For the Love of Influencer Marketing

Love is in the air. The love for influencer marketing, and no, we’re not talking about the familiar and most common influencers in the B2C world, such as popular Instagrammers and reality show stars who we all know and love. We’re talking about the growing love for influencers in B2B marketing.

Influencer marketing is breaking into the B2B space because more companies are finding that it truly is an effective tactic for raising brand awareness, increasing customer loyalty and engagement, driving sales, and much more. Last year, it was one of the top strategies to be adopted by B2B marketers.

But influencer marketing can come with negative connotations, thanks to baggage brought over from B2C. It’s time to spread the love for influencer marketing in the B2B space.

Myths about influencer marketing

B2B marketers who are wary of influencer marketing may hold some common misconceptions about it. Let’s get to the heart of the top influencer marketing myths and realities.

Myth #1: Influencer marketing is only associated with product reviews, sponsored endorsements, or paid promotions.

Reality: Influencer marketing is much more than that. It’s about bringing in industry experts or thought leaders to provide customers with trusted information sources, informed opinions, innovative ideas, and inspiration to spark a conversation on current trends and important topics within your company’s industry.

Proof point: 90% of business decision-makers initiate their purchasing process by researching opinions from industry experts and peers.

Myth #2: Influencers are only in it for the money.

Reality: This isn’t always the case. Influencers often look for opportunities to expand the reach of their personal brand or the companies they work for by partnering with organizations that align with their own beliefs and initiatives. Influencers also look to partner with companies that can support or co-brand campaigns, promotions, or offers to particular audiences.

Proof point: 47% of influencers say they prefer to work with brands whose values are in alignment with theirs.

Myth #3: Companies only use third-party analyst firms such as Gartner or Forrester as influencers.

Reality: Audiences appreciate diverse perspectives, so influencers tend to reflect that diversity. B2B influencers hail from a wide range of backgrounds, including university professors, authors, former executives and practitioners, and independent consultants.

Proof point: Digital Marketing Institute cites 3M as one of the top 10 B2B companies executing successful influencer campaigns. 3M’s own Chief Science Advocate, Jayshree Seth, hosts the company’s first-ever podcast, Science Champions, garnering astounding download and customer engagement rates.

Myth #4: All influencers must have a large audience following and an established niche expertise to be effective in campaigns.

Reality: Although Pam Didner, Lee Odden, and other hallowed names are great influencers and household names in the marketing universe and should be sought after for their industry knowledge, influencers don’t always need to have a million followers or an extensive CV. If an influencer’s audience is genuine, engaged, and aligns with your brand’s ideal customer profile, it’ll be just as valuable for your company to collaborate with them and get the attention of a honed audience you know is interested in the topic.

Proof point: 75% of marketing and communications professionals say verified web traffic of an influencer is the most important criteria when selecting an influencer.

There’s more to influencer marketing than what we’re familiar with — brands, B2B influencers, and customers in every industry are reaping the benefits that come with implementing this often misunderstood tactic. For the love of influencer marketing, don’t fall victim to industry myths and stereotypes. There are more resources and strategy tips on influencer marketing coming your way soon — stay tuned for part two, where we’ll discuss types of influencers, how to use influencer marketing, and how to kickstart your strategy.

Contact us if you have any questions or would like to learn more about how to implement influencer marketing strategies. And, be sure to follow us on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook so you don’t miss out on strategies and insights.