According to author Josh Steimle, influencer marketing, which has long been popular in B2C, will grow in use by B2B marketers during 2017. Thought leaders in various industries continue to grow dedicated followings, especially because of the rise of live streaming and podcasts.
Livestream reports that 81 percent of internet views reported viewing more content in 2016 than the year previous, and 67 million Americans reported that they listen to podcasts monthly, which is an increase of 14 percent in one year, according to Edison Research and reported on by Convince and Convert.
The increase in B2B influencer marketing has been a steady increase: last year we published a news article in reporting many B2B marketers are looking to increase their budgets for influencer marketing.
It looks to be the same this year as well.
These new forms of online media, combined with massively popular business blogs and social media, can serve up valuable opportunities for B2B marketers.
While influencer campaigns have become much more competitive in recent years, there is still tons of opportunity in B2B influencer campaigns, which most businesses aren’t doing yet.
Pitching influencers to work with you is an art form in and of itself, but the Art of Email blog has some good email templates to get you started. I’ve also seen businesses reach out on social media through direct messages if the influencer is already following them.
Some major influencers (like well-known authors) may have agents or a team that fields requests, so make sure you’re following the best chain of communication when it comes to pitching.
While the ways to find B2B influencers has already been covered on our blog, here’s some of the following areas where you can target influencers and their audiences to gain awareness and drive sales.
The business world has long been in a close partnership with the publishing world– business often revolves around the latest news of what’s happening in the industry. B2B marketers can take advantage of this by partnering with B2B publishers on content or promotional campaigns.
If an industry publisher has a large digital presence in social media and online, think of them as one big “influencer.” Instead of a single individual running a popular blog or social media presence, publishers often have a bigger staff and broader network that allows for more collaboration.
Think outside of traditional banner ads and consider branded content, sponsored reviews, or social media posts on the publisher’s outlets.
For instance, the Wall Street Journal has an entire partner portal where they showcase exclusive sponsored partner news:
This story from accenture on digital disruption is a great example of B2B branded content that is also interesting and useful to most WSJ readers.
Here’s another good example of B2B branded content from Business Insider, which admittedly doesn’t always lean toward strictly business content, but is a powerful publisher that gets millions of pageviews daily:
Many of the larger business news publishers also have large social media followings, podcasts, and webinar or online video series that make it easy for B2B marketers to pick and choose what would work best for them.
When trying to find B2B influencers, it might be difficult to know what group to start with. Steimle mentioned in the aforementioned Forbes piece at the beginning of the post that targeting authors and speakers is a good place to start.
Authors and speakers are a good group to target because they may have no affiliation to other brands, if they are self-employed. This makes it easier for them to collaborate with a variety of different brands on influencer campaigns if it’s a good fit. And because authors and speakers are often looking to boost their visibility by attending events or appearing on outside social media networks, videos, or podcasts, they may be more likely to say yes to a collaboration with your brand.