Influencers aren’t just for B2C businesses - B2B influencer marketing is huge and continues to grow, with many publications and blogs online calling B2B influencer marketing more important than B2C.
Let’s start by looking at the name. You make think influencers are a new wave of celebrity that started a few years ago for the social media generation. However, influencers have been a mainstay in marketing since the 1890s when the Aunt Jemima pancake mix brand was trademarked.
Social media influencers officially started in 2006, with the launch of PayPerPost - a marketplace which was the first to pay bloggers to write content about brands.
Influencers sponsoring and promoting a product is great PR for any brand or business looking to boost sales as people are more likely to buy a product or service from popular figures they like and trust.
Nowadays, you don’t even need to be a celebrity to strike a deal with a company to endorse their products or services - anyone can do it, providing they have at least a few thousand followers, which is especially true for B2C influencing. In a B2B world, what’s important is that you are in an esteemed position, respected by your peers - or at least have a following.
What are the different types of social influencers?
With the least followers, micro-influencers tend to have a narrow audience of around 10,000 or less and their content is typically niche. Micro-influencers are sought after by many businesses and brands with a product or service aimed at a particular market. As they tend to have a higher engagement rate on their social media posts – ie., more people are liking and clicking their content - micro-influencers are the least expensive to hire for a campaign.
Next, are the power-middle influencers. These influencers typically have an audience size ranging between 10,000 and 250,000 followers, meaning they can reach more people. However, their engagement percentages aren’t quite as high as micro-influencers. Power-middle influencers will often have already worked with a business or brand sponsoring content and have experience in promoting online.
Finally, the macro-influencers are individuals with followers and subscribers that total anywhere from 250,000 to over 1 million people. The potential impressions and reach you can achieve from these overshadow both the micro and power-middle influences. However, higher reach can again mean lower engagement rates and it can be rather costly working with them.
What is the 1% rule?
In 2006, the ‘1:9:90 model’ was first referenced by Charles Arthur of The Guardian, who suggested that if you get a group of 100 people online, one of those will create content, 10 will “interact” with it and the remaining 89 will just view it.
However, for B2B brands, it’s not that easy. Technology and business influencers can’t take a video or photo of your software and sell it online. It’s also important to note that an influencer with a large following on Snapchat or Instagram doesn’t have much credibility with B2B buyers, unless they are specific influencer accounts which happen to work in IT, for example.
Typically, your B2B buyer won’t just click on a link from an Instagram post and purchase your software or services. The buying process will generally happen after months of back and forth reading specs and reviews online – particularly as most B2B purchases involve multiple decision-makers.
To get the best results from B2B influencer marketing, you should formulate a strategy and stick with it for at least six months but, ideally, seek to work with B2B influencers one year at a time.