The 'art' of influencer marketing is rife within the B2C world, especially within FMCG, specifically, food and drink, health and beauty, consumer electronics and the experience market.
But this art is nothing new; often we think of the rise of bloggers, vloggers and social media influencers to be the inauguration of this endeavour but it was in fact in the very first celebrity endorsements in the consumerist euphoria during the golden age of advertising that set the standard.
Keeping this in mind, let's not box influencer marketing off as a frivolous 'Instagram pursuit', designed to encourage millennials to spend more money on achieving an equally Instagram-worthy lifestyle.
Influencer marketing, at its very core is simply leveraging the authority of an individual or group to raise the profile of a brand, product or service - which is why it's more than relevant within the B2B arena.
Since we can assume there are no fair arguments to the above point, let's move on to the difference between the scale of influencers and how you can use both to bolster your marketing efforts.
Mega influencers are the key voices within certain industries. If it's an individual, it's usually someone who has created innovation or disrupted a sector in some way. They'll generally have a healthy online following and their livelihood may revolve around their online presence or attendance to high priority events.
A potential difference between B2C and B2B influencer marketing, is that you may also look to benefit from being associated with brands as well as individuals and raise your company authority. Simply by being perceived as stablemates alongside trusted and authoritative names is a solid strategy, especially if you're a startup.
As we know, in B2B, collaboration is the lifeblood of marketing, relationship building and new sales leads. With mega influencers, it may be a little more difficult to create in-depth content pieces, mainly due to time constraints. What you may be able to do is:
- Outreach to mega influencers and ask them for their opinion on a certain topic, you can use this in your onsite content marketing to authenticate points within your own blogs and news
- Attending events - if you're planning on holding an event, reach for the stars when it comes to your list of speakers, with mega influencers you should consider what's in it for them
- Offer your time and expertise - if you have expert knowledge in a certain area, why not offer your work to mega influencers to use in their own case studies and comms. This works particularly well with high level partners and supplier brands, becoming a case study for a globally renowned brand is no bad thing
Unlike hugely popular influencers with enormous social followings, micro influencers tend to have more of a grassroots appeal.
Micro influencers are usually individuals who are well versed in a certain topic, their passion and insight is what drives interest and initiates perceived gravitas within certain industries.
You should learn to capitalise on the growth of Cohort Culture. This term is especially pertinent within startup circles, where advice and support is the currency of the land, but no matter the size of a company, penetrating a captive audience at a grass roots level will build trust and ultimately spread your company's reach. In planning your micro influencer strategy, you should consider:
- Your target audience - where do they hang out, online and off, how can you get in front of them by associating your brand with trusted individuals on the ground?
- Look at your business strategy - is your plan for growth regional? If so, it's important to get in touch with local event organisers and influencers to seek opportunities in collaborative activities
- What are your target sectors? - Again, reflect on your business strategy and really pinpoint the industries you're looking to target over the next year. Research who the rising stars are within these sectors and outreach to them to find out how your brand can be aligned
It's important to consider any scale of influencer marketing within your strategy, there are benefits of working with both mega and micro influencers. It will completely depend on the size of your business, the industries you're targeting and the plans you have for growth.
If you're looking for some further help or inspiration on influencer marketing for B2B, get in touch!