In the B2C world, the Kardashians promote a product one day and sell it the next to customers; in the B2B world this does not happen. And with good reason. 

In B2B influencer marketing, there are more people involved in the decision-making process, and content has to cross several channels before it turns into conversions. In addition, the average purchase size in B2B is far larger than in B2C, which means that purchase decisions often follow more complex rules than consumer purchases. Therefore, conversion takes longer to nurture.

The communication channels of B2B influencers are diverse

While B2C influencer marketing moves almost exclusively on social media, B2B influencer marketing goes further.

B2B influencers can, for example, share their expertise through webinars, webchats, online tutorials, etc. Their content may be carried by industry Web sites and trade press. Or they may be asked to be guests at events or trade shows.

Influencer expertise is key

B2B influencer marketing works only when the influencer is recognized and esteemed for his or her expertise in a given a field. The best influencers are true experts in the field and guarantee by their very name the quality of the information they convey, even when they are talking about a brand.

Long-term relationships

B2B influencer marketing is based on building long-term relationships, both between brand and influencer and between influencer and audience. This helps create authenticity and trust. In contrast, the B2C influencer may work on the short term, focusing on quick results to convince customers to take immediate action.

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Clear benefits

Influencer marketing has been growing in popularity for some time in the B2C world, but has received less attention in B2B marketing. For the more than 300 B2B respondents in a survey published by, the perceived benefits of influencer marketing are clear. 

In fact, more than 6 in 10 respondents agree that their marketing results would improve if they included an influencer marketing program, and virtually all (96 percent) of B2B marketers who engage influencers believe their program is successful.

How to choose the right influencer

It is especially important to understand how to choose the right influencer for a B2B campaign. 

Let's look at the 8 most important components in choosing an influencer.

  1. The relevance of its audience to the company's target audience

For almost all respondents (91 percent), the more the influencer's target audience overlaps with the brand's target audience, the greater the chance of conversions. The company needs to know its target audience, find out who is listening, reading and watching, to find out if there is an opinion leader who is already involved and publicly supporting the business. If there is, that would be a great influencer to start with. 

  1. Expertise in the field

Seventy-nine percent of respondents put expertise second. In B2B, the influencer must be a deep knowledge of the topic he or she is covering.

  1. Values in line with the brand

64% of the sample surveyed also choose influencers based on the values they convey. Popularity is important and a metric to consider, but it is not everything. The question remains: does that person and his or her audience fit the brand to be promoted, and its goals? 

  1. His ability to create content
  2. Brand advocacy

It indicates the degree of brand loyalty. The highest degree is when a customer, in addition to liking the product, sees himself or herself in the whole philosophy of the brand and recommends others to buy it.

  1. The size of the influencer's audience
  2. His charisma and personality

B2B influencer marketing may seem a bit dry compared to its B2C counterpart, but that doesn't mean people are any less engaging. You don't necessarily need a persona with acting skills, but you certainly need to show passion for your craft and use that passion to connect with your audience.

  1. Professional credentials such as education, job title or company

Social media reach can be used as a key measure of influence, but it is by no means the only way to assess the functionality of a B2B influencer. One might consider influencers who may be less visible on social, but are respected authors, speakers, experts, and researchers.

B2B influencers seem to bring compelling results

Using influencers effectively

Once the ideal person is chosen, influencer and brand are ready to embark on a successful journey together. But how? We will see in a moment. In the report we mentioned, it is confirmed that this marketing activity is considered useful by all, but that few know how to implement it: 74 percent of B2B marketers agree that influencer marketing improves the customer experience with brands, but only 19 percent use it within their marketing mix.

In addition, the report points out that B2B marketers are optimistic about influencer marketing but unsure of their ability to execute it.

For this reason, we thought of making a list of key points to define the steps to take in structuring a successful influencer marketing strategy.

  1. Educate

The selected influencer is a true expert in the field. That is why he was chosen. However, this does not automatically make him an expert on the company's products: it is necessary to educate him about the company, products, customers, competitors, and company culture. 

  1. Collaborate

The 'influencer was chosen because he is respected and knows the industry. His authority should not be diminished by forcing him to follow given texts to the letter. The more freedom he is given to express himself as he is wont to do, the greater the impact he will have.

Influencer marketing should be a collaborative process. Only 14 percent of influencers who had no input into a brand's brief felt their campaigns were "very successful."

  1. Listen to

The crux of any good relationship is good listening. Listening to the 'influencer, letting him or her propose ideas fosters cooperation for the benefit of better results and satisfaction of your audience.

  1. Search

The campaign in which the influencer will be involved must be well researched and thought out. The better the research and the more interesting the brief, the more likely the influencer will be interested and involved in the campaign. Seventy percent of influencers who think brands do a lot of research on them consider their campaigns "highly successful."

  1. Trade agreements

This point is often underestimated. It is necessary to have a contractual agreement that clarifies what is expected of each party. It should outline the length of time for which the content is active and give the brand the ability to distance itself from the influencer if necessary-it is important to carefully manage any kind of risk to the business.

The benefits of influencer marketing in B2B

Now let's look at the benefits B2B brands can gain from incorporating influencer marketing into their marketing mix. Here is a list of 5 of the most common and impactful benefits of working with influencers:

  1. Influencers add credibility and authenticity to brand content

Correctly identifying the most interesting topics for customers makes the brand understand those on which it needs to increase its credibility. This leads it to find people who already have the desired influence. Working with experts who are respected authorities on the identified topics produces content, communications, and often advocacy that is credible and empathetic to customers' desires and goals.

  1. Influencers, in collaboration with executives, create brand thought leadership

Connecting influencers and business managers to collaborate on content, interviews, videos, virtual events, and like-minded exchanges can amplify key brand leadership messages. Whether it's organizing a webinar to discuss the brand's latest research findings or a white paper to conduct a live streaming video series or podcast interviews between managers and influencers, collaborating means connecting different trusted voices in the industry with brand messaging. This can foster credibility, differentiation, and leadership.

  1. Influencers can co-create better content experiences for customers

According to research in the State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, 74 percent of B2B marketers believe that collaborating on content with influencers, helps improve the experience for prospects and customers.

A growing number of professional influencers in the B2B world have experience in content creation. This means ability to produce video content, podcast content, or graphic and text content that is in tune with customer expectations. This is more experiential content that the brand may not have the resources to produce on its own.

Alternatively, even if the B2B brand has the resources to create excellent video, audio, graphic, and textual content, the addition of the influencer's contributions "optimizes" for credibility and authenticity, which results in value growth.

  1. Influencers accelerate content production, promotion and impact

If designed and planned effectively, influencer engagement can create a larger community of influencers that the brand can draw on for a variety of content creation. Some companies manage to have 10, 25 or, even, 75 industry experts available for content creation.

Developing an influencer community means creating authentic relationships between the brand and influencers based on mutual benefits and shared values. Not only does an engaged community of influencers help create content, but they are also involved in content distribution for their own benefit. 

  1. Collaborations with influencers can help optimize brand content for search

There is a compelling connection between the topics and keywords that people search for and the topics on which experts in the field are influential.

Keyword content optimization is at the heart of improving brand findability on search engines. Engaging influencers on those same topics is a way to optimize and simultaneously increase credibility. What's the point of being found in searches if people don't trust what they find?

Going a little deeper into the world of influencers and the SEO connection, marketers might also evaluate the influencers they are working with based on their ranking in Google search. When those same influencers contribute to content published by the brand, their identity lends credibility and relevance to search.

Another assessment concerns the SEO effectiveness of the space in which influencers publish, namely their blog or website. What is the authority of the domain in which the influencer posts and what links he or she includes in the content carry weight? Does the influencer's content rank on search engines for the topics on which the brand wants to be most influential? Is the influencer creating the type of content that is SEO optimized? Video, audio, images, text, academic articles, books, etc.

The SEO value of working with an influencer is not universal for all topics, but with a little research, you can uncover some very valuable opportunities and build relationships to help your brand's content become findable and credible right when customers are searching for it.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of all the benefits a B2B brand could gain from working with influencers. While many B2B marketers may skim the surface of what is possible by working with influencers, those who can look a little deeper can find tremendous benefit and value. This not only accelerates the impact and effectiveness of marketing for short-term campaigns, but for long-term brand work and increases the perception of leadership in the industry.

Impact on branding

Research on influencer marketing for B2B brands shows that marketers, working with influencers, have found the greatest results in some areas.

Brand Awareness (84%), Brand Reputation (58%) and Brand Advocacy (32%) are among the most cited items in the research conducted. 

Smart use of B2B influencers that match experts with collaborations and content promotion can help lesser-known brands and already leading brands become both more credible and trustworthy.

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Our articles on influencers, both in the b2c and b2b fields, highlight how, in both cases, influencers can be a very impactful element with important effects on brand activity, but only if properly managed and integrated into our marketing strategy, short and long term.

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