Why Influencer Marketing is important for B2B Marketing
Whether it’s Google PPC or Facebook, paid search has become an essential practice in B2B Marketing. On top of that, the B2B space is more saturated than ever. Think about it, how many project management tools are out there? CRM? Content marketing platforms? Influencer marketing platforms? This makes it harder than ever to stand out from the crowd, especially if you don’t have the spending power to buy thousands of dollars in PPC.
By now, you’ve probably seen so much compelling user-generated content for some of your favorite B2C brands like Allbirds or Purple Mattress.
The thing is: most B2B brands get influencer marketing wrong. In fact, the first mistake B2B marketers often make is misreading the label. Unlike B2C products, you can’t simply send someone a product and have them review it. For a SaaS platform or software, user-generated content has to come not from influencers, but from advocates. This means that the process from campaign conception to publication can take a little longer as that requires just a little more education. Here’s a deep dive into how you can use influencer marketing to beat your competitors in the marketplace:
How to Get Started on Your B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign
At the core, B2B products are solutions. And what are solutions in the B2B world? Pop quiz!
- A) Trading Enes Kanter and a few picks for Davis Bertans
- B) The answers to key business questions
If you answered A, then let’s chat. If you answered B, then you are correct and sane.
When building out your influencer marketing campaigns for your product, you’re going to want to first pull a list together of what fundamental questions and pain points you’re looking to solve for your target audience. A clearly phrased question is going to give you a headstart on putting together a great campaign.
Once you’ve got your list of questions your target customers might be asking, it’s time to put together a campaign brief and search for influencers.
But Wait – What Platform Should I be Targeting?
Honestly, for a B2B Brand, the best bang for your buck is going to be on YouTube. Since YouTube is owned by Google, it’s the second-largest search engine in the world. You’re going to want to build discoverable content. You’re going to want to build content that a pained B2B Marketer, in a desperate Google search in the dead of night, will discover.
Forget about Instagram. I know it’s the hip platform to be on but unless you have an amazing idea to drive awareness through incredible stories then you don’t need to waste money on it.
Think about it: how many of your target consumers are going to click through to your landing pages on their phone? How many people are scrolling for new solutions to their business problems on Instagram? It’s a great platform for B2B brands to build a community, but not exactly the most optimal place to discover new customers. That being said, it’s still repurposing your YouTube creative for advertising on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Writing an Effective Creative Brief
Essentially — when you write your influencer marketing campaign brief — you want to outline goals, desired outcomes, key messages, and general content.
Good creative briefs equip influencers with everything they need to deliver based on your goals. The best briefs, however, provide a framework an influencer can use to hit outcomes while at the same time delighting audiences.
Leverage YouTube Keyword Search
Make no mistake: YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet. It is, after all, owned by Google. When you start your search for YouTube influencers, think carefully about how your ideal user would discover your content. Try to look for videos using long-tail keyword searches like “top 5 tools to drive traffic” or “how to show my boss I’m doing my job correctly.”
Use keywords on YouTube to discover creators that build the type of content you’re seeking
Ask yourself, if you were to make a post yourself or have an influencer create a video for your brand, what is the ideal SEO title for that content? With YouTube influencer marketing, you’re looking for answers, not influencers.
Remember that list of questions you put together earlier? Punch those questions into YouTube as well and see what creators are talking about them.
One interesting hack here to be is to game the algorithm for you. If you’re a beauty brand, for example, try creating a separate YouTube account so your personal searches don’t weigh your algorithm at all. Eventually, if you make enough searches and watch enough videos in a specific niche, YouTube will work its magic and give you a gold-mine of high-quality content to sift through. As they say, you wouldn’t use your dad’s Netflix channel!
It’s also worth doing a YouTube search for your competitors. See if they’ve worked with any influencers and target creators that have a similar vibe or are in the same space.
What Should My B2B Influencer Marketing Videos Look Like?
Most effective types of videos for B2B campaigns:
Work with an influencer to create a nicely produced tutorial or guide. You can get a little creative with this too. Make sure these videos are titled properly. Good examples of titles could be
- How to [Problem or question] using [your software or service]
- How to drive/generate [KPI such as revenue or leads] using [your software or service]
- Top 5 Tips when Using [Your Software or Service] to Solve [Question]
- How to use [software or service]
- [Software or Service] Tutorial
- How [Software or Service] Can Help You Solve All Your Problems
- How I’m Currently Using [Software or Service] to [Question]
- 5 Keys to Mastering [Problem] with [Software or Service]
- How I Impressed Pam from Accounting with [Software or Service]
- How [New Feature in Product] Helped Me Convert More Leads
You get the gist! Try to think of how your target customer might find your product through a google search. You’ll also want to take extra note of how the influencer you’re working with would integrate your product in their daily life. For example, if you have a productivity app, you might leverage an influencer to talk about how they organized a group trip using your product.
If your software integrates with other existing platforms, it might be worth it to create videos that combine the titles of the two products as well.
You might be asking “why can’t I just produce these videos in-house?” You could. But that takes a lot of time staring at tools like Adobe Premiere when you could be spending that time building your business instead. Influencers will be able to help you deliver quality, authentic content that doesn’t seem like a product is trying to be sold.
“Hacking” type videos
These videos are focused on the more entrepreneurial type of customer. These customers live and die by how their businesses perform on a single day. They are bootstrappers; they need immediate solutions to either solve a problem immediately or to “hack” the system to get to their result at a quicker pace.
This is the type of video that you can connect with a “business” or “tech” guru-type of influencer to create a really personal that can connect with entrepreneurial customers. Some great ideas for this type of content could be:
- How I Used [Product or Service] to Grow my Store to [x customers] in [y days]
- 5 Easy/Quick Hacks to [Solve Business Problem]
- Your product or app or service doesn’t have to be in the title, but they could be included in a list of different products
- If I could [accomplish business task] so can you
- How I 10xed My Web Traffic with [your product]
Remember, people want to see real-world examples of how your product can be used for success. Lean on those examples.
Comparison videos are also a great way to get some easy visibility for your product. All you have to do is ask the creator you’re working with to compare and contrast your established market competitor with your service. Obviously, you’ll want to make sure they stress that your product is ultimately better, so make sure that you properly train the influencer on all the great ways your product is better.
Add some sugar on top
Across all of your posts, you’ll want to add some sugar on top. Something sweet that will not only excite your creator but will entice your target customers too. Influencers — after all — want to provide value to their fans. Do your best Don Corleone impression and make them an offer they simply can’t refuse. I’ve seen tons of low-ball offers that I just roll my eyes at. For example, what am I going to do with a one-week free trial? It takes a day just to onboard properly. However, if I had an entire month to effectively make your product an essential — existential — part of my business, then I’m more likely to convert to a paying customer. That’s just an idea though.
Taking your Influencer Content a Step Further Beyond
Your campaign just doesn’t end when you publish it. You have to be like Son Goku. You have to go even further beyond. To remain competitive you must ascend to new levels.
So how can you ascend?
Repurpose your Influencer Marketing Content
Some of the most successful brands know that content is multi-channel. I’m sure you’ve heard Gary Vaynerchuck absolutely scream about this before (how does that guy still have vocal cords), but you can take one piece of longform YouTube content and chop it up into an Instagram story, a blog post, and even include it in white papers you send off to prospects.
Come to think of it there was a kernel of a great idea in Wuhpf.
License that Content for Paid Ads
If you have the budget for it, you can and should target your target customers directly with paid advertising. You can do this pretty easily if you have content on Instagram via branded content ads. However, YouTube will take a little more effort — but trust me — it’s worth it. Negotiate with your top performing influencers that are driving a lot of traffic to your site for the ability to use their content for pre-roll and mid-roll ads. With YouTube, not only can you target based on audience demographic, but you can do additional targeting based on specific YouTube channels you think your consumers are watching.
You can even retarget everyone that watched the initial video post.
Metrics for Success
How can you tell if your influencer marketing campaigns are successful? It really depends on what you’re looking for. A couple of metrics in mind to keep in mind:
- CPL – Cost per Lead
If you’re a B2B Brand you’re obviously looking to buff up that email list to target customers in drip campaigns. Is your influencer effective at driving sign-ups at your website? Are they effective at getting more people interested in your offer?
- CPC – Cost per Click
I might get some heat for this, but cost-per-click can actually be pretty valuable if you’re scheming to build some great remarketing campaigns. For what you paid your creators, are they efficient at driving clicks to your website? From there it’s up to you to look at Google Analytics and see where those visitors to your website are going and to even retarget them on YouTube, LinkedIn, or Facebook.
- CPA – Cost Per Action
Unless the content is mind-blowingly incredible, I honestly don’t think CPA is the right metric for an influencer marketing campaign. Unless you’re a master copywriter/editor and you’ve absolutely 100% nailed your targeting, no one is going to pull out their wallet as soon as they see your video to purchase your product or service. Focus on the top-of-the-funnel and let your additional content and remarketing drive your customer down the sales journey.
So, can Influencer Marketing work for your B2B brand?
I know all of the above might sound daunting, but it’s easier than it reads. Trust me, you don’t even have to do it all alone! Influencer Marketing platforms like Grapevine (I know, I have to plug my company) can do it all for you.
Whether it’s curating influencers or running effective paid promotions using content they’ve created, Grapevine has the tools and the team to help you scale your marketing campaigns.
In fact, I’ll practice what I preach and make you an offer you can’t refuse. Refer to this blog and I’ll make sure you can create one free campaign on our platform.