Influencer marketing is the business to invest in for B2C marketers today. B2B marketers, on the contrary, are a bit more reserved using influencers for their marketing strategy. And those companies which do use influencers often stick to social media platforms like LinkedIn instead of expanding their approach to other social media channels.
Why Is Influencer Marketing On Instagram Challenging For B2B Marketing?
The avoidance of the photo sharing platform by B2B Marketers probably has a few reasons. The products or services offered by B2B are often difficult to visualize or to keep in a photo shot. Hence, many marketers do not find Instagram suitable for their marketing strategy.
Secondly, Instagram is often used by companies to take customers behind-the-scenes of their daily work routine OR for employee advocacy – which is great if you are hiring but you should not stop right there!
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Moreover, people tend to associate influencer marketing with product reviews and sponsored endorsements or paid promotions. In B2C, marketers know their targets they are trying to influence to generate a purchase.
In contrast to that, in B2B the person you influence is not necessarily the buyer of the product. In fact, it is more likely that you either reach the user of the product or the end consumer of the business you are addressing.
Let’s take a software as an example: The user will apply the software in his or her daily working routine but the buyer pays the fee for the software and is, therefore, the license holder. As a consequence, the consumer decision journey is stretched over a longer period of time.
B2B vs. B2C Marketing Funnel
Ideally, the end consumer is influenced by your marketing strategy and will insist on the use of your software from a company which will then be more willing to buy a license for your software.
It would also reflect the value of your product (in our case, the software).
Influencer Marketing Is Beneficial For B2B Marketing!
Why is it still reasonable for B2B Marketers to invest in influencer marketing?
First of all, Instagram can humanize your brand! Instead of focusing on the difficulties to visualize B2B products and services, use Instagram to build a relationship between followers and your brand.
Even though your services or products are most likely bought based on rational purchase decisions, people are still affected by emotional triggers to some extent.
As a consequence of the complex and long-winded consumer decision journey, B2B Marketers often have to provide content for potential customers for months if not years until the target would potentially turn into a customer.
Therefore, many touch points need to be established between a brand and a target until a potential customer will convert into a buyer.
Influencer marketing can be part of your overall content marketing strategy to realize those touch points by creating additional value and continuously addressing potential buyers or the people (user or end-consumer) who can influence the decision maker to buy your product.
Your targets trust recommendations of other influential users!
Thus, using Instagram as a platform for a brand’s influencer marketing strategy is not a question of B2C or B2B. It is word-of-mouth, a person to person approach, valuable for both markets.
So don’t think that it is only valuable for B2C markets!
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Choose Your B2B Influencers Wisely!
Due to the fact that purchases in B2B are mainly rational, it is even more important to implement the influencer marketing strategy wisely.
“In B2B we don’t need reach, we need relevance, and we need respectability, and reliability” – Andrew Grill, Global Managing Partner at IBM
Similar to B2C, it is not enough to rely on either engagement rates or reach as main factors when choosing the perfect match influencer for your strategy. Quality rather than quantity is important!
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Hence, it is important to implement influencers that are not only good in distributing content to a large audience but are also experts in their business sector.
A Successful Influencer Marketing B2B Approach On Instagram
Adobe Photoshop implements influencer marketing in the form of Instagram takeovers. Takeovers describe the process of using someone else’s Instagram account temporarily to share content.
Therefore, the company works with professional photographers that are luckily not too hard to find on Instagram and have them post pictures edited with Adobe Photoshop on the account.
Even though influencer marketing seems more reasonable in B2C marketing at first sight, B2B marketers should not go into reverse!
The content creation for B2B influencer marketing has to be a bit more creative and exceptional but if you are working with experts in your market, it can add value to your overall content marketing strategy by continuously creating awareness.
Influencer marketing can be a new way to approach the long-winded consumer decision journey from a different perspective.