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Launch a B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign That Connects

The same prospects who ignore your traditional marketing efforts are deeply engaging with authoritative influencers in your field.

By partnering with these respected industry figures, brands can subtly enhance their visibility and keep their offerings top of mind among potential customers. This approach not only boosts brand awareness but also boosts sales in the long term.

June femme de 35 ans serrant la main d'un homme de dos en costume bleu
June femme de 35 ans serrant la main d'un homme de dos en costume bleu

Key Takeaways

  • The benefits of B2B influencer marketing: B2B influencer marketing is an important tool for reaching a wider audience and building a strong brand image. According to research by Ogilvy, 70% of B2B marketers already use influencer marketing to boost brand awareness, enhance credibility, and build long-term relationships.
  • The fruitfulness of long-term partnerships: To launch successful B2B influencer marketing campaigns, brands must identify and build lasting partnerships with the right influencers capable of reaching the right social media users. These longer campaigns provide a more significant impact on sales over time.
  • The rise of brand ambassadors: Corporate influencers, who are regular employees who share content about their work on social media platforms, are emerging as the most authentic brand ambassadors.

What Is B2B Marketing?

B2B influencer marketing involves collaborations between a brand and influencers who have audiences the brand wishes to target.

While influencer marketing was once considered a purely B2C tactic, the market has matured. Now, the term "influencers" also refers to many professional, expert voices, as well as the entertainment and lifestyle creators typically associated with the term.  

"The largest organisations often need influencers the most to help elevate the brand with new ideas, fresh energy, validated thought leadership, and creativity that pushes the brand outside the box to find unexpected ways to connect with their audience." - Debbie Friez, Associate Director, Influence & Social Media, TopRank Marketing

B2b influencer marketing stats - 2024

Oglivy reported that 75% of B2B businesses already collaborate with expert influencers, such as CEOs, academics, and doctors.

These partnerships in the B2B world typically focus on increasing visibility rather than direct sales. In fact, 84% of brands work with influencers to boost brand awareness, while 69% do so to generate leads.

Driving immediate sales is unrealistic because B2B purchasing decisions typically take months or even years to finalise. Instead, it’s about planting seeds today to reap the rewards in the near-to-distant future.

LinkedIn remains the best place to build this awareness for B2B influencer marketing, with over 80% of B2B marketers leveraging it, according to an Emarketer report. Behind it sit common B2C channels, such as TikTok, X, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

Oglivy's 2024 report also suggested that B2B brands will become more creative, using social channels like LinkedIn to transform their staff into brand ambassadors and B2B influencers. The goal will be to incentivize staff to share insider knowledge. These creators are known as "corporate influencers."

What Are Corporate Influencers?

Corporate influencers are “regular” employees who post content about their careers and share expertise on social media channels.

Corporate influencers are powerful brand ambassadors who can communicate goals and campaigns authentically with internal knowledge. These employee advocates are the B2B influencers of tomorrow.

With 61% of B2B businesses now having a TikTok account, corporate influencers help brands build their presence and show a positive working culture. They humanise the brand, become trusted experts in their field, and provide access to broader audiences.

Unlike traditional brand ambassadors, corporate influencers are not necessarily paid to promote their company’s products or services. Instead, they share their experiences and insights to educate their audiences organically and, therefore, authentically.

By showing the people behind the brand, companies can create a sense of trust and authenticity among their target audience, ultimately leading to greater brand loyalty and customer retention.

The Differences Between B2B and B2C Influencer Marketing

B2C influencer marketing tends to focus on creators on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. The primary aims are to drive sales, increase brand awareness, and create buzz around a product or service using entertainment and emotional messages.

While still partially driven by emotion, B2B decisions are usually finalised by multiple parties, making impulse purchases unlikely. Of course, this is also due to B2B purchases being more than those in B2C–a £25 T-shirt is okay for an impulse buy, but a £10,000 website upgrade is not.

As a result, the content and messaging of B2B influencer marketing tend to be more educational and informative than B2C content.

Yet, the generational shift to C-suite employees being tech-savvy millennials is causing B2B brands to adopt more B2C tactics. Already, 90% of these millennial B2B employees affect purchase decisions, and they prefer peer-to-peer content and "people-like-me" use cases.  

The Benefits of a B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy

Many B2B marketers are already choosing influencer marketing. Here are the key benefits they gain:

  • Increased brand awareness: Working with influencers with a sizable following in a particular industry or niche can help a B2B company reach new audiences and build brand awareness. This is especially useful for companies just starting out or entering a new market, and it can affect B2B purchasing decisions in the long run.

  • Improved credibility: The best influencers are seen as thought leaders in their industry, and their endorsement can increase a brand’s credibility.

  • Targeted Audience: B2B influencer marketing can help companies reach a highly targeted audience. By working with influencers in specific niches, a company can ensure its brand message reaches the right people.

  • Cost-effective: Compared to traditional advertising, B2B influencer marketing can be a more affordable option. Even though some influencers now charge a significant fee for their services, the overall cost is often lower than other forms of advertising. Fees are often flexible. This Kolsquare guide teaches you how to negotiate prices with influencers.
  • Boost lead generation: Influencers can contribute to lead generation by promoting a company’s products or services to their audience. When an influencer shares information about a product or service, it can generate buzz and leads for the company.

  • Increased engagement: KOLs who create engaging and informative will have an engaged target audience. By working with an influencer to create B2B content, a company can access their followers where they are already interested, boosting the chance of building strong relationships.

Overall, B2B influencer marketing can be an effective way for companies to build brand credibility, show thought leadership, and reach their target audiences meaningfully.

That said, the best influencer marketing should result in both parties benefiting from the partnership, with the KOL (key opinion leader) also reaching their targets for the collaboration.

B2B Influencer Marketing Trends

Several B2B marketing trends are currently shaping the industry. Some of the most notable ones are:

  • Personalisation: B2B buyers, like B2C consumers, now seek personalised experiences that address their specific needs and problems. For a B2B audience, this may be even more important, as buying decisions are slow. That’s why account-based marketing, in which a company targets one specific prospect, is growing as a way to target and engage prospective customers.

  • Artificial Intelligence: AI is used in B2B marketing to automate processes, analyse data, and deliver personalised experiences.

  • Video marketing: Video content is becoming increasingly popular in B2B marketing, as it allows companies to showcase their products and services engagingly. Established B2B brands like Hubspot and Microsoft now have active TikTok accounts.

  • Sustainability: Environmental awareness is rising and increasingly affecting B2B purchasing decisions, as 63% of B2B buyers say that improving sustainability in their buys is a top goal. As a result, brands can use influencer marketing to communicate how they are increasing sustainability in their production line or supporting the climate.

  • Virtual events: Webinars or online meetings are an effective strategy for engaging with other companies—and potential customers—in a professional and resource-efficient way. Inviting influencers to these events can generate buzz on social media and cement a brand as credible and authentic.

How to Launch an Effective B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign

Creating effective B2B influencer marketing campaigns requires a well-thought-out strategy aligned with your goals and target audience.

Below are some key considerations for developing a B2B influencer campaign:

  • Establish clear messages and goals: A B2B influencer campaign should have a clear messaging strategy that aligns with the brand’s goals and target audience. Communications should be consistent across all content and channels, and the brand’s value proposition and unique selling points must be clearly conveyed.

  • Ensure transparency and authenticity: Transparency and authenticity are critical in B2B influencer marketing. It is important to disclose all sponsored content and ensure the influencers’ recommendations are based on their genuine beliefs and experiences. This helps build trust with the target audience and avoid potential ethical issues.

  • Measure success: Establish relevant metrics and track them over time to assess your B2B influencer marketing campaign. Metrics can include engagement rates, reach, conversion rates, and ROI. By measuring the campaign's success, brands can adjust their strategy and optimise future campaigns to achieve better results.

In summary, developing effective B2B influencer campaigns requires careful planning and execution. By identifying the right influencers for genuine campaigns, setting clear messages and goals, ensuring transparency and authenticity, and measuring success, brands can create campaigns that resonate with their target audience and drive results.

How Do You Find the Right B2B Influencers?

Once you have defined your objectives and the topics you want to master, you can look for creators with these key qualities:

  • Relevance: The influencers should be relevant to your brand and industry. Look for creatives who specialise in your niche and know your target audience well.

  • Topic Expertise: Select influencers who are true experts in their field and have a reputation for offering valuable insight and thought leadership. Their credibility and authority can help establish your brand as a leader in the industry. This point is quite important because your B2B target audience will most likely be more knowledgeable than other consumers.
  • Target demographics: Make sure the demographics of your influencer audience match those of your target audience. Analyse followers to determine if they match your ideal profile, including age, gender, location, and job title.
  • Engagement rate: Consider the engagement rate, which has become even more important than the sheer number of followers. High engagement rates indicate that the audience is actively engaging with the creator’s content, which can increase the likelihood that your brand’s message will be seen and acted upon.
  • Previous collaborations: Look at the influencers’ previous collaborations with other brands or consider extending your partnerships. Review the track record and decide who is best for your campaign.

Finding these influencers is one of the biggest challenges, so many B2B brands seek help from an influencer marketing platform.

What is the best influencer marketing platform for B2B?

There isn’t really a “best” marketing platform. When deciding, consider:

  • Target Audience: Understanding your ideal customer's demographics and social media habits will help determine which platforms to target for influencer partnerships.
  • Budget: Platform fees and influencer compensation can vary. Consider your budget constraints when selecting a platform.
  • Features: Look for features that streamline your workflow, such as influencer discovery tools, campaign management dashboards, and analytics reporting.
  • Social Listening: Can the tool provide benchmarking and reports on your position in the industry? Additionally, social listening helps you keep on top of trends in the B2B space.

Kolsquare is a data-driven influencer marketing platform that helps brands connect with their target audiences.

Its AI-driven search engine helps you find influencers fast. Rather than creating spreadsheets and devoting hours to research, quickly search topics and set filters to pinpoint influencers who are credible, engaging, and a good fit for your campaign. You can handle all these relationships on one interface, cutting operational complexity, even for large campaigns.
Kolsquare will also give you intelligent reports that help you to assess and optimise your campaign.

The result? Effective campaigns elevate you as an industry thought leader and boost profits long-term.

There's no need to make a commitment right away, simply book a demo and try it for yourself.  

What is a B2B influencer marketing agency?

An alternative to a platform is an agency. B2B influencer marketing agencies specialise in connecting businesses with influencers who operate in professional and industry-specific spheres.

These agencies help companies enhance their brand presence among other businesses by leveraging influencers with significant credibility and authority in specific sectors. The goal is to drive targeted engagement and generate leads by influencing decision-makers within relevant industries.

Agencies offer a more hands-on approach and can take over the entire campaign end-to-end.

What is the future of B2B influencer marketing?

As demographics shift, B2B influencer marketing will likely adopt more B2C marketing styles.

This will result in personality becoming more important in the B2B sphere, with brands continuing to launch podcasts, run webinars, and create content with engaging influencers.

In addition to choosing captivating speakers, companies will increasingly leverage their employees as relatable brand advocates on social media platforms.

Building genuine relationships with influencers will be crucial for maintaining authenticity and transparency in influencer content.

More brands will take alternative approaches to stand out, such as Squarespace’s fashion-brand tactics. Squarespace previously wanted to appeal solely to creative businesses, like designers and photographers, but it has now realised that it needs to spark new conversations to continue growing.

Squarespace’s chief creative officer, David Lee, said, “We look for inspiration outside of our sector and our category because if we look at our competitors, everything will start looking the same.”

B2B Influencer Marketing Case Studies

Exploring real-world case studies offers invaluable insights into strategies' practical application and impact across various industries.

Here are a few successful B2B influencer marketing campaigns:

B2B Influencer Marketing Example 1: Salesforce

Few businesses can compete with Salesforce's domination of its market. In 2023, it was the most popular customer relationship management tool for the 10th year running, with an outstanding 23% of the market--four times more than its competitors.

Salesforce's marketers understand how to monopolise important conversations. One way it does this is by encouraging anybody in its ecosystem to become an influencer. These corporate advocates—often employees—post informative and educational content across every platform, including Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok.

In addition, Salesforce delivers "Trailblazer" hoodies to employees who make a difference. These employees often share unboxing content and videos while wearing the hoodies.

Salesforce also rewards its most devoted creators, designating them "MVPs" after significant contributions to the community—a tactic also used by Microsoft and Tableau.

Salesforce Ben is an example of an MVP. He has a community of creators who share updates and information about Salesforce through blogs, YouTube videos, LinkedIn posts, and Instagram content. They have over 100,000 followers on LinkedIn and 19,000 on YouTube.

The Salesforce community has grown significantly, and they now have over 30 community events worldwide, including Midwest Dreamin, Dreamforce Vietnam, and London's Calling. These events generate buzz about Salesforce and humanise the brand.

B2B Influencer Marketing Example 2: IBM

IBM partnered with India’s leading fashion designer, Gaurav Gupta, who is known for dramatic and sculptural designs. IBM provided him with its Watson AI platform to create a unique sari, a traditional Southeast Asian garment. The combination of technology and aesthetics with a renowned company and designer worked well.

The campaign certainly put IBM in the spotlight for some talent in the Indian IT industry, while the ROI doesn’t tell a great success story. Results included an article in Indian Vogue and one in the Indian tech magazine Gadgets 360°.

B2B Influencer Marketing Example 3: SAP

Another example is the collaboration between SAP and supermodel Karlie Kloss for the “Code with Klossy” project. The goal of the campaign was to promote women’s interest in the IT industry through Klossy’s alter ego as a “nerd”.

The campaign regularly generated content and reached a wide audience through Karlie Kloss’s huge popularity and presence on typically B2C channels and platforms.

SAP also went even further and invited the model, along with numerous celebrities, to participate in a virtual “Take Your Child to Work Day” event under the hashtag #SAP4KIDS. This campaign was quite successful and resulted in over 100,000 clicks and a strong recruitment of future talent.

Influencer Marketing for B2B on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a powerful platform for B2B influencer marketing campaigns because it allows companies to connect with a wide range of thought leaders, industry experts, and potential B2B customers. With over 700 million members, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, making it ideal for companies looking to build relationships and become thought leaders in their industry.

One key benefit of using LinkedIn for B2B influencer marketing is its targeting capabilities. Companies can use LinkedIn to find and connect with influencers who have relevant expertise and a strong following within their target audience. This can ensure that influencer content reaches the right people, which can be particularly beneficial for niche industries or specialised services.

In addition to targeting capabilities, LinkedIn also offers several tools and features to support B2B influencer campaigns. For example, companies can use LinkedIn’s messaging tools to communicate directly. In addition, they can also use LinkedIn’s group feature to connect with potential customers and participate in industry-specific discussions.

Another important aspect of B2B influencer marketing on LinkedIn is the need for transparency and authenticity. LinkedIn users are typically looking for informative, educational content that adds value rather than overtly promotional messages. Companies need to ensure that influencer content aligns with their brand values and goals as well as clearly disclose relationships or sponsorships with influencers.

The success of B2B influencer marketing campaigns on LinkedIn can be measured by several metrics, including engagement rates, click-through rates, and lead generation. By tracking these metrics, companies can gain insights into the effectiveness of their campaigns and make adjustments as needed to improve their ROI.

Overall, LinkedIn is a valuable platform for B2B influencer marketing campaigns and offers a range of tools and targeting features to help businesses engage with influencers and reach their target audience.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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