When you think of an influencer, a good looking man or woman, in a trendy outfit taking glam shots in picturesque locations (normally with a tiny bag in tow) probably comes to mind. Stereotypically these influencers may be paid to aid in business to consumer (B2C) marketing. The scope of an influencer goes beyond this, to encompass working professionals who are experts in their fields, and who, when engaged with a business, can propel their business to business (B2B) model.
B2B influencers are individuals who have a respected standing within their niche speciality or profession. Rated top in their field, they may not be verified on Instagram, but they might be on Linkedin.
Their engagement will feel purposeful and therefore organic, and their investment as an influencer will match your own. The blogosphere is a useful place to source individuals who are dedicated to a particular skillset with pages and pages of posts for you to delve into to find if they are the right fit.
However, the type of influencer you are (B2C or B2B) is not mutually exclusive; You can be posing outside of a London townhouse for the gram, and also care, and be richly informed about sustainability. It’s important to understand your business relationships and approach the best Influencer to be aligned with you accordingly.
When it comes to using a B2B influencer, due to the ease of crossover with competitors, you will likely engage them for longer than the typical 30days you see in B2C partnerships. To have the best, and most natural impact their engagement has to feel more than perfunctory. As you make your list of influencers to approach you may find yourself soon crossing off your top candidates due to work they have recently done with direct rivals.
One of the benefits of a B2B influencer is their knowledge of the sector you have employed them to promote. Whether foundational or deeply grounded, they won’t be coming in blind. As such, when it comes to educating, it’s a case of making sharing knowledge to ensure you are on the same page, then steering them towards your creative direction.
You may have guidelines, and restrictions from a business standpoint that need to be shared, but one thing a B2B influencer doesn’t/shouldn’t do is parrot taglines and regurgitate buzz words.
At the end of the day, it’s your influencers personality and personal approach on the positive aspects of your services and products that are the most impactful for your business.
A key aspect to understand with engaging B2B influencers is that you are forming a working relationship - one that will last past an exclusivity clause.
The same way your influencer has trusted your business, its ethos, its past endeavours and its future efforts, you as a business need to trust they know how to best engage and promote for maximum effectiveness. This can span from posting times to their tone, to thoughts on whether or not they believe a particular product or service will resonate.
Take time to have open discussions with them, listen to their ideas on creating content, or concerns on wording etc., and you’ll come away with more returns on your partnership than you could have projected.
It’s a different working practice and yet in many ways, it’s exactly the same. The use of influencers has had a tremendous impact on B2C and trends are showing there is no reason why B2B can’t have the same outcome.
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