Does your B2B content marketing strategy include influencer campaigns? If not, consider how collaborating with creators can help your brand spread the word about its products or services. According to Insider Intelligence, 21% percent of B2B marketing professionals use influencer marketing. Yet, IZEA Insights’ Trust in Influencer Marketing report found that 36% of survey respondents said influencer posts are the best way to get them to try new products, and 46% of all respondents had purchased products promoted by influencers.
Initiate a B2B influencer marketing campaign with these steps:
Set goals. Ask the following questions: What do you want to get out of the campaign? What kind of businesses are targeted? How will you measure success? Write down short, specific goals for the campaign. For instance, a brand’s goals might be to:
- Increase sales by 5% throughout the campaign.
- Collect 50 leads from a gated e-book promoted by influencers.
- Gain 30 product demonstrations after influencers offer a free gift in exchange for a demo.
Notice that each goal is specific and provides a measurable metric to gauge success.
Define ideal influencers
Start thinking about what the ideal influencer can offer. A B2B influencer should have businesses or business leaders as followers. They should be authentic, well-known and post consistently. More specifically, here’s what to look for:
The influencer’s audience should align with the audience that the B2B brand targets. If, for example, a company sells customized software solutions to medium-size companies, it might look for a business consultant who specializes in IT solutions.
Consider an influencer’s audience size. With B2B influencer marketing, influencers tend to have smaller audience sizes. The size of the influencer’s audience is less important than their audience makeup. A business consultant with 10,000 followers who aligns with the target audience will likely be more effective than a growth strategist with 50,000 followers that “sort of” align with the target audience.
Look for an influencer who engages with their audience. Check out who’s engaging with the channel, too. Could they be prospective clients? After narrowing the list of influencers, ask for specific engagement metrics.
Which channel should the campaign be hosted on? It should be one a company actively uses so the influencer can tag the company page. Most influencers are active on several channels, but they tend to have one or two that are more popular.
As a B2B company, channel preference is different from B2C companies. B2B companies might lean more toward LinkedIn or Twitter since they often cater to a professional crowd.
Identify and research influencers
Finding influencers with a specific business-minded audience can be a challenge. B2B influencers tend to be entrepreneurs, business leaders, authors, analysts, C-Suite executives, college professors, business consultants, or growth strategists.
Search industry hashtags on social channels or browse LinkedIn profiles.
The brand should also examine its social audience. Take a look at the most engaged followers to see if any are a good fit.
Brands can also turn to existing customers. Is there a company the brand has a strong relationship with? Perhaps the company’s CEO would be a good influencer.
Rather than searching manually, use IZEA’s tools, which provide a searchable database of influencers and insights on the influencer’s audience makeup.
Look into possible conflicts of interest: B2B influencers often have a day job that makes them industry experts. As a result, they may have existing partnerships with a brand’s competitors.
Strike up a conversation
Reach out to the influencer. Brands that use an influencer marketplace like IZEA’s can use the communication tools in the platform.
Brands going it alone need to dig up the influencer’s contact information. Email or DM information can usually be found on their website or social channels. Instagram is often a good spot to check.
Meet and draw up a contract
During a virtual meeting, talk about campaign details, compensation and the company. The products and services offered by B2B companies are usually more complex than those in the B2C world, so be sure to explain the product thoroughly to the influencer.
The contract, which must be signed before any content or cash exchanges hands, should include the following components:
- Marketing assets (or deliverables) the influencer will create.
- Direction on product and messaging.
- Expected frequency of posts.
- The channel or channels the content will appear on.
- Length of the campaign.
- The ownership of the content and any time limits that exist.
- Approval process.
- Description of the dispute process.
- Non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
Send a direct offer that includes all of these details to the influencer via IZEA’s influencer marketing software or have the experienced B2B team at IZEA manage the entire process.
Most of the items on the list above are straightforward, but there are a few components that require further explanation:
Direction on product and messaging
An influencer marketing campaign is a collaboration. In fact, influencers refer to sponsored content as a “collab.” A brand can provide direction for the campaign, offer talking points, or ask the creator to use a certain hashtag or promotion, but the influencer should have input, too.
That said, B2B influencers usually aren’t as “salesy” as B2C influencers, so they often welcome specific directions. Let the conversation flow naturally and see what kind of campaign specifics they’d like.
Ownership of content
Ownership of content can get complicated. Brands might assume that they own the content created for them — especially since they paid for it.
However, the influencer created the content, it lives on their social channel, and it’s shown to an audience that the influencer curated. As such, the influencer retains rights to the content.
Rather than request ownership of the content, brands can license the content for a certain period of time. By licensing the content, a brand can repurpose the content but not sell it to another party. Usually, there’s an expiration to the license, like one year. If that’s the case, a brand can use the collateral created by the influencer in any marketing efforts for one year. IZEA handles this part of the negotiation as part of its Managed Services.
How much should influencers get paid? There’s a lot to consider when it comes to influencer compensation. However, IZEA’s State of Influencer Earnings® 2022 shows the average compensation for one post on one channel:
The average pay for a Twitter post is the most affordable at $284 per post. Meanwhile, the most expensive channel to host an influencer campaign is YouTube. The average compensation for a clip on YouTube is $4,491.
Collaborate on content and review it
With a contract signed, move on to the actual creation of content. Send the influencer the product and some talking points to help them craft the campaign.
The influencer will create the content, be it an Instagram Story or a YouTube clip, and provide it to the brand for review. The approval process should be quick. However, brands can ask for revisions as allowed by the contract.
Promote and track it
When the influencer’s post goes live, brands can share it and draw even more attention to it. Keep an eye on comments and promptly respond to questions and concerns.
If the influencer is promoting an event or taking over a brand’s channels for a day, promotion should start at least a few days beforehand.
Monitor the campaign’s progress. Specific KPIs to track include:
- Impressions or reach.
- Likes or shares of sponsored content.
- Engagement rate.
- Website traffic.
- Newsletter signups.
- Scheduled calls.
Remember, B2B influencer marketing campaigns tend to take a little longer to show results than B2C campaigns. Several campaigns could be needed to gain traction. Be careful not to dismiss it too quickly.