As marketers, we often seek direct influencers to use as a resource to improve our brands. These influencers can use their social media following to help influence people’s buying behavior and awareness of a brand’s product. They can do this because our friends and family often influence our buying decisions.
Why should you do b2b influencer marketing? It is an important part of every business’s marketing strategy. It expands your reach and helps you uniquely connect with customers.
It is valuable for your brand because it helps you reach out to genuinely interested in what you have to offer. It is also one of the best ways you can leverage the power of social media.
Many businesses are turning to influencer marketing as a way to promote their brand and generate more leads.
With so many options, it can be hard to choose where you should invest your time and money. In this blog post, we will go over the steps needed for building an effective b2b influencer marketing strategy that is sure to drive results! It works well in tandem with an SEO strategy.
Benefits of b2b influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is not a new concept. Giant cooperation such as Nike and Adidas have been doing it for decades. It ties your company/brand to someone that your potential customers can connect to.
Why do you think they pack big bucks for this? It works. Some brands will have influencers act as ambassadors in exchange for endorsements. Whatever term they choose to use, the underlying idea is the same as what we will be talking about in this post.
PSG and France football superstar Killian Mbappe is one of the influencers on Nike’s books. Between that deal and ones with Hublot & EA Sports, Forbes Magazine estimates that he nets a cool $13 million. No brand would spend that sort of money if this method was not proven.
Most businesses would not have such a budget. Fortunately, the rise of social media usage has delivered a new tier of influencers that most businesses can afford to collaborate with. An influencer’s reach is greatly influenced by their social media following. We will look at that in greater detail later.
How to start a b2b influencer marketing campaign
You have probably come across stories of brands pulling out of an endorsement deal. An influencer can be an ambassador for your brand. That will mean their views and positions can easily be considered as yours.
The best way to avoid issues is by getting the selection right from the get-go. Choose influencers that you can truly tie your brand to.
What kind of influencers are best for your brand
Deciding the right kind of influencers for your brand does not have to be complex. Nike is a sporting brand, so they tend to work with sportspersons. Whatever industry or niche your business is in, is where you want to find your influencers.
Finding the right influencers for your budget
Budget is often tied to the number of followers that an influencer has. You are paying to tap into their reach. This makes sense. It will be a little harder to have a fruitful collaboration if they do not have many followers.
Depending on how much you are willing to spend, you can find influencers with large or small amounts of followers. Alternatively, you can also seek them on social media based on the topics they are most interested in and connected to.
For the sake of this post, we will look for influencers in the Saas space. You can adapt this method to whatever area you work in.
1. List the problems that your software solves.
2. List the features or services that it offers.
3. List important software integrations.
4. List some of the most popular names that come to mind when thinking of your industry, niche, or product.
I like Ben Adler’s tool, KeywordChef, so let’s use it as an example.
1a) It helps publishers find keywords that are easier to rank.
b) It saves time that would have otherwise been spent filtering keywords.
2a) Keyword Research
b) Serp comparison
c) Competitor analysis
d) Opportunity identification
3a) None that I know of or at least that are available to users.
d) Doug Cunnington
e) Tim Soulo
We will illustrate my approach on Instagram. This is something that you can do on any social media platform.
Search for each term from number 2. I started with keyword research.
Hover over each post to identify the ones with some engagement.
Click on the little arrow next to each profile. It will reveal some recommended profiles that are either following this user or similar to them. This section is a goldmine if used well.
Shanebarker would be a good candidate for this. He has the following and has been featured on top tier publications. He also has a linktree.
Look at the number of followers, engagement, and frequency of posts.
Followers give you an idea of the reach that they have.
If you like what you see so far, check on other platforms to see if they have additional followers elsewhere. You can also do the same for their website if they have one.
Rather a small account with a highly engaged audience than a small one without much engagement. Not only would the cost of collaboration be cheaper in most cases, but it also gets you better results.
Vetting The Influencers
The final thing to look at are the followers each influencer has. You want to make sure that they are your target audience.
Reaching Out to influencers
There is no one-size-fits-all for reaching out to influencers. Find out what works for each one. You will see that some profiles will have a contact email listed. Use it. If that is not available, look at their Linktree to see if there is an option there.
Dain Walker would be a great candidate for this as well. The image above is of his LinkTree
If none of these are available, DM them. You should be aware that most of these guys receive plenty of messages, so they may not respond promptly, or at all. Check in again after a few days to follow up if you haven’t had a response.
Don’t complicate the initial message, social media is somewhat in formal.
Hi [name], I am working on a tool that could really use your feedback. I was wondering if you would like to Beta Test it? Here’s a link to the site: [URL]. Thanks [Your Name]
Understand the correlation between social media and business
Most of the influencers we looked at are on social media. How can you get the most out of the collaboration? The first recommendation would be to only work with influencers that are not always promoting something on their page. You don’t want your product to be lost in the noise.
Most people are on one social media or another. It is one of the places where people come to consume content. They are open to it. That is why social media marketing works.
Consider what social media platforms your potential users are most active on. If we were to go back to that KeywordChef example, I would surmise that users would be on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and on various Forums.
Use a Co-Marketer
The aim of collaborating with an influencer is not to have them handle your marketing. It is to use them as a distributor for your marketing content. You are bringing them on as a co-marketer.
You can either have a strategy in place before they come in or work with them to develop one that is suitable for their audience. That may mean designing new graphics and other content.
Test Before You Commit
You can never be sure how things will work out which any influencer that you work with. The best way to iron out any potential issues early on is to start with a small collaboration. It may be paying for a story, a post or an email to be sent out to their followers.
Track the results of the campaign by using a shortlink or a specific landing page just for that influencer. See how many people have come through that link or page. Check how many of them are converted.
If you get very little traffic, you can conclude that they have low user engagement, which should be where your collaboration ends.
If you got a ton of traffic and not very much conversion, you may want to A/B test different versions of the landing page.
You could also reconsider your offer. Is there a way you can give them a free trial period as a way to get over any reservations that they may have?
Build a Long Term Relationship
If things are working well with the influencer, you may want to “put a ring on it.” That may be in the form of offering an affiliate partnership, where they earn per converted user that they send your way. This takes some of the heavy lifting off your shoulders. The influencer will have an incentive to consistently market your product.
It may also be worth striking a sponsorship deal. This works best if they put out content consistently. Get your product on their Podcast, Youtube video, and so on for a fixed fee. Long term relationships mean the campaigns can improve over time.
Measure the Return on Investment
You can measure ROI by subtracting the spending from sales. Let’s say you pay the influencer $1000 per month to promote you every week. They drive enough traffic to earn you 20 subscribers per month at $20/m each. That’s $400 added to your income every month for $1000 spend.
You would initially be at a $600 deficit. That changes after 3 months (provided you retain the subscribers), $400×3=$1200.
A more granular way would be to look at cost of acquisition per user. $1000/20= $50.
You would need each user to be with you for at least 2.5 months to break even. Increasing your conversion rate would make you more profitable and shorten the run-up break-even period.
For instance, if you were to increase it to 25 subscribers for $1000 spend, you would be at $40 per acquisition. The lifetime value of each customer would be $240 per year. What if you had upsells in the form of addons or bigger plans?
Measure the effectiveness of your campaign
Use the method above to find out what is working for you. Find an effective campaign. Rinse and Repeat. ROI is not the only way to measure success of a campaign. It can be measured by increase in brand awareness.
Don’t be afraid to try out things. Reach out to as many influencers as you can. Pricing is always negotiable! You don’t get a discount unless you ask for one. Would love to know how your campaign goes. If you have any questions, pop them in the comment section below.