There’s no denying that B2B companies have some catching up to do when it comes to influencer marketing. B2C brands already use bloggers specifically for themselves and thus build up reach and also strengthen the relationship with their target group in general. Many Business2Business brands, on the other hand, are not even represented in social media or rely on outdated strategies.
While cooperation with bloggers is now an integral part of the marketing mix for many companies, the topic of influencer relations in the B2B sector is still in its infancy. Important here: What works for B2C does not necessarily apply to B2B. The following blog post shows who brands should rely on here, what should be considered in principle and which measures make sense:
Quality instead of quantity: Relevance is more important than reach
Even if “more is more” does not always apply in the B2C sector, many brands still like to focus on a large reach when making their selection. Always in the hope of not getting lost in the multitude of advertised products. What may well lead to an increase in sales figures here, however, does not apply at all to B2B. Brands that look for established expertise and a lasting relationship are well advised. After all, just because someone knows a piece of software, for example, doesn’t mean they can successfully talk about it. Ideally, companies should make sure that the influencer they are considering is recognized as a major player in the industry.
Austrian plant manufacturer Andritz AG has done everything right here. Based on defined B2B personas, the company defined various target groups that are suitable as influencers. These were then provided with useful, high-quality content. The goal: to inspire the people with enthusiasm for the plant manufacturer and its content, so that they positively portray it in their networks of their own accord. The aim was by no means to achieve a large reach, but rather to create a genuine community that would subsequently be carried away. The campaign not only strengthened brand awareness, but above all established the brand and its solutions in new markets.
From CEOs to clientele: who comes into question here
Thought leaders, speakers, authors and analysts from the industry are therefore particularly suitable for B2B. This is what happened with the technology group Voith, which among other things sells technical equipment for hydropower plants. The objective of the campaign was to attract more attention to the topic of hydropower. For this purpose, the company traveled with several energy experts to unusual power stations in Europe. The brand successfully communicated this tour and its wide range of products and services across all channels.
For brands that don’t want to spend a lot of time searching, it’s worth taking a look around their own company. The best experts are often found internally. After all, hardly anyone knows as much as the company’s own employees, partners or customers, and the CEO himself or herself. In addition, the latter often have a well-developed network of potential new customers with whom relevant content can be shared. The recommendation of one’s own employees is probably much more credible than that of an expensively purchased blogger. Brands would therefore do well to take a look at the interaction rate rather than the reach of their own employees. And to actively involve them in brand communication. Of course, as with many other aspects in a company, the boss is a good role model.
Away from giveaways and the like: Measures in B2B influencer communication
There are many ways to cooperate with influencers. Content can be shared and a product review or an entire article can be written. But a cooperation for an ePaper with a company is also conceivable. Brands that want to invest a little more work in turn rely on a joint seminar or webinar or podcast. GE, for example, relied on content instead of goodies in its recruiting campaign for more women in the tech sector. The highlight of the week-long content sprint on Lenny Letter was again an interview with Lena Dunham, the creative mind behind the platform, and GE’s Vice Chairwoman Beth Comstock. So, as much as your own clientele likes getting codes and giveaways, valuable content is more likely to count when it comes to B2B influencer marketing, since giving away the real product often doesn’t pay off.
However, it’s important to note that anyone hoping for quick sales will often be disappointed. While a makeup artist on Instagram might sell a few hundred palettes with a video, B2B customers are by no means so quickly convinced by a product. Influencer marketing only plays a certain role in the final purchase decision and is therefore only part of the customer journey! It is therefore important for companies – especially in the B2B sector – to use all channels for themselves and to play them meaningfully, but above all smoothly, for the target group.