Influencers are the latest buzz topic in the field of marketing and communications, and my latest ideation around that is ‘how does it translate from B2C brands to B2B’ and what is most effective.
Quick dictionary definition- “Influencer marketing” is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people and organisations, my cynical side is saying it’s basically buying posts from people who have taken years to build up thousands or hundreds of thousands of followers! Case and point Kylie Jenner making $1m per post…! But when it’s comes to marketing a business though, there are tried and tested methods that work.
Some more background; the levels of influencers are named as follows: Mega: 1 million + followers, Macro: 100,000- 1 million followers, Micro: 10,000- 100,000 followers and Nano: 10,000 or less followers.
‘Influencer relations’ is different, it’s about building relationships specifically and the purpose isn’t always brand to the influencer, it can be fans, partners, or clients or having banter on twitter with another football fan for example.
In the world of B2C, PR agencies and departments are wanting influencers to endorse their brands and will pay money for that to happen. Contracts are usually drawn up following an agreed brief, more details below as you read on.
As I’m interested in how the negotiation works and set-up of brands and instagrammers words, I’ve gone out to some accounts I follow and asked for their opinions and insights. The results were so mixed and the ASA’s rules came up, they have only defined certain aspects of influencer marketing (see link) so a lot is still unclear. The most succinct description communicated was as follows: An #AD was always paid for, but #Gifted and #PR samples are given (free) but in return for content, that content would have to be approved by the brand prior to posting. There’s usually a written brief, key messages and hashtags, photographic style and comments, tags and timing that need to be used and final approval needed.
Interestingly sometimes, so I’ve been told, brands don’t always like the photos or copy and demand changes or reject the content, even though the influencer has thousands of posts in the same style shown publicly on their feeds. It’s disappointing that fees are being discussed before thorough research is being conducted.
In the B2B sector, I believe influencer marketing is defined in a variety of ways, yet all publications and articles state how incredibly important it is to every marketing mix and that it should be a big part of every marketing strategy. It’s another channel that needs careful consideration and its own internal discussion and planning. One article I read, defined B2B influencer marketing as ‘an area of marketing that focuses on working with key leaders to drive or showcase a brand message. It is also often said that influencer marketing B2C gets results within 30 days, but B2B can be six to twelve months.
Some opinions are that the main audience groups for B2B influencer marketing are your clients and your team, whereas others have discussed credible industry experts adding value to your content. Your clients and your employees are two massive ‘influencer’ audiences who can or will speak volumes for you- can they succinctly discuss your business’ values and best case studies? I think that all three of the above audience groups (customers, team and credible industry experts) need to be communicated to clearly in order for them to repeat the messaging to their networks, but for your business to be actually doing influencer marketing – I think one-to-one business to market expert communication – is the definition of B2B influencer marketing.
I also believe it could be argued that it isn’t a new section of your marketing strategy, and it’s something all businesses are doing anyway but now it’s a topic that needs focus and it will, in time, reward your business.
The topic can be boiled down to really excellent communication; using word of mouth well and spot-on content marketing to generate buzz. This is something I hope all businesses are currently doing, and it is also something I’m able to help with, I wrote an earlier blog on communication here too.
Something I learned in my early days of sales is that ‘people buy from people’. I’m Zara Deegan, Founder and Director of EXT MKTG, get in touch for more views and insights into marketing your business or brand.