Influencer Marketing is a fast growing discipline for B2B marketers and while many brands view it as a stand alone tactic, mature marketers realize that influence can play a role across the customer lifecycle in virtually any business communication, content type or publishing channel.
There’s plenty of evidence to show that business customers do not limit their information discovery and consumption to single communication channels or content types. Neither should business marketers. That’s why savvy B2B marketers integrate influencer content across marketing disciplines from ABM to Public Relations to SEO to create the kinds of customer experiences that create credibility, reach and engagement.
To truly take full advantage of all the benefits greater influence can bring a B2B marketing effort in 2021, it’s important to understand how successful marketers are integrating influencer content with other marketing, the best practices they use and what a successful influencer content integration effort looks like.
Content Optimized for Findability and Credibility
According to our research from the State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report, the vast majority of B2B marketers integrate influencer marketing with social media (90%) and content marketing (83%) activities. As B2B marketing moves entirely online as a result of the pandemic, another influencer integration opportunity exists: SEO. When marketers integrate the findability of SEO with the credibility of content that is influencer activated, it helps B2B brands become the best answer for topics they want to be known for and that customers care about.
The Value of Influencer Content Integration
When brands have trusted experts to tap for insights, content and advocacy, the contribution to customer experience can be significant. More than ever, buyers are pulling themselves through the sales cycle with digital information in a variety of formats and channels.
To meet customer demand for relevant content where they want it, B2B brands that run influencer marketing programs are integrating influencer content with other marketing activities from social media marketing and content marketing to public relations and SEO.
Whether influencer content is customized or repurposed for the different channels where customers consume content, the result is a better experience for the buyer and for the brand.
“You could call yourself a good parent or a world-class marketer or an empathetic friend… but any of those things would carry more weight coming from your child, customer, or BFF.
So it is with integrating influencer content: It’s a direct line to building trust and customer confidence.
And doing so at scale across multiple channels, touchpoints, interactions– be it an Instagram story, LinkedIn video series, co-created white paper, research report, live puppet show. (Side note: I’ve never actually seen the last one. Dear brand manager: Please run with it!)
Partnering with well-matched influencers is also a handy way to infuse your brand with creative energy and inspiration. The best influencers act almost as a creative agency of one: Devising innovative ways to tell a story that ultimately benefits a brand, its prospects/customers, and the influencer.”
Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs:
So what does an integrated B2B influencer marketing program look like?
Let’s take a look at how Cherwell Software’s integrated influencer content approach helped them reach millions and generate a 342% better click through rate on their content.
The credibility and continuity of a brand’s message can be the difference between marketing success and failure. When a B2B brand needs to pivot its message, building trust and being seen in all the channels where customers are, is essential.
As a tech company transitioning its messaging and focus from ITSM towards digital transformation, Cherwell Software sought to accelerate their credibility within the industry with an influencer marketing campaign focused on helping the target audience overcome obstacles and get buy-in along their digital transformation journey.
To build message credibility and ensure visibility, Cherwell partnered with trusted technology experts to co-create content in formats that would resonate with customers including video, interactive content and blog posts in support of new original research in the form of an industry report.
With the brand and influencer messages coordinated across formats and channels, Cherwell Software was able to drive awareness, engagement and conversions.
By co-creating content with influencers and integrating the message, Cherwell Software’s influencer marketing program achieved reach and engagement goals while building trust in the new brand message:
- 5.45M in potential reach from influencer shares
- 90% of all visitors were new users
- 882 interactions with the interactive content
Top Opportunities for Influencer Content Integration
B2B marketers top influencer marketing goals focus on building brand awareness (84%) and lead generation (69%). Achieving both goals with any kind of influencer marketing program requires message integration across channels to create a consistent brand experience.
In our research we found 6 key areas where influencer marketing was integrated with other marketing activities:
- 89.9% Social media marketing
- 82.8% Content marketing
- 55.6% Public relations (PR)
- 49.5% Search engine optimization (SEO)
- 43.4% Branding
- 32.3% Account-based marketing (ABM)
Social Media is where a significant portion of influencer marketing activities happens and in B2B marketing, content activations are a best practice. Integration of influencers with public relations activities or influencer relations, is a longstanding practice.
As more B2B buyers rely on search engines to find information in today’s increasingly digital world, search engines represent an ideal opportunity for B2B marketers to be the best answer for customers at the very moment they need them most. SEO keywords serve as an indication of buyer demand and those same keywords can be used for influencer selection, content planning and promotion.
Branding integration synchronizes with the top influencer marketing goal of brand awareness as B2B marketers seek to gain brand reach and influence by working with experts that already have it. ABM integration is relatively new and represents a significant opportunity to add credibility to content used for targeted accounts.
Influencer Marketing integration means leveraging the credibility of trusted experts in all the channels where customers are looking whether the goal is branding focused or generating new leads.
Customers know authenticity when they see it and naturally trust humans more than brands. Working with credible B2B influencers helps to build brand authority through real, human conversations and interactions. @saritasayso
Sarita Rao, SVP – Portfolio Integration & Partner Solutions at AT&T
Top Considerations for B2B Marketers to Better Integrate Influence in the Marketing Mix
- While the majority of B2B marketers integrate influencer marketing activities with social media (90%) and content marketing (83%), integration with SEO (50%) presents a significant opportunity for brands to gain a competitive advantage with content that is easy to find and highly credible.
- B2B marketers can partner with influencers to co-create and integrate content messaging for brands that need to pivot or adjust. Cherwell Software successfully engaged influencers to do just that and achieved impressive results with content reaching 90% new users.
- Marketers are not handling influencer integration efforts alone. 63% of marketers say they enlist agencies to help integrate influencer marketing programs with other marketing tactics from social media to SEO to Public Relations.
Get more insights into where influence can fit in your mix with the State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report.