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‘Influencer Marketing’ – this concept has been doing the rounds in digital marketing for some time now. However, recent research on it suggests that it is picking up pace. Features like LinkedIn Influencers have made influencer marketing more powerful and the social media that carry it more persuasive.
For starters, here is a simple definition of influencer marketing as we understand it:
Influencer marketing is a marketing practice where brands leverage a person’s expertise and reputation in a specific area to launch/promote the brand’s products and services.
You can either market through influencers or to influencers. The former is more prevalent but marketing to influencers and making them your advocates is a powerful strategy too. Let’s look at the road more travelled, marketing through influencers.
There are many factors that brands must consider before cementing a partnership with an influencer. Here are a few:
- How appropriate is the influencer to the brand in terms of values and beliefs?
- How credible is the influencer and how far-reaching is his reputation ?
- How appropriate are the channels used by the influencer(s) and how can the brand best leverage them?
- Do you have a communication strategy and the content in place to build prospects’ interest in influencers?
- How are you going to measure the ROI from your influencer marketing efforts?
Advantages of Influencer Marketing for B2B Brands
- Higher Trust Factor
In B2B marketing, relationships tend to be more valuable and complicated than in B2C. The cost of changing a partner could have significant implications for a company right from re-aligning work processes to changing equipment. Consequently the choice of a company is a careful decision and influencers play a significant role in making partners appear the correct choice not just in terms of product fit but also in in terms of philosophy. Independent influencers are powerful allies as you benefit from their stature and thought leadership.
- Greater Persuasiveness
Having reputed influencers from your industry associated with your brand boosts the persuasiveness of your offer. Their acknowledged domain knowledge makes prospects more inclined to hear out your product story and believe it. You can use influencers’ support to augment your brand message and vouch for your product capabilities. Their knowledge and research make for a stronger marketing effort.
- Product Launch Support
Influencer marketing helps brands go deeper into new markets and market segments better. This is because not only can brands use their own networks to promote the launch, they can also make use of the influencer’s network. And what’s more, brands will also be reaching relevant target audiences in the process improving their targeted reach ensuring optimum use of resources. All this is great when it comes to giving new products the impetus they need in the market.
- Eases Introduction of New Changes
B2B products sometimes require new operating systems or have changes that markedly alter product functionality. Human beings often don’t like change even if it is for the better and so it is wise to announce the change through influencers who present it positively. This not just makes the new version acceptable but also provides reassurance via the influencers’ endorsement of product quality.
- Bolsters Brand Networking Capabilities
Mutually rewarding relationships between influencers and brands boosts brands’ networking abilities. Brands can not only expand their reach, they also gain access to new relevant leads through the influencer’s network.
If your influencer communication strategy is right, you can sign up the best influencers in your industry. Once you have done this, make sure that both your industries and business objectives align. Remember that relationships play an important role in influencer marketing and the better your relationship with your influencers the more persuasive they will be in endorsing your brand. Influencer marketing can then help you go a long way in powering up your overall marketing efforts.