According to Fullscreen Media, under-34s value the opinions of influencers more than anything companies say about themselves. That’s why influencer marketing is so powerful, and why it’s a no-brainer for B2B marketing. And you can make your influencer marketing campaigns even more powerful with webinars.
In this post, we’ll talk about the power of influencer marketing, and how to use webinars to drive even better results.
What does a B2B influencer look like?
Influencer marketing is promoting your business via endorsements from influential people trusted by your target audience. But B2B influencer marketing looks a little different than it does in the B2C space. B2B purchases are typically more complex, more expensive and the decision process is longer. You’re still using trusted voices to get more visibility and sales, but celebrity endorsements without context won’t get you far.
TopRank Marketing’s CEO Lee Odden describes a B2B influencer as “a person with subject matter expertise that creates useful information consumed by an active, relevant network.” In the B2B world, influence is not all about follower count. Instead, B2B influencers are respected voices because of their proven body of work and expertise in their niches.
Typical B2B influencers include:
- Company CEOs whose social following numbers in the hundreds, but whose contacts are other C-suite players
- Thought leaders who set the tone for industry developments
- Advocates who are already using your products, love them and take every opportunity to say so publicly
Don’t get swayed by low follower numbers because it doesn’t necessarily mean low influence. In fact, research from Markerly shows that people with under 100,000 followers get more engagement than those with 1 million followers or more. And in B2B, effective influencer marketing is more about relevance and credibility.
The ROI of influencer marketing
Does influencer marketing really pay off? According to research from Tomoson, businesses are seeing a return of more than 6X for every dollar they spend on influencer marketing. Harvard Business Review also reports that 84% of B2B buyers start their purchase process with a referral and more than 90% of all B2B buying decisions are influenced by peer recommendations. If you’re not leveraging influencers, it’s likely you’re missing out on tons of business.
B2B marketers see influencers as a way to generate more leads but Lee Odden explains influencer marketing can drive major ROI throughout entire customer lifecycle – from awareness to conversion and advocacy.
How to find B2B influencers
Marketers often report that finding the right influencer is their biggest challenge.
Here are a few ways to find the influencers your target customers engage with and respect:
- Check your existing customers for advocates. See who has responded positively to customer satisfaction surveys and see who has left positive feedback on review sites. Ask your sales and customer success teams to identify potential brand advocates. You may already have influencers in your customer base!
- See who those same customers are interacting with on LinkedIn and Twitter. That will give you a clue about who they think is influential.
- Use tools like Mention or BuzzSumo to and see who’s already sharing your content and research influencers for any given topic.
Put this information together and you’ll have a list of people you can approach for a B2B influencer marketing campaign.
Using webinars for influencer marketing
There are several ways you can work with influencers to promote your business. You can use influencer testimonials, co-create content, or have them promote your content.
But one of the most effective B2B influencer marketing tactics is webinars. In fact, Amy Porterfield says,
“There is nothing more powerful, leverageable or exponentially more profitable for you and your business than a well-executed webinar strategy.”
There are several benefits to teaming up with an influencer on a webinar:
- Influencers love webinars. They’re more likely to say yes to a webinar because it takes relatively little effort on their part,
- Influencer webinars expand your reach and will maximize registrations and attendance.
- Webinars give your audience the chance to talk with influencers and see them live, boosting your brand’s credibility and reputation.
- Influencer webinars give your audience exclusive access to expert content.
- You can repurpose influencer webinars into evergreen content in the form of on-demand webinars, video clips, and blog posts.
- Webinars work throughout the entire customer journey so you can use influencer webinars to generate new leads, convert existing prospects and more.
When looking for influencers for webinars there are a few things to consider. First and foremost you need to find influencers that are respectable and relevant to your brand. It’s even better if the influencer is familiar with your business, or your competitors.
You also need an influencer who is charismatic and a good presenter. This isn’t as important when working with influencers on other types of content, but a live webinar requires someone who is comfortable on camera and is compelling to watch.
Simply put, using webinars vastly improves the reach and effectiveness of your influencer marketing efforts, giving you more chances to wow potential customers with your products and services.
If you’re interested in learning more about building influencer relationships, watch our on-demand webinar, How to Build Influencer Relationships to Amplify Your B2B Brand.