In this golden age of digital brand promotion, influencer marketing has become an integral part of a business’ social media strategy. Not only do influencers help brands reach out to their potential target audience but they can also provide a grass roots approach to marketing – word of mouth.
What is Influencer Marketing?
For those that are unfamiliar with the concept, influencer marketing is a form of native advertising where brands find influencers, typically influential bloggers and media spokes persons, who have a significant audience attention span in a market where the client brands wants to target. By forging a relationship with the influencer, and yes, sometimes cash incentive goes a long way, the influencer agrees to promote or link to the client’s unique content.
Why Should B2B Brands Have AnIinfluencer Strategy?
So why is this important? Why not just build massive link networks and link to the key content you are trying to promote? Let’s face it, not every B2B company has the chops to generate sales through their social media efforts. After all, it’s one thing to publish regular content on social media channels and a completely other thing to use it as an effective inbound marketing strategy. What influencers bring to the table are a solid history of content promotion, strong search signals (authority, trust, rank), a significant following, all which will ultimately boost your word of mouth exposure along with your SERP rankings.
This is why B2B companies are increasingly connecting with their industry influencers whether they are bloggers, photographers, journalists or Instagram celebrities. As marketers develop deep relationships with these influencers, the latter in turn share the company’s message with their followers.
And if you are still unsure about this strategy, here is a post from our friends at Traackr that discusses the Top 9 Trends in the influencer game for 2016.
Key Benefits of Influencer Marketing
1. Improved Reach
By partnering with an influencer, you get access to an audience that could convert into prospective buyers, and thus, you can expand your reach. However, you need to find an influencer whose interests align with your particular brand.
2. Brand Trust
Consumers are more motivated to buy a product or service that has been recommended by word of mouth publicity or a killer review, as compared to a standard glossy advertisement. This is why, you can increase your brand’s credibility (e.g. trust) in a fairly short time frame by seeking out an influencer to promote or review your product.
3. Increased Brand Awareness
If you are a relatively new brand on the market, generating brand awareness is one of the primary strategies to get prospects into the top of the funnel and start the conversation. But when a popular influencer mentions your product or service, you could start getting attention and your brand becomes more noticeable.
Think of this in a B2C context for a moment. Picture Oscar night, stars lined up on the red carpet all displaying various wares and bobbles. Brands will at times send free items to celebrities in hopes that they will make a very public appearance with the brand and gain instant exposure. What if Taylor Swift had a gold necklace that said Moz, I’m pretty sure 12 year old social media girls everywhere would be asking themselves, “Who is Moz?”
4. More Bang for Your Marketing Buck
If for instance, you wanted to target the same audience through Facebook ads, it would take you a lot of budget and you might not even be able to hit the exact target audience you wanted to hit. So in a way you would be showing ads to prospects that might not necessarily be influenced by the FB ad platform.
As your focus shifts from a large-varying audience to a small, more targeted audience, you will be able to create more targeted ads with the help of the influencers. Think about how your audience consumes media and where they go to learn, this is where potential influencers live. Back in my day I used to think Slashdot.org was the Holy Grail and everything they published was gospel. If Slashdot was plugging a product, I was interested, period.
5. Resource Management (Time)
In order to launch a successful influencer campaign in a timely manner, because let’s face it, this takes a serious amount of work, is a good relationship manager who is able to connect with influencers and negotiate benefits for both parties. Designing the campaigns is more of a team effort with the influencers, you’ll have to find a common ground where the influencer’s brand identity and yours are aligned.
In a world that is stifled with banners, pop-ups, and ad platforms, people are either annoyed with advertisements or they have become so used to them that they just tune them out. This is one of the reasons why influencer marketing has become more important than ever, and B2B brands are starting to take notice. In a complex multi-touch long sales cycle, word of mouth is still king of the jungle. Why not put some of your words in those mouths?