b2b influencer marketing in 2023

In recent years, influencer marketing has gained significant traction in B2B marketing. Once reserved for B2C brands, influencer marketing has proven an effective strategy for B2B companies, helping them boost sales and expand their client base. In this blog, we will explore how B2B influencer marketing can be a game-changer in 2023, providing insights on its potential ROI and outlining parameters businesses should consider before incorporating it into their marketing campaigns and strategies. Let’s start with a real-life example of a company that benefited immensely from B2B influencer marketing

Examples of businesses that used and succeed in B2B influencer marketing

Is influencer marketing effective for B2B? In response to the most often asked question, here are some B2B influencer marketing examples.

  1. Microsoft is winning games under influencer marketing. Microsoft’s partnership with NatGeo is an excellent example of influencer marketing. Microsoft did their campaign to highlight and promote women in STEM careers and inspire young girls to pursue work in these industries in conjunction with National Geographic photographers. Their goal was to encourage young girls to pursue careers in these fields. 

The photographers travelled the world in search of female scientists to photograph, and the resulting images were uploaded on the Instagram account associated with National Geographic. The results were much more extensive than anyone could have anticipated. Microsoft, as well as NatGeo’s audiences combined, were more than 90 million. In addition, the photos had over 3.5 million likes in under 24 hours. So it’s safe to say that the campaign reached 90 million plus impressions and engagement, making the collaboration a huge success.  

  1. American Express is one of the industry’s most famous and renowned companies. But American Express is known not only for its business but also because of its marketing campaigns across media. American Express used influencer marketing on Instagram through its brand hashtag, #AmexAmbassadors. The campaign was to promote its Platinum card. The target audience was high-spenders who enjoy luxury and exclusiveness. 

The campaign worked with famous influencers who lead towards a luxurious life and a particular lifestyle. Influencers showcased various special privileges and how much they enjoyed the benefits of having the American Express Platinum card through their platforms. In addition, they posted images/videos/stories depicting their travels and the events they attended. The campaign was a success, with over 5 million impressions.

These B2B influencer marketing case studies highlight the potential of B2B influencer marketing in driving tangible business results. But what will B2B influencer marketing look like in 2023? 

Some forecasts based on trends

Increased Investment in Influencer Marketing: 

There’s no lying when we say that influencer marketing is lucrative. According to the Influencer Marketing Hub, the influencer market snowballed from  $1.7 billion in 2016 to $9.7 billion in 2020. The growth was 4x, the biggest and the quickest change. But it didn’t stop; the charts were up to $13.8 billion in 2021. 

Last year, the market expanded to a whopping $16.4 billion, making it one of the most significant marketing industries. And for 2023, we know the charts will go up by the roof.  

The increasing popularity of short video formats on platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube Shorts, the effect of the global pandemic on consumers. This led to better engagement on social media. Optimising data collection, which marketers used for social media ads, contributed to this growth.

In 2023, we can still see the hype around influencers. One of the reasons influencer marketing is at the top of the game is because they talk in the audience’s language and not in the brand’s. Influencers from every category try to align with people from that category. For example, a luxury influencer will only relate to the upper class. So it’s safe to say, as much as the influencer marketing game is doing great. It also depends on the target audience and the influencer, as they should speak each other’s language. 

Shift to Micro-Influencers: 

There’s a common myth around the influencer marketing corridors that only big influencers can be part of the game. But not anymore, the tables have turned, and even micro-influencers with better engagement have been in the game, showcasing significant results. 

Micro-influencers have shown their credibility towards the audiences. They are known for their honest feedback amongst the audiences. They can tackle the target audience much more quickly than any big influencers. So it’s anticipated that with their niche audiences, micro-influencers will be a considerable part of B2B influencer marketing

Greater Focus on Diversity and Inclusivity:

Brands are beginning to recognise the need for more diverse and inclusive influencers. This is especially true given recent controversies involving racist comments made by influential people. To avoid situations like these in the future, businesses will look for methods to make their campaigns more inclusive–and they’ll be ready to spend more for it.

Many brands have already begun to include more diverse models in their campaigns: Dove recently featured a transgender woman in its Real Beauty campaign; CoverGirl has been featuring men in its ads since 2017; and L’Oreal Paris UK appointed Munroe Bergdorf (a black model) as its first “social activist” ambassador earlier this year. These initiatives indicate that marketers are becoming more aware of the importance of hiring and promoting people from various walks of life if they want their brands’ messages about diversity and inclusion to connect with consumers.

One of the best examples to resonate with is Sephora, a leading makeup brand worldwide. Sephora has excellent engagement on various social media platforms. The fun part about this engagement is it’s not coming from all women creators but a large sum of male creators. Sephora has started promoting and opting for male creators for various marketing campaigns. 

Greater Focus on Quality Content:

In the next five years, brands will emphasise quality content more. Influencers who create high-quality content will be rewarded with more opportunities to partner with brands and make money from their channels.

As a result, brand collaborations will likely become more selective in terms of what they’re looking for in an influencer partner. Rather than just seeking out someone who has a large following and can drive engagement on social media platforms like Instagram or YouTube.  

Brands will look for individuals who have demonstrated expertise in their field–and can demonstrate how their expertise translates into value for consumers. It is not necessary that this engagement will translate into sales, but will reportedly be good traffic for businesses.

Before incorporating B2B influencer marketing into their strategies, businesses must consider specific parameters to ensure its effectiveness.

Parameters for businesses to consider for influencer marketing strategy:

Relevance:

The influencer should be relevant to the business or speciality and have a genuine relationship with the target audience. Finding influencers who share the brand’s values, industry experience, and target audience demographics is critical.

Reach and Engagement:

The magnitude of the influencer’s following is not the only measure to consider. Engagement rates, such as likes, comments, and shares, are also important in determining an influencer’s efficacy. An influencer with a smaller following but greater engagement rates represents a more engaged and active audience, which can lead to increased brand visibility and conversion.

Authenticity and Credibility:

Authenticity and credibility are critical components of influencer marketing. Businesses should adequately research and vet influencers to ensure they have basic skills, industry knowledge, and a respectable reputation. Collaboration with industry leaders that are regarded and trusted can significantly impact the campaign’s success.

Clear Objectives and Messaging:

Businesses should develop clear objectives and messaging before beginning a B2B influencer marketing campaign. The influencer’s material should be consistent with the brand’s messaging and marketing purposes. The influencer should be given a well-defined brief to ensure the content resonates with the target audience and sends the appropriate message.

Analysis:

Measurement and analysis are critical to the success of a B2B influencer marketing strategy. Businesses should set relevant key performance indicators such as website traffic, lead generation, conversion rates, growth and social media engagement and then track the campaign’s performance against these KPIs. This information can be used to inform future influencer marketing campaigns.

Long-term Collaborations:

B2B influencer marketing is a long-term investment rather than a one-time tactic. Businesses should pursue long-term partnerships with influencers to develop continuous and ongoing content that resonates with the audience and contributes to the sector’s thought leadership and brand awareness.

To conclude, B2B influencer marketing can transform the game in 2023 and beyond. B2B organisations may increase sales, expand their client base, and develop thought leadership in their sector by using the power of influencers with genuine experience, reputation, and a relevant audience. However, before adopting influencer campaigns into their marketing strategy, firms must carefully assess their relevance, reach, engagement, authenticity, clear objectives, and measurement. B2B influencer marketing, with the correct approach and alliances, can be a very effective and impactful strategy for organisations in 2023 and beyond.

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