Influencer marketing has exploded over the last three years. More and more brands are teaming up with social media content creators who have built up substantial followings. We see it often with B2C brands, but do influencers fit into the B2B space?
As a firm with many clients in industries like finance, government, infrastructure, nonprofit and other B2B sectors, I find that many of them are not quick to jump on the influencer train, and understandably so.
It can be hard to visualize influencers’ role in the B2B arena when we’re used to thinking of influencers as only pop culture icons like Youtube makeup artists, fashion bloggers, or, more recently, TikTok dancers.
But the bottom line is, B2B influencers are extremely effective. For every dollar spent on influencer campaigns, brands saw an $18 return, according to Influencer Marketing Hubs Report.
The key is identifying your target audience and then tracing where they are consuming content. We even like to create “personas” to help better define and understand the audience’s voice and interests.
The list could go on and on, but the key is thinking creatively to meet your audience where they already are. (Now creating innovative content to serve these audiences is a whole other conversation we can have later!)
GE’s campaign #GEInstaWalk where 6 influencers were invited to an exclusive R&D facility to stream to 3.5 million followers. Another great example is their campaign which they partnered with Lena Dunham’s digital publication Lenny Letter. The campaign highlighted women in science and tech, targeting the highly-engaged and female-focused audience of the newsletter.
SAP Software Solutions has a team devoted to running and maintaining influencer relationships. In an interview with Association of National Advertisers, Ursula Ringham, head of influencer marketing at SAP said, “for B2B, it is a whole different ballgame with influencer marketing, and it’s really in its infancy. I work with influencers and never ask them to promote our products. I want them to investigate how technology is changing businesses and helping companies make better, informed decisions. The content we create with influencers is a teaser to cut through the noise and lead people to check out what SAP can do for their business.”
Think about the people you follow on social media pages or email newsletters you read or podcasts you listen to, etc. You are part of their sphere of influence.
So maybe in order to see it working for your B2B business, replace the term influencer with partner, spokesperson or endorsement. But remember, it’s just using their influence to meet your target audience and take your online presence to the next level.