B2B Influencer Marketing: What Works in 2022?

June 29th, 2022

Although influencer marketing had been catching on for a while, B2B businesses were slow to warm up to it. B2C brands have experienced enormous success by using influencer marketing to push product promotion and sales.

For B2B brands, however, successful influencer marketing can take slightly different forms. They can leverage influencers for thought leadership, boosting brand perception, and consulting to test and launch products. Influencers can help businesses get better outreach by engaging with audiences from a position of authenticity, creativity, and expertise.

In the B2B world, influencer marketing is more about relationships and branding than lead generation. Which shouldn’t be surprising since brands look for influencers who have an engaged following and are in a position to share and advocate for the brand.

With more than 38% of B2B brands exploring influencer marketing as an excellent means of lead generation, it is set to become a conventional approach. This is for the simple reason that people are more likely to trust experts more than ads.

So, let’s get a sense of which trends will come out on top in the B2B influencer marketing space.

Influencers’ Influence on Sales

The role of the influencer is no more limited to creating content for a business. A major change in 2022 is how businesses will use influencers to drive their sales. This can be done by integrating influencers within sales calls, meetings, and conferences to increase the overall engagement process of marketing a business. They can even be compensated based on the number of sales.

Budget Allocation

With influencer marketing taking center stage in lead generation, it’s not enough for marketing teams to allocate only the excess resources to this segment. Instead, dedicated budgeting and planning are required to execute it effectively.

Experts predict a rise in spending with several businesses reallocating a percentage of their PR budget towards B2B influencer marketing this year. Notably, a report by Hubspot reveals that 59% of the respondents already have a separate budget for content marketing, while 75% of them now plan to dedicate a budget to influencer marketing.

Choosing Quality Over Quantity

Collaborating on a one-time basis for a particular product marketing is not relevant anymore. Brands and influencers are now preferring a long-term engagement, which means choosing to stick with current clients for a longer duration than working with several new clients without any relationship building.

A by-product of this approach is better co-creation of content due to the developed relationship and a deeper understanding of the brand. It also opens up the opportunity for brands to make their influencer partners permanent by offering positions such as creative directors or content marketing directors. Even other stakeholders of a business, for instance, sponsors find long-term relationships reassuring and beneficial.

B2B Leaders on Social Media Platforms

We’ve witnessed the trend of business leaders being impressively active on social media, sharing their views and ideas. This has become popular thanks to platforms such as LinkedIn where conversations and knowledge sharing are highlighted and encouraged to reach a huge population of the professional world.

In 2022, as these leaders are starting to realize the significance of online presence and how it influences the performances of their businesses, many, in a way, will themselves become influencers.

Even employees of the organization can contribute to the brand’s marketing as they are directly linked to the brand and have the power to influence people across sectors. Combining this employee advocacy with the influencer marketing strategy gives far increased direct outreach to the potential customers.

The Right Influencer

You may say, an influencer is an influencer. But selecting the right influencer for your business is important. For example, choosing to collaborate with an influencer who is a Subject Matter Expert(SME) with an authentic voice will bring in better results as opposed to going with an influencer, say, with the highest number of social media followers. So look for influencers that best fit your marketing needs instead of blindly hunting for the most influential ones.

Humanizing Content

More and more businesses this year will be seen sharing stories and testimonies of their brands, connecting on a deeper level with potential clients. This connection and story-telling will also be reflected in B2B influencer content no matter the medium, be it blogs, videos, or even podcasts  The brand’s content development will thus be natural and in a gradual fashion.

Partnering Based on Similar Value Systems

Just as end-users are conscious about the brands they choose to stand for, influencers too, expect to associate with brands they believe in or share values such as diversity and representation. This paves way for better trust and relationships moving forward.

Also, the collaboration of brands and influencers with similar values or belief systems makes the content that much more authentic and compelling, as it now comes from a place of trust and shared vision.

Integrating More Technology

The inclusion of new and advanced technology such as Augmented Reality (AR) into influencer marketing will gain more traction this year. Brands can use influencers and technology to create an experience with their product for their potential clients to connect with virtually.

More and more companies in 2022 are starting to invest in AR for an enhanced customer experience and an increase in sales. IKEA is one such brand offering its users the option to virtually try out their products through the brand’s app. The customer only needs to take a picture of their room with their iPhones and select the furniture they wish to try. They can even move around the selected product to decide the best spot for their furniture.

A More Structured Influencer Industry

The influencer market has matured as an industry and now emerging into a more recognizable and structured form, with specific positions and types of influencers on the market. They are also categorized based on the size of their followers as mega, macro, mid-tier, micro, and nano influencers.

What’s new is the categorization of influencers based on the preference of content format or medium. Not all influencers enjoy doing the same type of marketing. Some may prefer speaking at events to blogging or vice versa. So, approaching influencers with the medium of content they like and matching it with your business needs will be a good idea to start with.

Summing Up

2022 is the year to focus on building long-term client relationships, investing in the right-fit influencer, and developing content that speaks to the potential customers directly and genuinely.

Partnering with influencers drives sales, no doubt. But this shouldn’t be the main focus of the marketing team of the business.

Technology combined with trusted voices in the industry creates a phenomenal experience journey for the potential customer.

Introducing a human touch or the art of storytelling into your content marketing connects with the crowd on a deeper level.

Done right, brands will benefit significantly from B2B influencer marketing, thus generating leads and attracting more business.

References

18 Influencer Marketing Trends to Watch in 2022 (influencermarketinghub.com)

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