Don’t be affected by the backlash against influencers if you work with B2B marketing, where there is still a lot of potential and much interest
Two clear trends have emerged in influencer marketing inrecent times:
Investments continue to rise substantially, while there is an increasingly strong backlash towards working with influencers. The negativity takes on several expressions – the value of influencer marketing is questioned, there is repeated criticism of poor or non-existent advertising tagging, and not least the metrics that are delivered are discussed – they are correct and can be put to a real value. One dimension of the last question is also fake followers, how much of the total follower group do they make up?
At the same time, there is a greater suspicion among many influencers marketers – a little contradictory because more money is spent on it than before.
And this is why I want to address something that may seem obvious but that is very important to remember: There is a big difference between influencer marketing in B2C and B2B. Working with influencers is much more widespread in B2C, the goals look different, much larger sums are invested, and all in all, this means that the biggest problems are there. Not in B2B.
Influencer marketing in B2B is significantly smaller, has other goals and is nowhere near having the same problems. Instead, there are still great opportunities for B2B companies if they start working with influencers.
According to a recent survey, “only” 31% of marketers surveyed were using influencer marketing, while for B2C the figure was almost 70%.
At the same time, B2B marketers face the same challenges as their consumer marketing colleagues – trying to reach and influence their target groups, which are exposed to a multitude of messages.
And the influencers can play a significant role.
What is B2B influencer marketing?
The work with influencers in B2B is largely about creating and developing trust and building a position as a good source of valuable knowledge. Not unlike B2B content marketing in other words. What influencers add in this context is always their own expertise and often their own platforms.
According to a survey by Demand Gen, 95% of surveyed B2B buyers prefer “credible content from industry influencers”, and this is where the key to why influencer marketing is so important for B2B companies. It is one of the best ways to actually reach the target audience and turn them into buyers.
Who is an influencer in B2B?
Much of the backlash around influencers comes from the ones that we mainly think of when we hear the term – celebrities or people who have built a presence as influencers around their lifestyles. To some extent, the frustration about them can certainly be explained by the fact that many people see what they do as being rude.
But influencers in B2B are in a completely different context. They are often experts in their fields, their opinions are in demand and many times they have a role as speaker and participant in large conferences. Whether they work for a specific company or are independent, they have a well-established and respected role in their industry. Many have probably had it for many years, long before we started thinking of them as influencers.
Another type of influencer that is valuable in B2B are those who can contribute with very concrete experience in an area. They can be anything from business leaders to intrapreneurs to new technology.
As you can see, this is a different approach to the concept of influencer than we usually think of.
Long-term, joint collaborations
Not only is there a big difference between B2B and B2C in terms of who the influencer is, but also the way to collaborate. In B2C, the influencer often has a clear business model that is based on the brand buying a certain visibility in the channels they are in.
Although many influencers in B2B have a large presence in social media, for example, the opportunities to collaborate in different forms and over the longer term are often much greater. And sometimes the company that initiates the collaboration must also be responsible for a large part of the dissemination work.
All in all, this means significantly more opportunities for companies to utilize the knowledge and confidence of influencers in activities, whether they are primarily aimed at brand building or to guide the target group towards an end.
Take a closer look at Influencer marketing
If you work with B2B marketing and you do not collaborate with influencers today, I recommend you analyze the opportunities that exist. And, above all, not to let the challenges of influencers in B2C affect their views on how useful it is.
B2B influencer marketing is still in its infancy, and there are great opportunities for companies starting to use it.