A fierce battle for the attention of users is raging on the internet. Colourful displays are no longer enough if brands want to be seen here. One way to reach your target group today is through influencer marketing. This is because the fans of influencers trust their recommendations and reward them with reach.

Influencers suggest authenticity that advertising companies can use for themselves more and more successfully in the B2B sector. If set up correctly, brands from all industries stand to win with influencer marketing. Especially when it comes to purchase decisions, people rely on recommendations from friends or people they trust instead of following conventional advertising. And that’s what influencer marketing is all about.

Benefiting from reach and authenticity

In the B2B sector, successful bloggers, instagrammers, YouTubers or Twitterers usually dedicate their web presence to a special topic that they work on with passion and good content. Due to their professional competence a more or less large number of followers trust them and their messages. In influencer marketing, companies use these influencers to target product and brand advertising through their channels. It is important to understand that influencer marketing is a business between the company and the influencer. Fees are therefore usually part of the deal.

Brands not only benefit from influencer reach, but can also increase their level of authenticity. No wonder that, according to a survey conducted by e-Marketer, 80 percent of all marketers consider influencer marketing to be effective and two thirds of respondents want to increase their budget in this area in 2019. The successes are also promising for the B2B sector. It is important to work together with industry experts to create and support brand content in a credible manner. This sounds promising. Nevertheless, companies should keep the following aspects in mind to ensure their influencer marketing is also successful:

1. Define a campaign goal

Before starting any influencer campaign, it should be clear what it is about: Awareness? Engagement? Conversion? Having a clearly defined target makes the choice of influencers easier as well. The payment models also differ accordingly: per job or per click, or per email sent. The first variant is the most common.

2. Finding the right influencer

The decisive criteria for the right choice are reach (number of followers), relevance (suitable content) and resonance (engagement achieved). However, these criteria serve more like guidelines. After all, the number of followers an influencer has doesn’t matter if they don’t interact with them. In some cases, the followers have even been bought. Tools can also be used for the search. Marketers can use Social Bond, for example, to identify suitable influencers. This allows a closer look at their followers including demographic data (location, language, age group, gender, niche). Buzzsumo, on the other hand, breaks down the topics that the respective influencers are dealing with.

3. Leave room for creativity

Of course, the content produced by the influencers has to match the look and content of a brand. However, if you really want to produce authentic content and thus draw on the actual power of the influencers, you should not put the brakes on this by overly rigid specifications and cumbersome release loops. After all, it’s all about trust. No two influencer campaigns are alike. Common variants are discount links, affiliate campaigns or sweepstakes. There is no right or wrong here, as companies ultimately decide according to their objectives.

A successful example

The company Prophix, for example, achieved good results in the financial industry with influencer marketing about the topic of artificial intelligence (AI). There is consensus among financial experts that AI is changing their business, but only a small number of them are truly informed about the background, opportunities and risks. Prophix broached the topic by publishing a multimedia and interactive eBook with the help of financial and AI professionals. Text and audio content as well as the virtual assistant Penny guide readers through the content. The microsite was complemented by a mix of content including a promotional video, email promotions, a landing page, supporting blog content, social content and custom graphics for the influencers involved. The results include 642 percent more engagement, new relationships with influencers and numerous discussions with the target group about AI and finance in connection with the Prophix brand.

The challenges

The biggest risk of influencer marketing actually lies in the wrong implementation by the influencer. Content that doesn’t seem authentic, or an influencer that doesn’t really fit the brand, is untrustworthy and doesn’t reach the target group well. This is confirmed by a study conducted by Bazaarvoice, according to which almost half of all respondents are annoyed by fake-looking influencer campaigns. Some influencers also artificially inflate their reach by buying followers. Last but not least, influencers do not provide the same type of professional testimonials that real advertising ambassadors do. Therefore, brands that rely on influencer marketing should also live with the risk that they cannot influence the general content and the publicly displayed attitude of the influencer. However, those who choose carefully can minimize this risk and benefit from the advantages of influencer marketing.