Nearly four out of five B2B marketers believe influencer marketing will grow in importance in the next year. But only half integrate their influencer marketing efforts with their SEO programs, or use influencer marketing tools to identify industry influencers.
Those are among the findings in the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, just published by the team at TopRank Marketing.
“Over the past five years, many marketers have realized that partnering with trusted industry experts to co-create content provides the king of marketing experience that drives engagement, brand credibility, and marketing performance,” writes Lee Odden, TopRank CEO.
That’s unquestionably true, as marketers who’ve embraced best practices in B2B influencer marketing have achieved remarkable results in terms of increased website traffic, online visibility, and brand awareness.
B2B influencer marketing—which relies heavily on blogging, LinkedIn, and Twitter—is much different from B2C programs, often centered around platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
The report notes those differences, as well as the importance of consistency: marketers who implement “always on” influencer programs are 12 times more likely to be successful with their efforts that those who rely on periodic campaigns.
Among other key findings from the report:
- An astounding 90% of B2B marketers expect their influencer marketing budgets to hold steady or increase in the coming year.
- The top measurable benefit from influencer marketing is increased brand awareness, cited by 84% of respondents. Another 58% said it helps improve brand reputation, and 32% cited brand advocacy as a benefit.
- How do influencers create value for brands? 78% of marketers credit them for increased social reach, while 64% say they help increase the credibility of brand content, and 62% believe they help increase share of voice.
- The most important criteria when selecting influencers are, not surprisingly, relevance of audience and subject matter expertise. Among the least important factors are audience size and professional credentials.
- Though influencer marketing is not primarily about lead generation, 69% of respondents in this survey said it helps with that objective.