Posted 02.19.2023 by Josh Krakauer

Effective B2B Influencer Marketing – What works in 2023?

An effective influencer marketing strategy could be that missing piece in your marketing. Find out how to level up your influencer marketing in 2023👇

2022 was ripe with opportunities for B2B marketers to find creative new uses for influencer marketing, which has proven to be more recession-proof than traditional marketing tactics — and why 2023 is expected to see even more B2B brands utilizing the power of influencers. And with businesses making $6.50 for every $1 spent, who wouldn’t want to hop on board?

Before you open that new purchase order, let’s dive into why influencer marketing is so effective and some best practices for making sure you make the most of it.

Benefits of using influencers in B2B marketing

Why does influencer marketing work? In short, creators have built reputations around a specific niche, and earned the attention of a valuable audience. Those niche followers may be the very ones you need to reach. The bet you’re making is they can reach your target audience faster and with better results than your own (paid and organic) efforts alone.

The idea goes that people are more likely to buy from someone they trust, and influencers have built up that trust with their followers. An endorsement from an influencer is like word-of-mouth marketing on steroids.

Influencers are often experts in their field and can provide valuable insights into an industry or product category that’s hard to find elsewhere. They also have a better understanding of the challenges and needs of their followers, giving them an edge when it comes to creating content that resonates.

Sounds exactly what you need, doesn’t it?

Best practices for B2B influencer marketing campaigns

When it comes to leveraging influencers, there are a few best practices that you should keep in mind. Here’s a quick overview for making sure your B2B influencer marketing campaign is successful:

1. Identify a singular business, marketing, or campaign goal your influencer can directly support

What do you want your influencer to help you accomplish? Do you need website visits, leads, conversions, or product awareness?

Whatever it is, set clear objectives for your campaign.

2. Create a content brief to guide your influencer

Content briefs should provide a detailed overview of what you’d like your influencer to share and how, along with any background information they should know in order to accurately represent your brand and partnership goals.

This includes an overview of your partnership strategy, the use of hashtags, visuals, links, priority social channels, dos, and don’ts, etc.

3. Identify the right type of B2B influencers for your brand

Who’s the best fit for your audience? Consider industry, size of following, and even affinity with the brand.

The more relevant an influencer is to you and your target market, the better ROI you’ll get from their collaboration.

You can think of them from different perspectives, like:

  • Professional associations vs. individual influencers
  • YouTube/Video creators (active consumption) vs. Podcasts (passive consumption)
  • Twitter/Bloggers (text) vs. Instagram/TikTok (visual)

It’s equally important to vet influencers to ensure they haven’t work with competitors, had any bad PR incidents, or spoken poorly about your brand in the past. The last thing you want is to find out after the fact that this person is not who you thought they were.

Looking for a tool to identify influencers? TikTok Creator Marketplace is a great free resource. It includes engagement insights and a ballpark range of how your partnered content could perform and at what cost.

4. Ensure your contract is solid and up-to-date with the latest tech standards and laws

A solid contract is essential for any collaboration. Make sure your influencer team understands all the FTC guidelines and laws, especially if you’ll be paying them to promote a product or service.

It’s important to be clear about what can be included in their content, delivery timelines and expectations, who owns the content after it has been published, and when payment will happen.

5. Create a budget to spread across a campaign

It’s important to have a plan for how much you’re willing to pay for influencers.

Will you be doing retainer deals, per-post payments, or one-time payments? This should all be outlined in the contract, and budgeting accordingly will ensure that you don’t overspend on your campaign.

6. Assign a team member or agency to source, negotiate, coordinate, and educate your influencer

You’ll want to make sure you set up a team or agency that can find the right influencers, negotiate terms and contracts, coordinate collaboration efforts, and provide support throughout the course of your campaign.

This will ensure that you are maximizing ROI on all aspects of your B2B influencer marketing strategy.

7. Evaluate data with a big picture in mind

At the end of your campaign, it’s important to evaluate data with a holistic view. Look at metrics such as engagement, reach, and conversions but don’t forget brand sentiment and customer intent, too. All of these are key indicators that will help inform your future influencer marketing strategies.

Identifying the right type of influencers for your marketing

The key to finding the right influencers for your B2B marketing campaigns is to start by identifying who your target audience is, what type of content they consume, and what channels are they active on. You can then use these insights to help you find the perfect influencer match.

When we ask our own influencer marketing expert, Gabi Dillon, how to find the gems (valuable creators) in a sea of users, here’s what she had to say.

“Relatability! Relatability! Relatability!

It’s safe to say we all consume social media and have a special place in our hearts for certain content creators. The question is why do we stop scrolling to watch that one specific creator when they’re in a saturated niche, market, or trending topic? It’s more than likely two things: They’re entertaining. They’re relatable

So insightful (she said sarcastically) However, when you put on your influencer strategist hat, those two components are applicable when conducting influencer research.

Which influencers are YOUR audience going to find entertaining and relatable? Which are going to make THEM stop scrolling?

Keeping these questions top of mind will help narrow your search parameters and find influencers that will make an impact beyond brand-led marketing efforts.”

Here’s a list of the next steps:

1. Consider the subject matter of their content

Look for influencers who understand your industry and have a solid background in the topics relevant to your brand. This can be measured by looking at the content they create, their job titles, or even reviewing their past collaborations.

For example, if you’re looking for an influencer to promote your energy-efficient home electrical products, you’ll want to find someone who has expertise in the field and a following that is interested in home electrical products.

Here’s an example from Schneider Electric and Joe Geisler.

2. Analyze the influencer’s audience demographics

Make sure that the influencer’s followers align with your ideal target market. Check out their demographic distribution, interests, and even habits on social media to get a better sense of who follows them and if they are likely to convert into customers or brand ambassadors.

For example, if you’re a project management software company, you’ll want to find an influencer whose followers are likely to be interested in productivity apps and workflow optimization.

Pro tip: If an audience research tool isn’t available, some of this is implied by the influencer’s content mix (e.g. they only post productivity tips/hacks) and their community FAQs/comments (e.g. What’s your favorite collaboration tool? Is this better than XYZ?). This really demonstrates the value and trust they’ve built with their community beyond what the numbers say.

3. Reputation and perception

Take the time to research how your potential influencers are perceived. Do they have a positive or negative reputation? What kind of content do they create and share?

For example, if you’re looking for an influencer in the health and wellness space, make sure that their posts focus on healthy lifestyle choices and practicing what they preach.

It’s also important to work with influencers who are authentic, honest, and open about the products and services they promote. Fans can tell when an influencer is genuine and passionate about a product or service — just ask Mikayla Nogueira. Look for influencers who have been successful in creating content that resonates with their audience.

4. Look out for followers and engagement

It’s important to find influencers who have a large, engaged following to ensure that your campaigns get the maximum reach and exposure. But don’t just look at the total number of followers – be sure to check out their current engagement levels as well. Vanity metrics are great, but you also want to make sure that the followers are actually engaging with the influencer’s content.

Take into account factors such as video views, likes, comments, and shares to get a better gauge of how influential an influencer really is.

Understanding influencer status can also help you find the best fit for your brand. There are three categories that each come with their own benefits.

5. Reconcile cost with budget

It’s also important to consider cost when choosing influencers. Your budget will need to go beyond the campaign posts the creators produce.

Make sure to factor in the costs associated with sourcing, negotiating contracts, managing campaigns, and setting up compensation structures.

In your contracts, consider splitting up payment milestones based on deliverables, or even performance. You don’t want to end up overspending on influencers who aren’t providing you with the results you need.

6. Use performance monitoring tools effectively

There are a variety of tools that you can use to help identify and find the right influencers for your campaigns. Some of the most popular ones include BuzzSumo, Klear, Followerwonk, and Traackr.

These tools allow you to search for topics, locations, languages, and even hashtags to find potential influencers that match your criteria.

How to Measure the Success of Your B2B Influencer Marketing Campaigns (ROI)

Once you have identified and collaborated with the right influencers, it’s important to track their performance. Measuring the ROI of your campaigns will help you understand what works and what doesn’t.

Start by setting clear objectives for each campaign – whether it is to generate more website visits, downloads, or sales. Then, track the performance of each influencer and the campaigns they are associated with. This will allow you to see which influencers are performing well and which ones need more attention.

You can also experiment with different types of content and post formats to find what works best for your audience. Make sure to review your data regularly and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Some factors that play into how you can measure ROI include:

  • Scope and spend: Track the cost of your campaigns, such as influencer fees and other associated costs.
  • Types of content: Keep an eye on the types of content that are performing well and experiment with different formats and which platforms are the strongest fit.
  • Performance benchmarking and insights: Compare the performance of each influencer against industry standards and best practices to identify areas for improvement.
  • Creator selection and pay rates: Make sure to choose influencers who are within your budget and are reaching the right audiences with their content. You don’t need the most expensive influencer to make an impact

Here are some different things to consider when measuring influencer marketing success:

1. Reach and impressions

Track your influencer’s impressions, video views, and total engagements (e.g. the sum of all likes, comments, and shares) across all their partnered content to help gauge the success of your campaign.

Are people actually engaging with and watching the content? These metrics can give you insight into brand perception and relevance.

2. Keep track of the conversion rate

Monitoring the conversion rate of your campaigns will help you understand how successful they are. Track website visits, downloads, and sales generated from each influencer’s content to get a better idea of what is working.

You can also track sales before, during, and after the campaign and compare changes across the board.

3. Audience growth and followers

Analyze the growth of your followers over time to see if influencer campaigns are making an impact. Are you getting more followers and engagement than before?

This will give you an indication of how successful your campaigns are as the influencer’s audience took an additional step to follow and keep up with your brand.

4. Referral traffic and conversions

Keep an eye on the referral traffic and reach of each influencer. This will help you understand who is driving the most traffic and engagement to your website.

You can provide specific links to each influencer and append with UTMs to track the impact of their content and CTAs. To determine the success of reach, you can track impression data across various posts.

5. Impact on share of voice

Share of voice measures brand awareness on a specific channel. To calculate the share of voice, divide your brand’s measures by the total market measures.

These measures could be your social mentions, paid advertising clicks, or website traffic. You can find these numbers through your social media tools. By determining your share of voice, you can easily identify which channels warrant the most focus and how well you measure up against other competitors.

Ultimately, influencer marketing is a powerful tool that can help you reach new audiences and create long-lasting relationships with key influencers in your industry.

However, it’s important to make sure that you track the performance of each campaign and adjust accordingly.

Internal Influencers: Influencing through employee advocacy and executive social media

The power of influencing is not limited to external influencers. Internal employees can also be a powerful tool by leveraging their social channels, products, and services. Here are some ways to capitalize on your efforts.

1. Employee advocacy

Employees can be great advocates for your brand, as they are familiar with the company’s ethos and values which makes it easier for them to spread the word about your business. To maximize employee advocacy, you should create specific campaigns to help engage employees and encourage them to share your content. People are more likely to participate when you make it easy for them to do so.

2. Executive social media

Encourage executives to get involved in social media and join the conversation with customers, prospects, partners, and influencers. By creating an executive presence online, you can showcase the company culture and build trust with potential customers. And with 48% of the C-suite saying they spend more than 1 hour per week reading thought leadership, your company executives can be a great resource.

Making influencer and creator marketing work for your B2B brand

Influencer and creator marketing can be a powerful tool for B2B brands—however, it’s important to carefully choose the right influencers who align with your brand values and have a genuine connection with your target audience.

Still dipping your toe in the water of creators?

By partnering with an experienced B2B social media agency, you can ensure that your first influencer marketing campaigns are well-planned, executed effectively, and achieve the desired goals.

To start leveraging the power of influencer and creator marketing for your B2B brand, contact us today and let us help you make it work.

Which influencers are YOUR audience going to find entertaining and relatable? Which are going to make THEM stop scrolling?

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Josh Krakauer

Josh Krakauer is the CEO of Sculpt, that B2B social media agency you just discovered. Josh has launched social media campaigns for best-selling books, publicly-traded corporations, and early-stage startups. Josh works from Washington, DC, but still thinks Iowa City is the best city on earth.

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