If you've been ignoring influencer marketing, you've been missing out on an effective lead generation strategy.
And if you have used word-of-mouth to generate leads before, then you know how effective it can be. Based on Ambassador’s collected statistics, 56% of B2B purchasers looked to offline word-of-mouth sources for both information and advice, jumping to 88% when online word-of-mouth sources were included.
“Influencer marketing is word-of-mouth at scale, where people listen to those they trust and those who can use storytelling effectively.” -Forbes
They use their "voice" to influence their audience, impacting their beliefs and their actions. They achieve this by providing valuable insights and knowledge over a given topic. By sharing their expertise, they’re able to build a relationship with their followers, ending up with their trust.
An influencer is like having an extra platform to market your product.
They come in all shapes and sizes. Some influencers have a large following, whereas others have a smaller one. Then there are those who may not have a following, like brand advocates. They speak favorably about your brand, making positive reviews and recommending your brand to other people and influencing their decision.
Now, when people think of influencers, most people think of big names like Kylie Jenner. But these types of influencers fall under the B2C category rather than B2B.
B2B influencers are different. They serve a distinct audience from B2C. They’re respected experts who cater to a group of professionals, ones who are interested not so much in what would make them feel better about themselves, but what would advance their career.
Keeping this in mind, it wouldn’t make sense to build an influencer outreach program to try to reach internet personality Logan Paul. He may have a large following, but most of his audience may not be interested in your product or service.
If you’re interested in learning how influencers can help your business grow, then below are five benefits that can help you with those goals.
In a world filled with uncertainty, distrust and skepticism, finding a way to market your product becomes a challenge. While it’s true that most of the skepticism and distrust come from consumers, you have to remember B2B clients are also consumers.
B2B customers have a lot more to lose than B2C customers. After all, B2B customers purchase products or services en-mass and at high price-points. They have to take careful consideration of how they’re investing to ensure they’re getting their money’s worth. Not only that, but B2B customers have to think about how investing in your product or service might help them advance their business or career.
So how do you get your clients to trust your business? By having someone convince them that you’re trustworthy.
“Influencer marketing is based on the economy of trust.” —Forbes
You see, people trust recommendations made by their friends and family. But, did you know it doesn’t end there? In fact, people also trust what other consumers have to say about a product or service. According to Nielsen’s report, 83% of people completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family. In comparison, only 66% trust consumer opinions posted online.
So if people can trust consumer opinions, then will they trust the opinions of an influencer?
Remember influencers are experts in their field. They’ve done the research before and have knowledge and insights people trust and find valuable.
“Many influencers have mastered the art of creating a meaningful connection with their audience...This personal connection means that people could prioritize and trust influencers at levels that mirror real friends.” -Forbes
Are you still with me? Because I’m about to tell you why this connection is important to influencer marketing.
If influencers mirror real friends, then you can assume they would make proper and mindful recommendations. A true friend wouldn’t make useless recommendations. They know you too well and would rather suggest something you find useful.
After all, if a friend put in a good word for something awful, wouldn’t your trust of that friend be shaken? You might start wondering if they really know you or you might be annoyed over the waste of time or money you spent on that recommendation.
This is the same for influencers. If an influencer promotes a brand that’s irrelevant to their audience, the trust of their audience would drop.
So influencers would have to take careful consideration when deciding which brand to partner with. They have to make sure the partnership is relevant to their industry and niche.
And this is exactly how influencers can increase your brand’s credibility and authority.
By partnering with an influencer, people will believe your business is reputable. After all, the person they trust wouldn’t partner with a business that has a poor reputation. Not only that, but they would believe your brand has authority. If your business was able to pull the influencer they trust to your side, then it must mean you have important knowledge and expertise to share.
Remember how I mentioned that influencers are like another platform to promote your product?
Well, influencer marketing has the potential to help you reach your ideal customers. By attracting influencers aligned with your industry and niche, you’d be able to reach qualified customers you couldn’t reach by other means.
Followers of influencers already know what their problems are and what solutions there are. They’re following the influencers because they’re hoping they would provide them with the right solution to their problem.
So by partnering with an influencer, you can position your company in front of their audience and have them promote your brand as the solution. This puts your brand on their audience’s lips, which could result in them promoting your brand, potentially making it a trending or viral topic.
But those are just the basics of how they can help you reach your audience. Did you know there are other ways they can expand your reach through influencer marketing?
Before I continue, let me ask you if you've ever used ad blockers before.
According to Statista, 25.8% of U.S. internet users were blocking advertising on their devices. That number may seem small, but the study notes it will slowly increase over time. And that number only represents the U.S. Who knows how many people are using ad blockers around the rest of the world.
Do you know what isn’t blocked by ad blockers? Influencers.
Influencers are able to bypass ad blockers and reach their audience on platforms like social media. But social media isn’t the only place influencers reach their audience.
Take Seth Godin for example. He doesn’t use social media but that doesn’t mean he’s not able to reach other people. He could be reaching them through his blogs, books he’s authored, podcasts or even live workshops. Isn’t that great?
Influencer marketing allows you to reach people beyond the confines of the internet. And you know what else, they aren’t as pushy as those banner ads people like to block.
It's true influencers are expensive, but B2B businesses have received an ROI 11x more than they would have through traditional digital marketing. Others report having generated $6.5 for every $1 they’ve invested in influencer marketing. But if your budget cannot pay for an influencer with a big name, then there are alternatives.
But first, let’s talk about how they can get you your money’s worth.
So, as you know, B2B businesses are driven by larger transactions compared to B2C. Because of that, there’s a lot of consideration to be made by decision-makers. They need to find research that’ll help them make the best possible decision for their business and their careers. Don’t forget, they want their investment to yield large returns, so they have to look at all their options carefully.
This is where industry experts or influencers can help them. By educating their audience on what works and what doesn’t, decision-makers are empowered to make informed decisions about which solution to use. According to Zoominfo, about 90% of business decision-makers research opinions from industry experts and peers before making their purchase.
Now, as I mentioned there are other alternatives to influencer marketing if you have a small budget. Remember, you can use brand advocates or you can use those who are called micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers are people who have a smaller audience, between 1,000 to 100,000 followers. But how is that beneficial to you?
Well, based on statistics provided by Medium, 82% of consumers are “highly likely” to follow a recommendation made by a micro-influencer. Micro-influencers have more engaging conversations on specific trends, challenges and products. They cater to a specific audience of a specific niche, making them seem more relatable, personal and authentic.
Compare that with big-time influencers who have large and diverse audiences, but 90% of them don’t follow their recommendations because it didn’t resonate with them.
So if you want to target a specific audience, micro-influencers would be your best bet. They’re affordable, allowing you to partner with several of them and reach different audiences. If one of them doesn’t bring the results you’re looking for, then you’ve only lost a small sum. Not only that, but you can reach them more easily, unlike the bigger names.
Now, these are hardly the only influencers you have access to, but it’s up to you to look for the type of influencer that meets your needs.
If you’ve implemented a content strategy to help you generate leads, then you’d know it isn’t an easy task. Being able to come up with novel ideas can be challenging, and you have to ensure your content is engaging and meets a level of quality. So how do you overcome this challenge?
Well, let me ask you this… who’s been creating content regularly for their audience? If you guessed influencers you’re right!
Influencers didn’t become what they did out of nowhere. They had to build their way up to their position. Remember, people follow influencers because of their expertise and knowledge and what better way to share this than through the content they create.
They know their audience, both what they like and dislike. They’re able to produce relevant content that their audience finds engaging.
So, could you imagine how having an influencer marketing strategy could benefit your content strategy? You’re hitting two birds with one stone here.
Not only are you able to leverage the trust and authority that comes with an influencer, but you also get to leverage their ideas and insights to help you co-create content for your business. You can spend less time coming up with new ideas to fill those gaps in your content schedule and work on other aspects of your influencer marketing efforts.
Now, if you’re wondering how an influencer can aid you in your content strategy, here are some ways they could help you:
Tutorials and demos
There’s a lot of ways you could use an influencer to your advantage. It’s hardly limited to what I listed above. It’s just a matter of looking for the right type of content that meets your business’s needs.
Like I said, you can leverage an influencer for creativity and understanding of their audience to aid you in content creation. Interact with your influencer regularly and listen for ideas they come up with and decide whether it fits your business goals.
“It’s not the best content that wins. It’s the best-promoted content that wins.”—Andy Crestodina, chief marketing officer
Working with influencers to create content that’s relevant for both your audience and your goals will go a long way.
Have you ever shared anything about yourself with friends, but not your parents? Maybe it’s one of your dreams and aspirations or one of your frustrations. But why did you share it with them and not your parents?
Your answer might be somewhere along the lines of, “Well...they understand me better than my parents do.”
But if you said that your parents are your friends, then it isn’t all that different. You still shared with them because you felt they would understand you.
Now, keeping that in mind, do you remember how influencers mirror real friends?
Yes, people follow them because they’re experts and knowledgeable about a shared interest, but it goes beyond that. Why do you think they share the knowledge they do?
Influencers understand their audience.
Think about it. If they didn’t know their audience, what they’re interested in, how to relate with them and solve their problems, do you really believe their audience would still follow them? Would their audience still share anything with them?
Influencers are influential because of the trust they’ve built with their audience. That trust is built upon the understanding they’ve built with them. Their audience talks to them about all manner of things about their shared interest. And an attentive influencer can spot their pains and desires.
So if you want to improve your influencer marketing efforts, you should take advantage of the information influencers have on your target audience. They have information your business may not have access to. After all, interacting with a faceless company isn’t engaging. You need to find influencers who can create that personal connection your business lacks.
Now, influencer marketing has a lot of potential. Applied correctly, it can help you grow your brand and scale your company. Reach out to influencers who resonate with your brand. They can help you to:
Generate trust and authenticity
Expand your reach
Drive purchasing decisions
Help develop content
Share valuable customer insights
Remember, the best influencer marketing strategy isn’t defined by the number of followers an influencer has. It’s defined by the type of audience following them. At the end of the day, your customers still matter the most.
Now, if you’re looking for someone who understands how to create an influencer outreach strategy, hire a copywriter today. A professional copywriter can make co-creation of content with an influencer a smooth process.
Neil Jorvina is a copywriter who writes to help companies and individuals achieve success. He helps businesses go from zero to hero. He enjoys looking for ways to improve what he has written. He doesn't settle for good writing, he only settles for his best work. He makes all this possible through Jedi Mind Tricks... But please, don't let Vader know.Hire Neil