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Putting influencers into your influencing

The constant evolution of social media platforms creates challenges when striving to achieve social media effectiveness. B2B businesses consistently look for ways to engage audiences in their technical services and products through helpful, entertaining, or insightful scroll-stopping content. However, currently, social media algorithms are prioritising brands with faces, so businesses need to consider this in their strategies to get the best results. It's because of this algorithm that marketing plans should increasingly look to attract personable and appropriate influencers to amplify messages.

In the B2C space, influencer marketing on social media has long been popular with strong success and so B2B companies are naturally attempting to boost their social media engagement in similar ways.

We strongly urge our clients to utilise the power of third-party influencers - as content created independently is considered more authentic and can be exceptionally compelling. We’ve previously outlined the value of using influencers in your B2B campaigns. It’s all about tapping into influencers with suitable types of followers, and content that fits your business values and positioning. Yet it’s also important to limit paying out overly-priced fees for their involvement!

You just need to know where to start. Here, are some examples of how influencer marketing can be employed in B2B:

Grow your own social media influencers

#BuiltwithBosch is a campaign we run several times a year to help promote Bosch Professional power tools on social media. We tap into the everyday users of several types of tools, looking for those who have social media profiles, but are not yet established as recognised influencers.

Our #builtwithBosch offer attracts up to 1000+ UK applicants in each round. From those, we select five to be testers of a new Bosch Professional tool. We ask them to film themselves unboxing the tool and to provide review content. They are given the tool to keep but aren’t being paid to advertise Bosch products as such, just asked to give their thoughts and opinions, which are genuine and honest.

It attracts professionals who are enthusiasts willing to go on camera to discuss Bosch Professional’s tool offering. At the same time, we gain insights and build relationships with these users on an exclusive and personal basis. Those that start as #builtwithBosch tool testers often go on to grow their audiences and become larger scale influencers for us.

We’ve been fortunate to achieve incredible social post results from this project. For example, a static post on Facebook featuring a tester’s review can achieve over 4.4% engagement (1-2% is the accepted as an industry ‘norm’ for good engagement). Double the industry standard is striking and of course extremely effective when most of their followers are tradespeople.

We do also identify and agree commercial terms with some tradespeople who have a larger existing network of followers, but influencer activity doesn’t always have to be about social media stars. We value their potential for growth and the quality of their following.

Encourage stockists’ influence

Relationships with the people and representatives at places where your products are stocked are, of course, critical. Distributors, merchants or telesales teams hold the power to influence prospective end users. They are experts across many products and suppliers and are constantly being asked for advice and recommendations. They, therefore, present a prime opportunity to boost a company, product or service on the spot. When working with stockist, it’s not only about rewards and incentives. Be sure to equip them with the right knowledge and engage with them in a memorable way. Doing so, can help to keep you front of mind and their impressive knowledge will more likely positively influence buyers. 

Tap into appropriate associations

In any industry, connecting with professional groups and associations can support your company’s reputation. For example, being sponsor for an industry event can help to give you credibility amongst your professional peers. Equally, being a part of a professional institute is also useful because institutes act as an effective endorsement.

Through these associations you can often find ways to access to their membership audience, to communicate helpful information or insights. Contributing to or hosting a panel discussion may be possible or involving a high-profile member in one of your events/activities can raise your profile within their network thereby increasing your company’s perception and influence.

Collaborate with industry partners

Media partners are of course critical industry partners! Collaborating with media is one of the most obvious ways to build reputation through their reach, authority and influence. Great PR is earned by developing unique content, good stories and helpful thought-leading features that add value to the industry. Editorial in well-respected titles is a strong endorsement, widening your influence and others’ belief in your expertise.

With that in mind, key partner organisations from other areas of your industry or supply chain can also add weight to your influence. Often this is achieved through developing joint case studies and sharing those successes via the media in editorial, panels, or roundtables. 

Last year, we developed a case study for our client, eBay Green Parts for Business, involving one of eBay’s parts suppliers, Charles Trent. We invited them to comment on their experiences of eBay’s platform for automotive green parts for coverage in trade press. This also gave them the opportunity to discuss their innovations and how they achieve certification on their parts.

Being seen to be working so closely with a long-established credible automotive partner enabled eBay to shift mindsets about itself, from being somewhat of an ‘outsider’ to being more accepted within the industry, as their story was told through a partner who enhanced their authenticity.

Identify individuals with influence

Many industries have well-known experts who may have previously worked in one or several related organisations and are great spokespeople, thought leaders and/or active industry lobbyists. Connecting and engaging in their activity can extend your own reach and activity.

Equally, ministers affiliated to your industry, or your local MP can also be influential individuals to tap into. Getting so much as an appearance from them at an opening day or launch could boost news attention for your business.

Another effective opportunity was identified when we were helping a Swedish timber client, Södra, launch into the UK market. In this instance, we approached the Swedish Ambassador to host an event for them at the ambassador’s residence in London. Södra’s key merchant customers and prospects were invited to an exclusive experience there and we secured a leading architect to give a keynote talk on the future for timber.

We knew this would attract the trade, as well as other architects, specifiers and the merchant trade press. The Ambassador’s contribution was instrumental in helping us build credibility for the brand and belief in Södra’s commitment to ensuring the much-needed increased timber supply for the UK.  

Consider the impact of your own team

Some of the most overlooked influencers are your own employees – after all, influence starts from within. Having employees act as company ambassadors is crucial. Firstly, however, ensure they understand the narrative of your brand, it’s values and vision. Then, give them the right opportunities to network and share the key messages and culture of the company to relevant audiences.

This can be via social media, events or just in their everyday lives. If they are genuinely motivated, interested and positive about the efforts of your business, they will naturally spread the word and increase the potential for your business.

Clear’s conclusion

Influence doesn’t have to be just about paying fees to macro influencers. Explore ways to diversify the way you spread your influence through relatable everyday users, associations and partnerships. Using people and methods that get you cost-effective reach will greatly help improve return on your investment.

Would you like support in executing an efficient influencing strategy? Get in touch by contacting to see how we can support you.

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