2020 saw the continued rise in influencer marketing’s scope and success in both B2C and B2B industries. This continued an explosion of interest in the practice over the past several years, and with more practitioners than ever now going all-in, influencer marketing has continued to be a primary focus on our blog throughout this extraordinary pandemic year.
We’re lucky to have a wealth of talented B2B marketing professionals contributing to the TopRank Marketing blog — which will celebrate its 18th year in 2021 — including our CEO Lee Odden, Joshua Nite, Elizabeth Williams, Anne Leuman, Nick Nelson, Debbie Friez, Birdie Zepeda, the author of this post, and Alexis Hall, among others.
As an industry approaching $20 billion annually, influencer marketing is now far from a shiny new object to sophisticated marketers. The insight and expertise our team has acquired helping some of the top brands in the world including 3M, Adobe, SAP, LinkedIn, and Oracle plan, implement and measure influencer marketing programs has often made it here to our blog. To help our blog community grow their influencer marketing knowledge, we’re thrilled to offer this list of our most popular influencer marketing posts of 2020.
Of course, collaborating with influencers is something we do daily for clients and ourselves, and during this pandemic year influencer engagement has become even more central to our B2B content marketing solutions, alongside social media marketing, SEO, and other forms of digital advertising.
The influencer marketing posts that proved to be our most popular of 2020 based on web analytics and social media data are listed below. We hope that they will help you ask the right questions and provide truly best-answer solutions to some of the most important challenges we’ll all be facing in 2021.
We give a massive thank you to all of our blog authors for their work in advocating influencer marketing best practices.
Our Most Popular Influencer Marketing Posts in 2020:
Our CEO Lee Odden wrote the most popular influencer marketing post of 2020 on our blog, which is fitting, as he was also the primary author of the groundbreaking 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, 45+ pages rich with survey data, case studies from B2B brands of all sizes, insights from top B2B marketing experts, plus a list of 20 top influencer marketing practitioners from B2B brands.
If you’re looking for a single definitive article about B2B influencer marketing, you can’t go wrong with this excellent piece by Lee and the accompanying report. Check out all of Lee’s 2,600+ posts here, and follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.“With much of the research and media attention focused on B2C influencer marketing, we believe the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report to be the first ever research report dedicated to B2B.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden Click To Tweet
Lee also wrote our second most popular influencer marketing post of the year, offering up 25 inspiring B2B influencer marketing campaign and engagement ideas. As Lee noted, “Implementing just a few of these could help a company with a substantial amount of influencer program activity,” which is why this article has seen significant traffic and why its campaign ideas have had continued implementation among the B2B marketing community.
From conducting a series of video interview with influencers or engaging an influencer host on a brand podcast, to inviting influencers to provide content for an interactive content experience, Lee dishes out a vast array of B2B influencer marketing campaign ideas to infuse your own efforts, whether you have an established strategy in place or are just starting a pilot B2B influencer marketing program.“Influencers are not magic, but when you develop strong relationships with a relevant group of influencers, the impact on your marketing across the customer life-cycle can seem magical.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden Click To Tweet
3. 20 B2B Influencer Marketing Pros to Follow from Top Brands — Lee Odden
With a stellar group of 20 top influencer marketing professionals to follow and learn from, our third most popular influencer marketing article of the year was also penned by Lee, and together he and industry experts including Ursula Ringham of SAP*, Rani Mani of Adobe*, Jen Holtvluwer of Spirion*, Garnor Morantes of LinkedIn* and 16 others explore both the significant optimism and many unrealized opportunities influencer marketing offers for B2B companies.“B2B brands that build relationships to co-create content with industry voices can integrate influence with thought leadership to build the authority and influence of brand employees.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden Click To Tweet
4. 14 Expert B2B Influencer Marketing Predictions for 2021 — Lane R. Ellis
In the fourth most popular influencer marketing post of 2020, I shared top predictions for 2021 from 14 industry expert including Ann Handley of Marketing Profs, Brian Solis of Salesforce, Ryan Bares of IBM Systems, Judy Tian of LinkedIn, and many others. This article gives you helpful expert takes on what B2B influencer marketing will look like in 2021, and where it is most likely to take B2B marketers and brands when a post-pandemic world eventually arrives.“2021 will see B2B marketers taking influencer marketing into not only a new year but a new more mainstream era of wider adoption among major brands.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis Click To Tweet
5. 5 Key Traits of the Best B2B Influencers — Lee Odden
What are the 5 key traits of the best B2B influencers? Popularity isn’t enough, and in our fifth most popular influencer marketing post of the year Lee shares how top B2B influencers also use proficiency, personality, publishing, and promotion to drive measurable business goals.
Featuring seasoned influencer marketing leaders including Brian Solis, Tamara McCleary of Thulium, CTO advisor Keith Townsend and others, Lee’s post reveals how mismatched expectations are not helpful for anyone, and encourages readers to think about the 5 Ps to evaluate and nurture your own influencer community, and to consider where of each ideal influencer needs to score on the 5 Ps in order to be a good match for the kind of activation you’ve got in mind.“Understanding what makes a great influencer is both art and science, soft and hard skills. The success of identifying, qualifying and engaging influencers is also directly tied to how they will be engaged and to what end.” — Lee Odden… Click To Tweet
6. 24 Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Statistics — Lane R. Ellis
With 24 essential B2B influencer marketing statistics, in our sixth most popular post of the year I wrote about the compelling story statistics are able to tell — one of trust-building, credibility, and the more personal touch that influencers are able to offer brands.
Even if you’ve already developed an influencer marketing strategy, the wealth of information coming out about its power to build trust and inspire action has grown, as shown in this collection of 24 significant B2B influencer marketing statistics to strengthen your future campaigns.“Implementation of influencer marketing has grown not only among pure B2B marketers, but also in the marcomm sector, where 67 percent of global marcomm professionals see influencer marketing as being within their scope.” @lanerellis Click To Tweet
Can you guess which three marketing tactics will outlast the pandemic? Make a mental note, and check out Lee’s insightful list of three enduring B2B marketing tactics in our seventh most popular B2B influencer marketing posts of the year.
As Lee notes, “The challenge many B2B marketers are facing is to understand how to navigate both the short term changes in what works for customers in the current environment as as well as in the long term, post-crisis,” an assessment that may be even more relevant as we move ahead into 2021.“How buyers feel about B2B brands short and long term will directly contribute to which brands are the most relevant as budgets open up and business solutions investments experience substantial growth.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden Click To Tweet
8. B2C vs. B2B Influencer Marketing – What’s the Difference? — Lee Odden
What’s the difference between B2C and B2B influencer marketing? Plenty, as Lee shows in our eighth most popular post, including why seeing B2B influencers as only content distribution channels or advocates for hire is a misplaced B2C-centric expectation.
Lee digs in to how influence plays a role across the entire business customer life-cycle — from awareness to advocacy — and how the best approach to collaborating with B2B influencers also spans the spectrum of customer engagement.“It’s important to look at B2B influencers as partners not just content creators or distribution channels.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden Click To Tweet
In our ninth most-popular B2B influencer marketing post of the year, I ask why top B2B brands LinkedIn, Adobe, Dell Outlet*, and RateLinx* are using always-on influencer marketing, and share helpful examples from each of these companies.
I also take a close look at how B2B influencer marketing drives brand authority and increases trust and engagement, especially during uncertain times.“Always-on marketing replaces on-again off-again campaigns with a fluid ongoing effort, continually cultivating and carefully building efforts that allow businesses to seamlessly adapt their marketing efforts.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis Click To Tweet
10. How B2B Influencer Marketing Offers Brands an Ideal Alternative to In-Person Events — Lane R. Ellis
How can B2B marketers replace the benefits lost due to cancelled real-world events? B2B influencer marketing is an ideal way for brands to drive digital conversations during the global health crisis, and in the tenth most popular influencer marketing article of the year, I share 13 key benefits for brands, including insight from Brian Solis, author Bernard Marr, Tom Treanor of Treasure Data*, and members of our own team including Lee, our president and co-founder Susan Misukanis, account manager Elizabeth Williams, influencer marketing strategist Debbie Friez, and others.“During this global shift to a digital-first customer experience, marketers who incorporate empathy into their efforts are especially well-poised to deliver successful virtual experiences.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis Click To Tweet
Thanks TopRank Marketing Writers & Readers
There you have it — an especially powerful selection of our 10 most popular B2B influencer marketing posts for 2020.
Additionally, we publish several influencer lists every year, and we wanted to share them here as a helpful way to find and follow some of the leading digital marketing influencers:
- 25 Top B2B Marketing Influencers To Follow In 2021 #MPB2B
- 50 Top B2B Content Marketing Influencers To Follow in 2021 #CMWorld
- 20 B2B Influencer Marketing Pros to Follow from Top Brands
- 32 Top Social Media Marketing Influencers To Follow
Another important resource for B2B marketers to learn more about crafting a successful influencer program is our recently-launched Inside Influence series, featuring interviews with top industry experts such as the latest episode with Ryan Bares, Global Social Programs Lead: Social Influencers & Employee Advocacy at IBM Systems.
We published dozens of posts this year specifically about influencer marketing, and we plan to bring you even more in 2021, so stay tuned.
Please let us know which influencer marketing topics and ideas you’d like to see us focus on for 2021 — we’d love to hear your suggestions.
Many thanks to each of you who read our blog regularly, and to all of you who comment on and share our posts on the TopRank Marketing social media channels at Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
*SAP, Adobe, LinkedIn, Dell Outlet, RateLinx, Spirion, and Treasure Data are TopRank Marketing clients.