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To sell or to influence? That is the question!

 By Emma Ramsay

When I hear the word “influencer” being used in marketing I am often tempted to think that it is some veiled, paid for sales pitch. However, I should be more open to it as in my everyday life I in fact rely on influencers without even realising it. For example, if looking for a new recipe or a new restaurant I will look at real life reviews and recommendations by people who are just like me.

Some influencers are more prevalent than others and have a hefty following on social media; working with them can be an effective marketing strategy for businesses. In a B2B context, working with influential people within your industry can be a great way to increase brand awareness and reach untapped audiences.

The most relied on form of advertising is the good old-fashioned word of mouth recommendation, which is why influencer marketing is so effective. Broadcasting something on social media doesn’t just reach a couple of friends; in fact, it has the potential to reach thousands.

In a B2B context it works exactly the same way – potential customers are scouting social media to find a service or a product that fits their niche requirements and are looking for those who have experienced something similar, or who have had the same pain point.

This is not to say that journalists and editorial content don’t have as much clout as they used to – their expertise and impartiality holds fast – but we need to remember times are changing and industry thought leaders are also a valuable tool for spreading word.

In a nutshell here is what influencer marketing can do for your business:

  • Using an influencer can help add authenticity to your marketing. Influencers dedicate a lot of time to building their reputations which means their content will carry a level of legitimacy that your brand can benefit from;
  • Because of their respected reputations, people usually seek advice and insight from influencers which means if your business is accepted as a partner, you can immediately be perceived as an authoritative brand;
  • Content that comes across as ‘salesy’ doesn’t usually have much influence; therefore, fresh content from an influencer will be received as genuine thought leadership as opposed to a blatant sales piece;
  • Finally, influencers can help reach people who your company would not normally have access to – influencers already have a keen audience who regularly tune into what they have to say, thus they can expand the reach of your content and overall marketing efforts.

Investing in a B2B influencer marketing strategy will increase your company’s visibility, the reach of your key messages and garner trust from prospective customers.