An influencer is someone who has the power to influence the perception of others so that they engage in a different way than they are used to, not to be confused with someone who just has a large social following.
When you think of influencers, your brain automatically hops to B2C brands. You think of the YouTube stars that work with Pepsi or Coca Cola taking glamourous shots in exotic locations to link back to their Instagram channel. For those B2C companies it’s quite easy to partner with an influencer. There are thousands of them out there that can be hired to shout a company message. All they need is an idea and a budget.
With B2B, it’s a little different. Business influencers can’t take a photo of your Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform in front of the Eifel Tower. Also, the buyers you are trying to reach aren’t quick to click on a link to purchase your service. They usually start the buying journey reading reviews and thought leadership articles, checking specs and Googling everything out there on the topic. They spend hours upon hours researching technology, asking questions and bouncing ideas off their network.
This isn’t to say B2B tech companies and influencers can’t work together. We’ve done some digging and found six B2B companies using several tactics, with great success.
SAP – Engaging via live streaming
SAP is a leader in application software with thousands of customers who benefit from their solutions. They are no strangers to influencer marketing tactics, working with top corporate executives and industry experts in a variety of ways over the years to get their brand out there. SAP invites influencers to industry events to help them increase social engagement, extending their brand awareness. In one of their recent events in Germany, they invited five influencers to talk about topics including machine learning, data analytics, and IoT. The event was trending in Germany for two days. The influencers in attendance drove 50% of all of the social media mentions about this event, showing B2B can work with influencers just as well as B2C.
At another event in Florida, SAP collaborated with 11 influencers. They decided to livestream the talks held at the event for those who couldn’t attend in person. They reached between 80,000-100,000 people online via this channel, which also featured an active Q&A. After the event concluded, SAP reused the content on their blog and linked to that through their social media accounts.
Bosch Power Tools – Activating micro-influencer videos for YouTube
B2B influencer marketing selection isn’t all about working with the influencer who has the biggest following; it’s more important to collaborate with people who are the most relevant to, and trusted by, your target audience.
Bosch Power Tools knows this important fact and turned to micro-influencer marketing to reach their target audience. They wanted to convince tradespeople to upgrade their tools — a group that is generally wary of employing new technology. Bosch decided to provide tools to those who agreed to test them in order to create video reviews.
These videos were posted on YouTube and linked via social media and placement of reviews in trade publications. The first-hand user videos helped Bosch extend their reach by appealing to people’s desire for hands-on reviews and endorsements.
GE – Leveraging Instagram
GE does a lot of B2C marketing for their washers, dryers, and vacuum cleaners, but they are also a B2B company supplying wind turbines, jet engines, and locomotives to other businesses. GE is great at taking everyday business and adding a bit of pazzaz. Their Instagram content marketing campaign is proof.
GE worked with six Instagram influencers. They held tours of their manufacturing facilities and created a hashtag for images and posts – #GEInstaWalk. This idea was easy to implement at very little cost to GE, and the results were beautiful. See for yourself!
The numbers speak for themselves. As a result of the campaign, GE’s Instagram account saw 8 million views and they gathered 3,000 new followers.
Video Fruit – Using guest blogging outreach
Video Fruit – a B2B marketing consultancy thatprovides software, courses, coaching programs, and tools to help businesses build their email databases – decided to run a guest blogging campaign. Bryan Harris, founder of Video Fruit, was published as a guest blogger on the Okdork blog. On the day the post was published, the results for Video Fruit were astronomical and the site saw an increase in page views of 500%. This is a great example of making the most of those already on your team to further your brand’s reach, drawing unique visitors that would have otherwise not seen Video Fruit’s site.
HubSpot – Employing experts to extend reach
HubSpot, the B2B developer and marketer of software products for inbound marketing and sales, is not new to the game of leveraging influencer marketing. They have been partnering with influencers in sales and marketing niches who contribute to HubSpot’s blog and share their experiences and expertise for years. Experts in their respective fields, their content is of great value to its readers. They bring in fresh content that helps Hubspot continue to engage their audiences. When these influencers share their posts with their networks, HubSpot is able to reach a wider audience and potential customers. For their efforts, these influencers benefit from the huge readership that HubSpot has.
Dell – Podcast collaborations
Dell Technologies created the ‘Trailblazers’ podcast which highlights stories of innovation and disruption with former CNN CEO Walter Isaacson. Isaacson is known within the tech world for writing the eponymous biography of Steve Jobs in 2011. In Trailblazers, Isaacson tells the stories and history behind technology’s impact on business. As a well-known personality, Isaacson has a built-in audience that sees him as a credible authority on technology.
He says “Sometimes, when you’re creating websites, you’re letting people hop and link all over the place, but a podcast, like a book, basically sits somebody down and says, ‘Let me tell you a story’”. In this podcast, there aren’t any hard sells, Dell is simply mentioned as the sponsor of the series.
There you have it. There are a whole host of ways that B2B tech brands can successfully work with influencers to extend their marketing message and reach a wider audience. If you are looking to get on board with these other companies taking advantage of this method of marketing, get in touch – let’s discuss some ideas for your business.