Get ready to capture customer clicks, scrolls, mentions, and double taps in the thriving $21.1 billion global influencer market with your own B2B influencer marketing strategy. It's possible to build engaging, authentic, and wildly successful B2B influencer campaigns to connect with your customers where they're already hanging out online.
Throughout this guide, we'll explore how you can find the right B2B influencers, cultivate authentic relationships, collaborate on engaging content, build inspiring thought leadership content, and measure the impact of your influencer campaigns. We'll also cover best practices for running campaigns on each platform, from LinkedIn to YouTube and beyond.
👉 What you’ll find:
- The major benefits of B2B influencer marketing
- How to find B2B influencers
- Best practices for B2B influencer campaigns
- The best social media platforms for B2B campaigns
- The future of B2B influencer marketing
- How to automate your influencer marketing
What is B2B influencer marketing?
B2B influencer marketing is a way to promote your products or services through influential individuals who already have a dedicated following online. These social media influencers act as affiliate partners for your business, driving awareness about your brand and generating leads within your partner ecosystem.
B2B influencers are trusted experts, thought leaders, and they can be incredibly powerful drivers of credibility for your brand. Consider these B2B influencer marketing stats:
- Businesses earn $5.20 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing, but some generate as high as $20 per dollar spent
- It's working for the vast majority of marketers using it—86% of B2B brands have found success with influencer marketing
- 50% of B2B buyers say they rely on industry thought leaders and influencers to stay up-to-date on trends and developments in their field
- 88% of global respondents trust recommendations more than any other marketing channel
These statistics highlight the growing importance and effectiveness of B2B influencer marketing in driving brand awareness, customer engagement, and business growth.
What are B2B influencer marketing benefits?
Tap into the pulse of social media with the vibrant energy of B2B influencer marketing. By partnering with influential individuals, you can get those clicks, inspire activity, and fuel engagement across various social media platforms. These are the major benefits:
- Reach new audiences: Influencers have a dedicated following that trusts their opinions, allowing you to connect with a highly engaged audience
- Increase social reach: Partnering with influencers can boost your social media engagement and bring in new followers
- Improve brand credibility and visibility: Partnering with industry influencers can position your brand as an authority and attract attention from key decision-makers, and also increase its visibility in your target market
- Drive leads: Influencer marketing has a proven track record of generating high ROIs by attracting high-quality leads and converting them into customers
- Grow together: Collaborating with influencers can lead to ongoing partnerships and growing faster, together
- Leverage niche expertise: B2B influencers often specialize in specific industries, markets, or niches, allowing you to tap into their expertise and knowledge
- Build great content: Influencers are skilled content creators, and they can create high-quality content, like research reports or other thought leadership content, that aligns with your brand and resonates with your audience
- Measurable results: Influencer marketing campaigns can be tracked and measured using relevant partnership metrics
B2B influencer marketing offers targeted reach, enhanced credibility, increased visibility, and measurable results, that can all contribute to greater the growth and success of your B2B marketing efforts.
What's the difference between B2B and B2C influencer marketing?
While B2B and B2C influencer marketing share similarities, there are key differences in their approach, size, and scope. In the B2B space, the decision-making process is often more complex and involves multiple stakeholders. B2B influencers excel in industry expertise, thought leadership, and delivering educational content that provides value to their audience.
For example, in the cybersecurity space, B2B influencers could be experts, industry analysts, and technology leaders who share their knowledge and insights to educate and empower other professionals in the field. Their content focuses on addressing specific cybersecurity challenges, emerging threats, and industry best practices. These influencers play a crucial role in raising awareness about data privacy, risk management, and the latest cybersecurity technologies, helping businesses stay protected in the digital landscape.
On the other hand, B2C influencer marketing caters to a broader consumer base and typically focuses on lifestyle and personal recommendations. Both approaches leverage the expertise and influence of influencers to drive brand awareness and engagement, but in different ways that align with their respective target markets.
It's important to note that while B2C influencer marketing is well-known, there is also a rising trend of D2C (direct-to-consumer) influencer marketing. In the D2C space, influencers engage with consumers, promoting products or services to a wider audience. These influencers often focus on lifestyle, fashion, beauty, or fitness niches, where they share personal experiences and recommendations that resonate with their followers.
Are there B2B influencers?
Without a doubt, B2B influencers are a force to be reckoned with in the world of marketing. These influential individuals have cemented their status as experts in their respective industries, earning the trust and admiration of a dedicated following.
By collaborating with influential figures in your industry, you can leverage their knowledge, credibility, and extensive networks to amplify your brand's reach in the B2B space. These influencers have built their reputations through years of experience and dedication to their respective fields, making them valuable partners in your influencer marketing journey.
When it comes to B2B influencer marketing, you'll find a diverse range of professionals who can propel your brand forward. For example, in the channel space, ecosystem leaders look to analysts like Jay McBain or experts like Diane Krakora for the latest insights into the ever-evolving world of partnerships.
B2B influencers come in various forms, though, each offering unique perspectives and expertise. Beyond social media, you'll find B2B influencers hosting webinars, talking on podcasts, or presenting at industry events. As we'll discuss next, it pays to take the time to identify influencers who align with your brand values, target audience, and industry niche.
How to find B2B influencers
It all starts with the influencer! Like any partnership, you're looking for a great partner to grow your business with. You'll start by researching industry experts on different platforms and spaces, and then evaluating their influence based on a few key metrics.
Start your search for B2B influencers in your industry in the following places:
- Industry reports, whitepapers, and research
- YouTube channels
- Social media platforms (YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, etc.)
- Industry-related podcasts
- Published books your target audience reads
- Leading publications and blogs
- Industry-related email newsletters
- Professional webinars
- Online forums and communities, like on Slack or Reddit
- Industry-specific Facebook or LinkedIn groups
- Industry conferences and trade shows
- Online review platforms and directories
- Industry-relevant hashtags and keywords
- Industry publications and blogs
- Recommendations from peers and colleagues
- University or college programs related to your industry
Remember to adapt your search strategy based on your specific industry and target audience, though, as different industries may have unique platforms and channels where influencers are active.
Define your target audience
Defining your ideal customer profile is crucial for identifying the right influencers who resonate with your brand and target audience. Research your audience by:
- Identifying the specific pain points that your target audience faces in their day-to-day operations, such as inefficient processes or lack of scalability
- Researching the interests and preferences of your audience, including the technologies, tools, or strategies they are interested in adopting or learning about
- Understanding the aspirations and goals of your target audience, such as achieving cost savings, improving productivity, or staying ahead of industry trends
Conducting this research can help you identify influencers who specialize in addressing pain points commonly faced by your customers. For instance, in manufacturing, you'd begin looking for influencers who talk about process optimization, supply chain management, or implementing advanced technologies like IoT and automation.
Research industry experts
Next, dive into industry-specific networks to discover individuals who have established themselves as experts in your field. These experts possess deep industry knowledge and credibility, making them influential voices. See our list above for places to look for influencers, but in general, you'll find them by:
- Exploring major industry publications, both online and offline, that your target audience follows to stay informed about the latest trends, news, and best practices
- Noting industry events, conferences, or webinars that your target audience attends or participates in, as these can be potential opportunities for influencer collaborations
- Engaging in online groups, LinkedIn groups, subreddits, forums, or communities where your target audience actively seeks advice, shares insights, and discusses industry-related topics
For example, in the fintech industry, you could look for influencers who have expertise in emerging financial technology, digital banking, investment strategies, or cryptocurrency. Watch for influencers who actively share insights, provide valuable content, and have a strong presence in fintech-related publications, events, and online communities.
In these spaces, you'll begin to find influencers who can help you reach your target audience effectively, build credibility, and drive greater customer engagement.
Leverage influencer marketing platforms
You can also take advantage of influencer marketing platforms tailored for B2B. These platforms connect brands with influencers, making it easier to find B2B influencers who have a strong presence in your industry and who are looking for companies to partner with.
These platforms typically provide access to professionals and thought leaders across various sectors. Explore the platforms, review influencer profiles, and assess their audience engagement and expertise to identify potential partners.
Engage with potential influencers
Start with authenticity and show genuine excitement in their content. Follow potential influencers on social media, subscribe to their newsletters, and actively engage with their content by liking, sharing, and commenting.
By demonstrating interest and providing value through insightful comments or questions, you can start the conversation and build a rapport that lays the foundation for future collaborations.
Evaluate their influence
Consider various indicators to gauge an influencer's impact and relevance within your industry. To determine if they'd be great partners, look at their:
- Audience demographics, such as their geographical location, industry, job titles, and interests, to ensure they align with your target audience
- Audience engagement metrics, such as the average number of comments, shares, and click-through rates on content
- Quality of engagement, looking at the depth and meaningfulness of interactions between the influencer and their audience
- Influence beyond social media, such as their involvement in industry events, speaking engagements, or partnerships with reputable brands
- Relevance and consistency of their content, ensuring that it aligns with your industry, business goals, and target audience's interests
- Follower growth rate, indicating the influencer's ability to attract and retain an engaged audience over time
- Authenticity and transparency in their collaborations and sponsored content, ensuring they maintain trust with their audience
- Track record of delivering measurable results for previous brand collaborations, such as increased website traffic, lead generation, or sales conversions
- Accessibility and responsiveness, considering their willingness and ability to engage with brands and their audience in a timely manner
- Overall reputation, as well as industry recognitions, awards or honors, and previous successful collaborations
By considering these metrics and indicators, you can make more informed decisions when selecting B2B influencers and find those who are a perfect fit for your brand.
How to use influencer marketing for B2B campaigns
Once you've found a few B2B influencer partners, it's time to take your efforts to the next level by building out a full B2B influencer marketing campaign.
This section will guide you through the steps to effectively leverage influencer marketing. From setting clear objectives to setting up authentic relationships, you can harness the power of influencer partnerships.
Define your objectives
Clearly outline your goals for your B2B influencer marketing campaigns. This could include:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Generating leads
- Establishing thought leadership within your community
Then, figure out the right metrics. For instance, if your objective is brand awareness, track new followers, social media reach, impressions, and brand mentions. If lead generation is your focus, you could measure the number of qualified leads generated through influencer campaigns.
Cultivate genuine relationships
Building authentic connections with influencers is crucial for long-term success. Offer value by providing industry insights, relevant resources, or opportunities for collaboration. Show genuine interest in their work by attending their webinars, participating in discussions, or inviting them as guest speakers at your events.
By nurturing these relationships, you can establish trust and credibility, paving the way for fruitful collaborations.
Set up the right incentives
When selecting incentives for your B2B influencer program, consider what will motivate these affiliate partners to promote your products or services.
You can offer monetary incentives, such as commissions or bonuses based on sales. Non-monetary incentives like exclusive access to resources, early product releases, or personalized promotional materials can also be enticing. Align your incentives with the interests of your influencers and ensure they support your business goals to foster strong and successful partnerships.
🔎 Discover more: With a tool like Impartner, you can automate lead tracking for your influencers with personalized affiliate links that sync up seamlessly with your PRM!
Put together a fair influencer agreement
When collaborating with influencers, it's important to establish clear expectations and guidelines from the start. Create an influencer agreement that:
- Outlines the exact terms and success metrics for the campaign
- Defines the scope of work, content requirements, and any exclusivity arrangements
- Includes compensation details, such as payment terms or incentives per lead
By setting these expectations upfront, you establish a transparent and fair partnership that benefits both parties. Regularly communicate and review the progress of the campaign to ensure alignment and make any necessary adjustments along the way.
🔎 Discover more: Easily set up and onboard your new affiliate partners with our free affiliate partner agreement template. Download it now!
Act authentically and with transparency
Maintaining authenticity in influencer collaborations is crucial for building trust with your audience. Collaborate with influencers who genuinely believe in your products or services and share the same values as your brand.
When working together, ensure that influencers disclose their partnership with your brand to their audience. Transparency strengthens the credibility of your collaborations and enhances the trust your audience places in your brand.
For example, a B2B sustainability tech company could partner with influential environmental advocates and eco-conscious bloggers. They would want to emphasize transparency by clearly disclosing their partnerships and highlighting their shared commitment to environmental stewardship.
Collaborate on content creation
Work closely with influencers to co-create content that resonates with your target audience and delivers value.
Leverage their expertise to address your audience's pain points and provide valuable insights. Engage in brainstorming sessions to generate creative ideas and develop content that aligns with both your brand message and the influencer's unique perspective. Find content that you're both excited to create.
You'll be building social content together, of course, but also think bigger with thought leadership type content, including:
- Website blogs
- Research reports
- White papers
For instance, a B2B HR software company could work with influential HR industry writers to co-create an eBook on the future of remote work. By leveraging the influencers' knowledge and insights, the company could create valuable content that positions them as thought leaders in the HR tech space and establishes credibility among their target audience.
Leverage the right platforms
Explore various social media platforms, blogs, newsletter, podcasts, and other avenues to maximize your reach and engagement. Each platform offers unique opportunities to connect with your target audience. Then, tailor your influencer campaigns to suit the strengths and preferences of each platform.
For example, as we'll look at below, LinkedIn may be the best fit for sharing thought leadership content, while Instagram or YouTube can be suitable for visual or video-based campaigns. By diversifying your approach and leveraging multiple platforms, you can expand your reach and engage with your audience across different channels.
However, remember that you are not required to use every platform. Find the places where your existing and future target audience is and play to your strengths. Running campaigns on all platforms poorly is less effective than nailing it on two to three core platforms, like LinkedIn and your website.
Measure and analyze results
From the start, measure relevant metrics such as engagement rates, social media followers, website traffic, lead generation, and conversion rates to assess the impact of influencer-generated content.
Use analytics tools and social media monitoring platforms to track and analyze the performance of your campaigns. By gaining insights into the success of your influencer collaborations, you can identify areas for improvement, refine your strategies, and optimize your influencer selection process.
Prove out ROI
Determining the true impact and ROI of influencer marketing can be challenging but crucial for justifying your efforts with influencers.
Use tools like UTM parameters, custom referral codes, or dedicated landing pages to attribute conversions directly to influencer efforts. By tracking conversions, customer acquisitions, or revenue generated from influencer campaigns, you can make data-backed decisions for future campaigns.
With a platform like Impartner, you can save time and prove ROI with automated tools like:
- Personalized referral links: Each influencer gets a unique link assigned to them which will lead to an automatically co-branded landing page you manage.
- Deep tracking: Any end user who arrives at the customized landing page and completes the lead generating form will be tracked based on the source link, giving credit to the right influencer.
- Progress visibility: Leads information is synched into our partner relationship management system, generating a lead for you to follow up on, while also automatically tracking the referral for the influencer.
Impartner gives you and your influencer partners visibility into the progress of every deal, further driving partner marketing at scale. Learn more about how Impartner can help you build your B2B influencer marketing program.
What is the best influencer marketing platform for B2B campaigns?
While the ideal social media platform may vary depending on your industry and target audience, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram stand out as top contenders.
LinkedIn, with its professional networking environment, makes it easy to connect with industry experts and thought leaders. YouTube is a great place for sharing informative and engaging videos. Instagram, with its visually-driven nature, allows you to tap into a vast community of influencers and visually showcase your products. And, don't overlook other relevant social media sites where your audience may be active, such as Reddit, Facebook, or industry-specific platforms like GitHub.
When we think of influencer platforms, we immediately think of social media, and for good reason. It's where we share all of our content and connect with our audience. But with your B2B influencers, think beyond just social. Your website blogs, email newsletters, podcasts, webinars, and events are places to build content with great influencers that you'll later leverage across social.
Again, you are not required to use every platform. Find the places that work best for you and play to your strengths. Doing well in a few places is better than doing poorly on all. Ultimately, the best influencer marketing platform for your B2B campaigns will depend on your industry, target audience preferences, and the type of content that resonates with your ideal customers.
Keep reading to find ideas for running campaigns on B2B influencer marketing social media platforms, including:
How to do B2B influencer marketing on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is one of the best platforms to run your B2B influencer campaign. Some ideas for building out B2B influencer marketing campaigns on LinkedIn include:
- Creating LinkedIn articles: Share valuable insights, industry trends, and thought leadership content. Collaborate with influencers to co-create and publish articles that provide unique perspectives for your target audience.
- Sponsoring LinkedIn Live events: This is an excellent opportunity to sponsor or host live events, webinars, or panel discussions in collaboration with influencers.
- Developing video content: Collaborate with influencers to co-create video content, such as interviews, product demos, or industry insights. Share these videos on your company page and encourage influencers to share them with their networks.
- Engaging in influencer takeovers: Allow influencers to take over your company's LinkedIn account for a day or week, where they share their expertise, insights, and behind-the-scenes content.
- Chiming in on influencer content: Actively engage with the content shared by your influencers on LinkedIn. Like, comment, and share their posts to show support, contribute to the conversation, and increase your visibility among their audience.
- Offering exclusive LinkedIn promotions: Share exclusive offers, discounts, or resources to the audience of LinkedIn influencers. This incentivizes engagement and encourages their followers to explore your products or services.
- Creating LinkedIn influencer roundups: Curate a compilation of influential LinkedIn posts, articles, or videos related to your industry from your top influencers. Share these roundups on your company page and tag the respective influencers, giving them recognition and exposure.
- Collaborating on thought leadership campaigns: Develop thought leadership campaigns in partnership with influencers, where you share valuable content, industry reports, or research findings on LinkedIn.
With these ideas and best practices, you can enhance your B2B marketing efforts on LinkedIn and maximize the potential of influencer collaborations on the platform.
How to do B2B influencer marketing on Instagram
Unlike LinkedIn, Instagram thrives on the visual and in-the-moment. You'll change your strategy a bit to build influencer campaigns here. Look to these ideas:
- Create Instagram Stories takeovers: Allow influencers to take over your Instagram Stories for a day or a specific campaign. They can share behind-the-scenes glimpses, product demos, or tutorials, providing valuable content to their followers while exposing your brand to a new audience.
- Run Instagram contests or giveaways: Collaborate with influencers to host contests or giveaways on Instagram. Encourage participants to follow your brand, like the influencer's post, and tag friends for a chance to win a prize or discount.
- Feature user-generated content: Use your influencer to encourage their audience to create and share content related to your brand or products using a specific hashtag. Repost this content on your Instagram account, giving them credit and recognition.
- Engage in influencer Instagram Live sessions: Collaborate with influencers to host live sessions on Instagram where they share their expertise, answer audience questions, or provide valuable insights into changing markets.
- Utilize Instagram Reels for informative content: Likewise, collaborate with influencers to create entertaining and informative short videos using Instagram Reels. These videos can showcase your products, provide tutorials, or share industry tips.
By incorporating these examples and best practices, you can enhance your B2B marketing efforts on Instagram and leverage the power of influencer collaborations.
How to do B2B influencer marketing on YouTube
YouTube is a platform where people often turn to learn and acquire knowledge. If you don't have a huge video budget, your influencers are a great way to create more valuable video content for your audience.
Some ideas and best practices for B2B YouTube influencer marketing include:
- Creating educational content: Develop informative and educational videos that provide value to your target audience. Collaborate with industry experts and influencers to create content that addresses common challenges, offers solutions, and showcases your expertise.
- Host webinars or interviews: YouTube is an excellent platform for hosting webinars or interviews with industry experts, thought leaders, or influential figures. Conduct live-streamed or pre-recorded sessions where you discuss relevant topics, answer audience questions, and provide valuable insights.
- Showcase customer success stories: Share compelling stories of how your B2B products or services have positively impacted your customers. Feature case studies, testimonials, or interviews with satisfied clients on your YouTube channel. Collaborate with influencers who can contribute their own success stories or experiences with your offerings.
- Collaborative content series: Partner with YouTube influencers to create a series of collaborative videos that explore specific industry trends, challenges, or solutions. Each video can focus on a different aspect or perspective, providing diverse insights and engaging the audience.
- Sponsored videos and product demonstrations: Engage with influencers who specialize in product reviews or demonstrations within your industry. Collaborate with them to showcase your B2B products or services, highlighting their unique features and benefits.
By leveraging the power of YouTube and influencers, you can effectively enhance your B2B marketing efforts and build a strong online presence.
How to do B2B influencer marketing on TikTok
As one of the newest social media sites, TikTok offers opportunities to reach new and younger audiences. It may not seem like the best match for B2B, but popular brands like Shopify are using it to share productivity tips with small business owners and Sage Accounting shares user-generated content to show how customers are using their products.
For your B2B brand, you can try:
- Sharing relatable industry content: Dive into the common pain points and aspirational content for your audience. Share hacks for greater productivity if your brand focuses on efficiency, or poke fun at the common challenges faced in your industry.
- Creating branded TikTok challenges: Develop your own branded challenges that align with your brand and target audience. Encourage influencers to participate and invite their followers to join in by using your branded hashtag.
- Supporting influencer takeovers: Allow influencers to take over your TikTok account for a designated period to create and share content that aligns with your brand, while providing their unique perspective and creative flair.
- Creating educational content with industry experts: This could include informative tutorials, tips, or insights that demonstrate your expertise and provide value to viewers. Position your brand as a trusted source of information by leveraging the influencer's expertise.
By implementing these ideas, you can effectively leverage TikTok as a platform for B2B marketing and tap into its highly engaged user base.
The future of B2B influencer marketing
The future of B2B influencer marketing is constantly evolving, presenting exciting opportunities for businesses to leverage this strategy effectively. It's important to continuously evaluate your influencer marketing strategies to capitalize on emerging opportunities in the ever-changing digital landscape.
To close out our guide, these are some key trends that are shaping the future of B2B influencer marketing.
Rise of micro-influencers
In addition to traditional influencers, smaller niche influencers with highly engaged audiences are gaining prominence. These micro-influencers are often experts in specific industry segments and can provide a more targeted and authentic reach.
Partnering with micro-influencers allows you to tap into their specialized knowledge and connect with highly relevant audiences.
Leveraging your own employees as brand advocates, thought leaders, and influencers can enhance trust and authenticity. Encouraging employees to share their expertise, experiences, and insights on social media can amplify your brand's reach.
Employee advocacy programs empower employees to become influencers within their networks, fostering organic conversations and expanding the reach of your B2B marketing efforts.
Artificial intelligence and data-driven strategies
As influencer marketing becomes more sophisticated, data-driven strategies and artificial intelligence (AI) tools are playing a crucial role.
AI-powered platforms can help identify the most suitable influencers based on data analysis, audience segmentation, and predictive modeling. These tools enable businesses to make informed decisions, optimize campaigns, and measure the impact of influencer collaborations more effectively.
Diversification of platforms
While platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn have been popular for B2B influencer marketing, it's essential to adapt to emerging platforms and trends.
Exploring new platforms such as GitHub, TikTok, or industry-specific forums and communities can help you reach untapped audiences and stay ahead of the curve.
Build your B2B influencer marketing strategy
By staying abreast of B2B influencer marketing trends and adapting strategies accordingly, you can harness the power of influencer marketing to drive brand awareness, build credibility, and foster meaningful connections with your target audience.
Building a successful B2B influencer marketing strategy requires careful planning, relationship building, and a focus on delivering value. Thankfully, there's help.
Impartner saves you time, optimizes your processes, and automates your partnerships. From creating personalized referral links to deal registration, Impartner offers an end-to-end solution for managing your B2B influencer program.
Learn how Impartner can help you manage your affiliate influencer partnerships, drive revenue growth, and supercharge your B2B influencer marketing strategy today.