July 20, 2020
I’ve taken to the Finn Partners blog a multitude of times to talk about one of my big passions: influencer marketing for B2B brands, except this time is different. My previous blog posts were written in a world where we didn’t have a global pandemic that completely changed life as we know it. Many companies had to shift business and marketing priorities to stay competitive and survive
These shifts have led to an even bigger one in the influencer marketing world especially for B2B brands. As I have said before, B2B influencer marketing is far different from B2C. Think about B2B influencers more like brand advocates, thought leaders, and reputational influencers. They aren’t going out to promote a specific consumer product, but can be influential on an industry due to their knowledge and expertise.
Here are three trends happening right now that are affecting B2B influencer marketing:
- Trust – According to Forrester, 32% of online consumers trust a stranger more than a brand. Trust is especially important during volatile times, where consumers make purchase decisions solely based on how they see a company handling a crisis. If a response doesn’t evoke trust, they will go elsewhere. But because B2B influencers are deeply knowledgeable, some even academics and scientists, their credibility can reinforce a brand’s product or service and can even create additional trust in the brand as a whole.
- Humanization – The challenge with products and services on the B2B side is humanization – helping people understand how this ends up affecting them when there isn’t an obvious correlation. For example, most people don’t know that when they login to their favorite grocery store’s website to order delivery, the site is likely protected by a security vendor. An influencer can put a human face to the business, tell consumers that the private information they’re putting into a website, like a credit card number, is secure due to that website’s backend technology. Ultimately, this helps promote general brand awareness and inspires hope and confidence in a business or brand, all of which are essential during times like now.
- Effectiveness and ROI – Many companies today are experiencing a loss in revenue, so they are searching for cost-effective ways to promote their brands. Since many B2B influencers are considered small and midsize, the financial commitment isn’t as massive compared to B2C programs, where influencers have millions of followers with multiple channels. Typically, those in the B2B space are in the range of 1,000-5,000 followers with channels like LinkedIn being the most important. So, as we experience an economic downturn, leveraging B2B influencers might be the most cost-effective way to reach a brand’s audiences.
No matter who you are or what you sell, don’t leave influencer marketing behind as you continue to look at your strategy for the remainder of the year and into 2021. Its importance has been highlighted during COVID-19 and will continue to rise in prominence as we slowly return back to “normal” life.
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