Top 8 tips for a successful B2B influencer marketing strategy

Matt Robinson

12 August 2019

This month saw the launch of a three-pronged learning and development program at Metia London comprising of; internal workshops, external lectures, and a new system to accelerate knowledge sharing across the business.

Kicking off proceedings in our guest lecturer series was social marketer and author Scott Guthrie (@sabguthrie), who joined the team to share his secrets on developing and implementing a successful B2B influencer marketing strategy.

Why does working with influencers matter?

We are all familiar with the impact influencers can have in B2C marketing. From the high profile, Fyre Festival disaster, to the post production partnerships with the cast of Love Island. But influencer marketing can hold just as much relevance in a B2B context.  

With newspaper circulations and viewership of linear TV channels in decline, more businesses are pivoting their strategies towards an influencer model, where they can engage and inform customers with greater contextual relevance.

In today’s fragmented media landscape it’s imperative that businesses find new ways to engage and communicate with customers. Especially as the focus of marketing is now directed away from the features of new widgets and more towards the potential of the people that use them.

Building a successful B2B influencer strategy

According to a Raconteur study, 71 percent of C-suite executives find most brands’ content boring, expected, and repetitive. With demand for more original thought and fresh thinking increasing, influencer marketing is the obvious response. It’s more personable, relevant, and offers inventive ways for more creative storytelling.

Outcomes should always be the most important consideration for any business embarking on an influencer strategy. The business goals and objectives of a campaign need to align with those of the influencer and the customer, across each critical moment in the decision-making journey; from awareness to decision. 

No customer journey is linear anymore, or punctuated by pre-defined milestones. Marketers need to understand where buyers go for insight or advice, and why. They need to consider what is influencing their customers’ decision-making and how these experiences can be enhanced. It is vital for organizations to build relationships with influencers who can help engage audiences in an effective and direct manner.

Finding the right influencer to help with a campaign will assure its outcomes. There is likely to be a better value exchange and resonance to the messages being communicated. So, invest the time to understand why influencers have earned their communities and what a mutually beneficial relationship might look like.

It’s about community

Increases in brand awareness, employee advocacy, to share of voice and reach, are each effective ways of measuring the success of any influencer program. However, with around 80 percent of conversations about your brand likely to be hidden, the real advocacy might be taking place offline or in closed communities such as WhatsApp groups.

Working with influencers can be beneficial for brands engaging B2B audiences. From offering unique perspectives and expertise to enhancing sales and even greater brand affinity.

Drawing upon Scott’s insights and our own influencer marketing team we gathered together our own, Top 8 Tips for a Successful B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy:

  1. B2B brands that identify and build relationships with Influencers that are well-matched to their audiences can build relationships with the most trusted and engaging form of media.
  2. Don’t limit yourself to self-proclaimed influencers that simply spend too much time on social media. Genuine influencers can include: employees, customers, analysts, and industry experts.
  3. Use independent research and apply intelligent listening techniques to a market in order to understand who really influences the market.
  4. Align the objectives and KPIs of your influencer program with business or marketing objective.
  5. What’s the value exchange between your brand and a B2B marketing influencer? It’s more likely to be an experience or value exchange, than simply an exchange of money.
  6. Think about how you can achieve loosely coupled levels of governance. Influencers must be allowed creative and editorial independence.
  7. Don’t dodge measurement, build a framework from the outset (typically 80% of #B2B engagements aren’t traceable on the public internet).
  8. B2B hasn’t (yet) seen the fraud that we’ve seen in B2C. Influencers typically trade on professional credentials. But don’t assume it won’t happen, qualify prospective influencers and ensure their ethics align to the brand.

Additional details

If you’re looking for more information on the latest insights in B2B marketing, listen to our podcast featuring Metia’s B2B marketing experts, including an interview with Scott Guthrie on all things influencer marketing.