Consumers trust people more than they do brands.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? You’re far more likely to be persuaded by a friend or colleague when they recommend a product than an advert from the brand trying to sell that product.

Really, influencer marketing is just good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth. But turned up to 11.

As social media has grown, so too has influencer marketing. It’s rare that you’ll see a video from any YouTuber with even a moderate following that doesn’t include an ad read.

While many B2C influencers give ‘influencer’ as a job title, it doesn’t even matter if the influencer is an expert in a particular field – you don’t even need the ability to grow facial hair to promote razors, it seems.

But this is about B2B influencer marketing. Here, the influence a person has is based on their expertise; they’re professionals actively working in their particular industry.

And it works.

We used it at Oracle Modern Business Experience (MBX) to great effect. We brought onboard a team of social influencers, with a combined reach of over 100 million followers, who helped to drive registrations and shared high-quality, relevant commentary and footage from the event as it happened.

Though a relatively small, one-day event, with 2,425 attendees at the physical event, #OracleMBX was trending in the UK by 10 am. And, although it was a London-based event, it trended in the US too, almost as soon as they woke up.

With that in mind, I’d like to give you some tips for a successful influencer marketing campaign.

Keep it natural

Your influencers should already be talking about a subject related to your brand. That’s the reason their followers are there in the first place. That way, when they start leaning towards your brand, their audience will already be more perceptive to their ideas.

It’s about engagement, not followers

Don’t just go for influencers with the biggest follower counts. A million followers won’t mean much if there’s low engagement. So don’t be afraid of going after influencers who have small followings but with lots of conversation.

Do your homework

Once you’ve identified the influencers you want to work with, do as much research about them as possible. Who they are, what they do, what they like to talk about. You need to go as in-depth as possible.

Engage your influencers

Knowing who your target influencers are goes further than ensuring they’re the right fit. Social influencers in B2B are seen as experts in their fields. It’s what they build their reputations on. They’re not going to ruin those reputations by jumping in to bed with the highest bidder.

You need to persuade them that you’re the right fit for them, and that you have their best interests at heart. That comes partly through showing them that your interest in them is based on more than superficial reasons.

Don’t sell

Influencer programmes should be based on collaboration. It’s a two-way value exchange. You should both be benefitting from each other’s reputations. Their role is to increase awareness and consideration of your brand, not to sell your products for you.

From the outset, you need to be clear about the value exchange and what’s in it for them. Don’t expect them to do something for free that really should be paid for e.g. speaking at an event or producing large content pieces.

Let your influencers be authentic

You can’t expect your influencers to say the exact words you’ve told them to say. They got their reputations by being themselves, not reading from a script.

Create the right content

If you’re planning on creating content for influencers to share and comment on, you’d best make it good, something that actually makes sense for them to share. Better yet, ask them to contribute to its creation.

Don’t be so serious

While B2B has traditionally been more formal than B2C, it doesn’t mean you don’t have room to have some fun. Don’t take it so seriously all the time.

We took that approach to our Brenda Keeps It Real podcast series, where MOI’s resident granny (played by our video producer Abigail) interviews our guests on the latest marketing trends. The interviews allow our marketing experts to really show off their knowledge but in a more light-hearted way.

I’ve worked on a number of campaigns now that really excelled due to influencer marketing. Get in touch if you’d like to talk about how it can do the same for your marketing campaigns.

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