Does B2B influencer marketing work?
We asked marketers that question for our new 2022 B2B Influencer Marketing Report. The result: 86% said their programs were either moderately or very successful.
But what’s more interesting is how the marketers we surveyed are defining success.
We tend to think of influencer marketing as a top-of-funnel tactic. While it’s definitely effective for raising awareness and building credibility, the benefits don’t stop there.
Here are four surprising benefits that B2B marketers are seeing with smart influencer marketing.
#1 — Lead Gen & Revenue
Influencer marketing can bring in prospects to your brand, even without having the influencer endorse your solution or give a sales pitch. In fact, over half of our respondents said their influencer program is directly responsible for generating new leads. What’s more, 33% said they can directly attribute revenue to their program.
To effectively use influencer content for lead gen, don’t create an amazing asset and then lock it behind a gate. Influencers will be less likely to amplify gated content, since they’re giving their followers extra work to see the good stuff.
Instead, let your central asset go free and offer a value-add behind a gate. It could be a downloadable PDF, a checklist, template, or even a deeper dive piece of content aimed at a specific vertical.
If you must gate an influencer asset, make sure to put it on a robust landing page that features your influencers’ content and profiles. That way, you can have your lead gen and influencer amplification, too.
#2 — Customer Relationships
Influencer marketing can bring more customers to your brand. Beyond that, it can help strengthen your relationship with your existing customers. Our research found that nearly half of respondents are looking to their customer base for part of their influencer mix.
Your customers may not have hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, but they have priceless practical experience. Including them in your influencer content helps enrich the content, increases your credibility, and contributes to your customers’ success.
#3 — Executive & Employee Morale
Your employees and executives can also get a boost from appearing in your influencer content. For executives, it helps build their thought leadership and credibility in the industry — direct benefits to their careers that can be directly attributed to the marketing department.
Featuring employees in the content brings in more practical experience, helps humanize your brand and promote your corporate culture, and makes employees feel seen and valued.
All told, 56% of our respondents are looking to executives for influencer content, and 46% are tapping employees as influencers. All of these internal influencers can make your content better, and including them can improve morale and strengthen relationships.
#4 — Community Building
Speaking of relationship-building, you can use ongoing influencer programs to create a community of influencers. You can introduce influencers to each other, your most valued customers, and even your brand executives. Give them a space to bounce ideas off of each other and offer opportunities for them to connect in person or on video calls.
An influencer community benefits everyone involved:
- It contributes to overall success: 100% of respondents with always-on influencer engagement said their program was successful
- Influencers have the opportunity to network and brainstorm with other industry leaders
- Executives can participate in the conversation and build their own credibility and influence
- All of these conversations can generate more cool content to fuel your next asset
It’s Time to Level Up Your B2B Influence
Influencer marketing for B2B is on the rise. Seventy-three percent of our respondents report an increase in interest over the past year, while 80% said they expect interest to continue to grow for the next year and beyond.
It’s time for B2B marketers to approach influencer marketing with more strategy, greater discipline, and dedicated, ongoing effort. Our research shows that always-on programs with documented strategy are more likely to be successful than one-off campaigns.