Influencer marketing continues to be an effective method companies use to sway an audience towards their product or service, but it gets a little bit tricky with B2B organizations.

The premise of influencer marketing is fairly simple. A company identifies  a person or persons with a large following in a desired target market and pays them to endorse what the company sells or engage in co-marketing activities. Typically, influencers are celebrities and other types of public figures, but celebrities aren’t always a good fit for B2B organizations. They often need people with a certain level of expertise and more specific following made up of their target market.

In B2B marketing, you can’t expect a famous singer or actor to talk about your products and services and sway your target audience into believing in what you do. Selling to a business is much different than selling to a consumer. A lot more goes into their decision making process, and they’ll never buy anything on a whim. These customers take more convincing than anything a celebrity could say or do because your celebrity influencer likely lacks the industry resume to give them credibility.  

Instead, B2B organizations need someone who has the right background in your industry to make your target audience stop and listen to them. They need to have credibility and prominence in your industry to command that respect. If people in your industry tend to listen to what this person says, that’s a great influencer to have on your team. 

How To Pick The Right Influencer

When looking for the right influencer, don’t just count how many followers they have. That’s a big mistake that a lot of people make. Instead, you should look at their digital engagement. When they post something specific to your industry, does it get a lot of engagement? Are people conversing with the person in their comments? Are these people working in your industry and finding the potential influencer insightful and informative?

It’s also good if this person has other platforms outside of social media. Do they have a podcast that does fairly well? Do they speak at conferences or other events and how do they do when it comes to public speaking? Do they have a blog that’s worth reading? Do they get quoted by industry publications?

These are all factors that should come into play when picking your influencer.

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Micro-influencers

A micro-influencer is the same thing as an influencer except (you guessed it) they have a smaller platform and a smaller following.

The advantage of a micro-influencer is that they’re more affordable to hire as your influencer, but they can be better to work with because they have a closer relationship with their following. It’s easier to get a back-and-forth conversion with someone on social media who has 7,000 followers than it is with someone who has 7 million followers.

Any organization can use their own employees as micro-influencers by having them promote content and initiatives on industry topics in order to drive engagement. Getting employees to do this as part of an employee advocacy program is not difficult, and it’s something employees want to take part in. Using your employees as micro-influencers is also a way for you to get the attention of larger influencers in your industry by having your employees promote and engage with content and posts of large influencers you’re targeting.

Once You’ve Found Your Influencer

After choosing your influencer or micro-influencer and partnering with them to promote your initiatives, it’s important to not get involved too much and let them be who they are.

A big mistake some people make is they try to script out exactly what they want an influencer to say to promote a product or service. The reason this person got to the position they’re at is because they know how to speak to their audience. If you tell them what you want them to promote and what the highlights of your products or services are, they will know how to articulate that in a way that resonates with their following.

It’s also important to keep a good relationship with your influencer. Don’t just pay them for a one-time service and have them be on their way. This person should be considered a partner now, and someone you can work with in the future. You should keep in touch with them and keep them involved with your company.

Influencer marketing is very effective in B2B environments if you do it the right way. It can be a little more complicated to execute than it is for B2C companies, but that shouldn’t scare you away from doing it. Just follow the checklist and make sure you cover your bases for finding the right influencer for your organization.

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