As the need for B2B brands to reach and connect authentically with customers rises, B2B influencer marketers are evolving from transactional and intermittent campaigns to more relationship driven, Always-On Influencer engagement programs as our research from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing report found:
- 19% are piloting
- 25% run periodic campaigns
- 34% use an Always-On approach
Transactional campaign approaches are hard pressed to develop brand loyalty and advocacy. That’s why, with 84% of B2B marketers focused on building brand awareness with their influencer marketing efforts, that ongoing influencer engagement has become essential for creating vested relationships that inspire more qualitative activations and brand advocacy.
The Engine of Influence needs to run ongoing in order to win relationships with the most trusted voices. Our findings amongst B2B marketers have found several interesting insights when it comes to an Always-On approach to influencer relations compared to campaigns, the best practices followed and what Always-On influence in action really looks like.
Influencer Marketing is a Relationship Business
Distractions and competition for attention with B2B customers are at an all-time high. At the same time, B2B marketers are challenged to find the right strategies to maximize resources and marketing impact. Our research found that 76% of B2B marketers find the strategy of working with influencers through Always-On engagement or a combination of Always-On and campaigns, delivers results.
In the world of business, many decisions are made based on emotion, brand strength and the trust of expert voices. B2B marketers who build relationships with trusted experts understand the value of having brand advocates engage authentically with hard to reach audiences that increasingly discount brand communications. An Always-On approach to influencer marketing provides a framework for finding, engaging and elevating relationships with those very experts that customers trust and want to hear from.
The Always-On Imperative for B2B Brands
In today’s uncertain environment, brand reach and credibility are more important than ever. Some of the top B2B brands in the world have invested in developing communities of industry experts through Always-On influencer marketing that they can count on for social engagement, event activations, and brand advocacy.
Our research found that B2B marketers using an Always-On influencer marketing strategy are seeing important benefits including:
- 75% Increased views of brand content
- 60% Increased share of voice
- 55% Increased media mentions of brand
- 50% Increased brand advocacy
Buyers want to trust the brands they work with and with brand trust at a low, it’s important for B2B companies to invest in relationships with credible experts that buyers do trust.
Being “always-on” has allowed our team to build meaningful relationships with influencers. This approach means that the relationship ceases to be “transactional” (what can you do for us) when we’re in a state of ongoing activity. Because of this foundation, we are in a situation where, when urgency strikes, we’ve been able to immediately activate influencers, whether it be for private, direct, unfiltered feedback and consult, or for external, public-facing advocacy and amplification. B2B brands would be wise to adopt an always-on influencer engagement approach as they look to build true brand advocates.
Garnor Morantes, Group Marketing Manager, LinkedIn
To learn about how LinkedIn built trust and advocacy with Always-On Influence and achieving promising results including:
- Nearly 2,000 brand mentions by influencers and their networks
- 84M in potential reach from brand mentions by influencers
- 200-450% above benchmark engagement on one social influencer activation
see this Always-On Influencer Marketing case study.
How Always-On Influence Drives Marketing Results
Alway-On Influencer Marketing is the practice of ongoing relationship building, engagement and activation of a specified group of influencers to build community, content and brand advocacy that is of mutual value to the brand, its customers and the influencers.
From a confidence standpoint, 94% of B2B marketers using an Always-On influencer engagement strategy believe influencer marketing will grow in importance over the next 12 months vs. 73% of marketers who focus on campaigns.
That confidence is reflected in marketing budgets as well. 89% of B2B marketers implementing Always-On influencer programs expect their budgets to increase or remain the same vs. 73% for marketers running campaign based programs. 28% Always-On influencer programs spend more than $100,000 per year vs. 8% for marketers running campaigns.
Always On Influencer Marketing is a strategic approach to creating communities of trusted experts that is relationship and content focused.
Those relationships are nurtured over time through ongoing engagement and activations that create value for buyers, the brand and the influencers – it is truly an “everybody wins” approach to marketing.
Then Engine of Influence is Always-On
Influencer Marketing is a relationship business and an Always-On influencer engagement strategy helps B2B brands turn those connections with trusted experts into marketing results.
60% of B2B marketers who use Always-On Influencer Marketing programs are very successful vs. 5% who only use periodic campaigns.
Always-On Influencer Marketing elevates influencer engagement from mechanical to meaningful, from transactional to relationship focused. As a result, brands like LinkedIn are able to activate their community on-demand. “When urgency strikes, we’ve been able to immediately activate influencers,” says Garnor Morantes of LinkedIn,”B2B brands would be wise to adopt an always-on influencer engagement approach as they look to build true brand advocates.”
An Always-On Influencer Marketing strategy creates a win for everyone. With a framework that goes beyond influencer content marketing campaigns to partnering with industry experts to drive conversations and advocacy, an Always-On approach builds brand awareness, and inspires customers to trust and engage with the business.
This post is an excerpt from the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report. To learn more about the current state of B2B Influencer Marketing, including strategies, tactics, challenges, software, operations, integration and predictions for the future, access our new report here.