misdirected by follower counts or the promise of a large-scale reach. Look for thought leaders with deep expertise in your industry and whose wisdom can make even the most skeptical CEO pause for thought. That’s when you know you’ve hit the bullseye.
Craft an Irresistible Offer – Woo Them with a Great Deal
Once you’ve pinpointed your industry experts, it’s time to make them a compelling offer. These are not your average Instagrammers who’ll peddle teeth-whitening kits for a few bucks. You’re dealing with esteemed professionals who value their time and reputation.
Polish your pitch until it’s solid, and highlight the unique value your collaboration brings. Ensure they understand that this is a partnership of equals in which both sides benefit, and neither takes the other for granted.
The Cisco Champions campaign is an excellent example of how to do this right. Top experts from the IT industry were brought together to appear on the company’s podcasts, radio shows, and videos.
The selected experts also received benefits such as early access to new products and specialized training to help them maximize their cooperation. You can take a page out of Cisco’s playbook and create something similarly compelling.
Plan Your Project’s Scope – Set the Stage for Success
Influencer marketing isn’t a spontaneous performance. It’s a carefully choreographed production. Just like a detailed development management plan, you need to map out every scene and cue in your influencer project.
Define your goals, know your target audience, and envision the grand finale you want to achieve. Specify the exact timeline of each step in collaboration with milestones that must be hit along the way. Nail down the budgetary limits, the creative boundaries, and the parameters of each post. Then, note down all these details in a comprehensive scope document that you can easily refer to during the project’s life.
By planning out the scope from the outset, you’ll avoid last-minute surprises, ensure a productive collaboration, and increase the likelihood of achieving your desired results.
Level Up Your File Management – Ditch the Chaos, Embrace the Order
The dreaded file management and organization side of influencer marketing can become a time-consuming vortex that can devour your productivity if left unchecked. To ensure you don’t fall into the abyss of endless emails and chaotic spreadsheets, invest in an effective filing system that can coordinate your influencer contracts, brand guidelines, creative assets, and campaign analytics into one tidy digital location.
An up-to-date and organized filing system will save you hours of fruitless searching for that “one document” when it’s crunch time and help you keep tabs on all your influencer activity in one place. Plus, this enables you to quickly review past collaborations and refer to them to help enhance your future influencer marketing benefits and endeavors.
Employ Workflow Automation – Let Technology Do the Heavy Lifting
Behind the glossy Instagram posts and compelling content pieces lies a complex infrastructure of collaboration and coordination. To stay on top of your influencer marketing program without losing your sanity, you need to arm yourself with a powerful workflow automation system. Such tools will allow you to shepherd your influencer campaigns from start to finish without having to manage each step manually.
With the power of automation, you can bid farewell to mind-numbing tasks like sending outreach emails, scheduling content, and generating reports. Now, you can devote your precious time and energy to the more strategic parts of the project, like brainstorming creative ideas or plotting your next marketing triumph.
Of course, you’ll have to assess your specific needs before zeroing in on the right automation tool. Research and find a solution that seamlessly integrates with your existing tech stack. And don’t worry if coding isn’t your thing. There are plenty of user-friendly, no-code automation solutions on the market that are perfect for managing the day-to-day operations of your influencer program.
Build Authentic Relationships – Don’t Just Make It About the Money
It’s easy to get caught up in the allure of quick wins and flashy collaborations. But remember, true success lies in building authentic, long-lasting relationships with your thought leaders. Don’t treat them as mere marketing assets; treat them as partners.
Take the time to understand their goals, values, and aspirations. Nurture these relationships beyond the confines of a campaign. Share valuable industry insights, connect them with relevant contacts, or invite them to exclusive events. When you invest in building genuine connections, your influencers will become brand advocates who genuinely believe in your mission.
Just look at Okta, the identity management and security provider that’s nailed this art of relationship building. They understand that businesses trust the opinions of other big names in the same space or industry. So, they transform their high-profile customers into B2B influencers, spotlighting their success stories.
Their video testimonials, for example, feature heavy hitters like News Corp and T-Mobile, highlighting the impact of Okta’s solutions from their perspectives. These videos aren’t just fluff; they’re filled with powerful figures and real-life examples of Okta’s game-changing prowess. You can sense the genuine enthusiasm and appreciation for the company’s services in each one.
So, as you embark on your influencer marketing journey, remember that it’s not all about the money. It’s about building meaningful relationships that will stand the test of time.
Making the Most of B2B Influencer Marketing
The challenges of B2B influencer marketing are complex, but it holds the potential to yield great rewards. By understanding the nuances of your target audience, handpicking the top tier of influencers, and tapping into their knowledge and reach, you can create campaigns that are sure to ignite interest and attract the right kind of attention. With a firm grasp of the fundamentals and an open-minded attitude, there’s no telling what kind of impact your B2B influencer marketing campaigns will have.
Scarlett Finley is a business-savvy affiliate marketing specialist with a wealth of experience in high-growth software companies. She excels at consulting businesses on how to leverage SAAS tools to achieve their growth objectives. In her spare time, she loves exploring the Scottish Highlands and training for her next tough-mudder challenge.