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Using Influencers in B2B Marketing

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If you’re a well-heeled brand that sells high-end cosmetics, paying an influencer to hype your makeup on Instagram can instantly boost awareness and sales. But what if you’re a tech company that sells software to other tech companies? Below, we’ll outline some of the ways you can use influencer marketing to reach your audiences, boost awareness, and drive sales, no matter how niche your offerings are. 

What’s Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a strategy used by businesses to promote their products and services by partnering with popular social media users or bloggers. Influencers usually have a large, engaged audience that brands can tap into for credibility and to drive sales. 

You may have heard that Kylie Jenner can make as much as $1 million for a branded post. When you consider that her post will reach all of her 100 million followers, it’s like buying a bargain basement Super Bowl spot. Fortunately, many of the influencers who’d be valuable to your brand don’t need to be paid a king’s ransom, or anything at all to promote your brand. That said, B2B influencer marketing can yield great results. MediaPost recently reported a healthy ROI of $6.50 returns for every dollar invested. 

How Can I Use Influencer Marketing to Better My B2B Brand?

According to a LinkedIn global study involving more than 6,000 B2B marketers and buyers, expert opinions are the second most influential factor for B2B buyers before engaging with a vendor. Put simply, that means buyers want to see other people sharing the love for your product or service. Here are some things you can do to effectively use influencers to promote your brand:

Have Experts Review Your Product or Service

As mentioned above, most buyers rely on expert reviews before they even consider buying anything. Reviews from respected experts can help convince potential buyers. Find an expert who’s well known in your industry and ask them to write an honest review of your product or service, then put the review on all your social media profiles and your website. When an authoritative voice says good things about your offering, it can have an impact on your business funnel. 

Get Testimonials from Influential Customers

In a recent study from Influitive, they found that around 90% of purchasing decisions are influenced by customer testimonials. For buyers, hearing testimonials from actual customers who’ve used the product or service is more effective than listening to a marketer trying to sell them something. 

Interview Industry Experts

Find a relevant influencer in your industry and see if they’d be willing to be interviewed. An in-person video interview is the best option, but if that’s not possible, you can send questions that they can answer, or record a telephone or video conference. In addition to attracting new customers, interviews improve your brand’s reputation and credibility. When IBM wanted to draw attention to their latest innovation, IBM Watson, they interviewed experts from a variety of industries who were using IBM Watson, then posted the interviews on their website. The interviews gave context to IBM Watson and how it’s being used in different industries. By doing this, they helped prospective customers understand their product better, which could positively influence their purchase decision. 

Have Industry Experts Write a Guest Blog

Inviting an influencer to write a blog is gaining popularity for a good reason – it’s a great way to align your brand and interests with well-known experts who have a large audience of their own. Ask the influencer what topics are of interest to them, then have them write a detailed post that’ll be useful to your audiences. When it’s done, post it on your social profiles and website, but also make sure the influencer posts it on their social profiles and website as well. 

What Are the Benefits of B2B Influencer Marketing?

Word of mouth and reputation are key to any B2B marketing effort, but it’s never been more essential than now. With COVID-19 still keeping in-person sales calls grounded, your sales force has likely been forced to sell via online video meetings. Because the average B2B sales cycle is much longer and involves significantly more money, decision-makers are hesitant to pull the trigger on a product or service they’re unfamiliar with. This is exactly where a third-party endorsement from a thought leader can be very helpful in keeping the sales process moving forward. 

That said, here are some other benefits that B2B influencer marketing can bring to the table:

  • A fresh perspective that can resonate with your audience
  • Added credibility
  • Thought leadership that brings desirability and more visibility to your products or services
  • Access to a network of industry experts and influencers

For B2B, Explore Working With Micro- and Nano-Influencers

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a major celebrity influencer to have a successful B2B influencer campaign. Instead of assuming you have to go after influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers, consider partnering with several smaller ones. Even though micro-influencers (5k-10k followers) and nano-influencers (1k-5k) have much smaller audiences, they tend to be a lot more engaged than mega-influencers. If you choose influencers with industry credibility whose audiences align with yours, you can get a lot more bang for your buck. 

Be Aware of Potential Conflicts of Interest When Working With an Influencer

Just like B2C, it’s possible that an influencer could go against the values and mission of your brand. With B2C, it’s the influencer’s job to recommend products or services. Many B2B influencers, on the other hand, will have a job at another company or have a business of their own. Make sure to have contracts and NDAs signed before you move forward to prevent the potential leaking of sensitive brand or campaign information. When you’re researching potential influencers, look to see if they’ve endorsed your competition, gone against your company values, or have some other conflict of interest. 

More Questions About Using Influencers in B2B Marketing?

If you’re interested in using influencers to build awareness and attract more customers, our B2B marketing team would love to talk. At Current360, we can help you put together an influencer campaign that will resonate with your audience and get results. 

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Ed brings 15 years of traditional and digital media sales experience to the agency, giving us a perspective most agencies don’t have. When he’s not working or seeking new knowledge, Ed hangs out with his wife, two kids, two dogs, one cat, and a hamster. And yes, the cat and hamster are best friends.

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