The Value of B2B Influencers and 5 Brands That Capitalized On Them
Instagram influencer marketing is expected to hit $8 billion in spend by 2020. The best part? The rapid growth trajectory of influencer marketing is not limited to consumer brands. B2B brands far and wide have been considering engaging influencers in their marketing, but are hesitant. They are wary to embark on this journey when they are unclear on exactly how to go about the process – and what the best practices are.
Having worked with a range of both B2C and B2B brands in nearly every business vertical, we’ve had a chance to dig deep into what makes B2B influencer marketing work…and what doesn’t. But first, let’s touch on the value of B2B influencers and what they can bring to your brand marketing efforts.
The Value of B2B Influencers
To help demonstrate how brands are driving results with influencer marketing, we’ve put together a few examples of B2B companies that represent a unique blend of different approaches and KPI’s to illustrate the overall effectiveness of this growing tactic.
Influencers help you build trust with consumers
Whether it be security scandals and privacy concerns, or consumers’ waning confidence in the core institutions of this world, the fact remains; consumer trust is on the decline. This general distrust coupled with an abundance of historical skepticism of marketing and advertising messages makes it imperative that B2B marketers work to build genuine trust and credibility with buyers and prospects.
“Year over year, we’ve seen consumer trust of brands decreasing, and people turning to seemingly more objective sources when making buying decisions: peers, third-party review sites, analysts, etc,” said Whitney Magnuson, Global Head of Social Media and Influencer Programs at IBM, told a marketing agency months ago. “Partnering with an influencer allows you to highlight your brand’s existing narrative in a new way so that you can reinforce the proof points you really want your customers to know.”
When you collaborate with influencers on content creation, you not only provide your audience with influential experts who have the platform to share valuable insights, but you also provide them with a multitude of different perspectives—enhancing your brand storytelling capabilities and connecting more effectively with your audience.
Brands That Capitalized On B2B Influencer Marketing
Software corporations like SAP have gotten in on B2B influencer marketing, and with great success. SAP SuccessFactors wanted to highlight the importance of employee wellness from a slightly more organic approach to wellbeing. To raise awareness around their health care management suite, SAP SuccessFactors developed a program that involved using useful, relevant, and actionable insights around wellbeing from trusted experts, peers, and even one business celebrity.
The best wellness solutions are holistic, and SAP mirrored this approach by partnering with a bevy of unique personalities, including industry influencers, SAP partners, internal experts, and even their clients. They created a strong content mix that included an ebook, motion graphics, landing page, and curated content for both the brand and influencers to share on social media.
The results? A 272% increase over the goal, a 68% conversion rate on the ebook downloads, and influencer shares represented 86% of all ebook views and 69% of the conversions. Certainly, nothing to scoff at.
3M, the multinational consumer goods conglomerate, wanted to find a way to make the innovations and complexities of science more accessible to the everyday person.
To pull this off, they conducted the largest ever science study about global attitudes towards science, titled the State of Science Index research report, alongside the launch of 3M’s first-ever podcast: Science Champions Podcast.
The company’s Chief Science Advocate, Jayshree Seth, hosted the first season of the podcast, where they featured twenty-one science experts and influencers on topics ranging from simple introductions to science, to the everyday life of those who have careers in the science field.
Besides creating relationships with top science influencers and showcasing their own internal influencers, the Science Champions podcast far exceeded expectations in terms of downloads and engagement. The response was so great, it resulted in the launch of season 2 back in March of this year.