When you think of influencer marketing, what do you envision? Maybe a video featuring a Kardashian telling the audience how great a new eyeliner is, how it can reduce wrinkles, and how it stays on your eyes like asphalt sticks to earth?
If this makes you and your brand cringe, you’re not alone. Celebrity endorsements may not be translatable to every business, especially if you market a B2B product or service. But before you disregard influencer marketing entirely, consider the variety of flavors it comes in. It could be an effective component of your integrated marketing strategy.
Put simply, an influencer is someone who has power to affect others. The power derives from popularity, experience, reputation or even likability. Influencers can advance (or take down) a brand, a cause, a product or service.
While celebrities usually come to mind when you hear ‘influencer marketing’, influencers (micro, macro, nano) can be thought leaders and subject-matter experts of all shapes and sizes. Each of these categories has a different reach, volume of relevant content and level of engagement with their followers.
Whatever the level of the influencer, the goals are similar – driving brand awareness, product exposure, site traffic and/or sales. By using their own words in a native channel, voice, and style, influencers can quite literally make things happen.
A few tips to get started on your influencer strategy:
- Read up. There are some great resources online. You can learn a lot from this LinkedIn Learning course or a blog (check out Monday.com’s post and video on B2B IM strategy). Through the Influencer Marketing Hub, you’ll find an IM overview and some really insightful content.
- Find the right influencer. Engaging an influencer feels more natural for B2C companies. Since B2B companies don’t typically focus on emotional selling, a well-loved celebrity may not have the professional credibility that a well-known industry expert or one of your customers would. Whom would your target buyers trust to be a champion of your service?
- Know what you’re asking for and what it might cost. Are you looking for a one-time social media post to support a promotion? A multi-channel campaign that stretches over time? Or an exclusive brand ambassador arrangement? Each of these scenarios has different requirements, effort, cost and impact. Choose wisely.
- Collaborate with your influencer. Remain true to your brand, but understand that the influencer knows what voice, style, and language will appeal to their audience. Reaching their audience is your goal.
Looking for examples? Check out these lists of top B2B and B2C influencer campaigns. After you’ve been inspired by those campaigns, treat yourself to a laugh with some of the most epic influencer marketing fails in recent history. It may not be surprising to see that the world “shamous” Fyre Festival made the list, but the story is fascinating.
A successful influencer campaign comes down to authenticity, relationships, engagement and trust. You don’t have to sell eyeliner for this channel to be a successful part of your marketing strategy.