B2B Marketing Trend 2018: Influencer Marketing

B2B Marketing Trend 2018: Influencer Marketing

One of 2018’s fastest growing marketing trends is influencer marketing. Companies will increase their influencer marketing budget to keep up with the competition.

You’ve probably heard the buzzword by now: Influencer marketing seems to be on the tip of every marketer’s tongue these days. Linqia’s latest report, The State of Influencer Marketing 2018, shows that B2C companies are already taking full advantage of this marketing trend. Their report shows that 86% of B2C marketers used influencer marketing in 2017, and 92% of marketers that tried it found it to be effective.

B2B marketers, on the other hand, have been slower to adopt this new marketing trend. Influence 2.0 – The Future of Influencer Marketing Research Report 2017 showed that only 11% of B2B marketers have an ongoing influencer program.

To understand why influencer marketing is becoming so popular and why B2B companies need to jump on the trend, let’s start with the basics.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people, rather than the target market as a whole. Marketers identify individuals that have influence over potential buyers and create marketing campaigns and activities around these influencers.

For example, Microsoft teamed up with National Geographic last year to launch an influencer marketing campaign, called “Make What’s Next.” The technology giant leveraged some of the most famous adventure photographer influencers on Nat Geo’s Instagram for the campaign. The objective was to bring awareness to young women with interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). By utilizing Nat Geo’s most heavily followed female photographers, Microsoft was able to access a built-in following.

Why influencer marketing works.

Influencer marketing is extremely effective because of three key components:

  1. Social reach: Influencers can reach millions of followers (and consumers) through their social media channels, websites, and blogs.
  2. Original content: Influencers work with marketers to produce original content for your brand.
  3. Consumer trust: Through their existing, strong relationships with their audiences, influencers have a built-in level of trust and can influence consumer opinions.

Content marketers are working overtime to update their content marketing strategies to include influencer marketing campaigns. Consumers no longer want to hear from brands about their products; they want someone they trust to recommend products and services. This is where influencer marketing comes in to play.

Marketers across industries found influencer marketing to be so effective in 2017, that 52% of are planning programs that leverage multiple types of influencers (celebrities, top-tier bloggers, micro-influencers) in 2018.

Where do you begin?

Instagram should be your starting point. According to new research, influencer marketing on Instagram will have generated over $1 billion by the end of 2017, with significant annual growth going forward. With more than 700 million users, Instagram’s platform allows influencers to easily share photos and videos with their followers. Product promotion has never been easier.

Boxed Water turned to Instagram influencer marketing to market its philanthropic campaign, The ReTree Project. The company paired with social influencers, like actors Aidan Alexander and Jaime King, and YouTube star Megan De Angelis, to spread the word about their new campaign. These popular Instagram users asked consumers to post a photo with the hashtag #ReTree and, in turn, Boxed Water would plant two trees for every photo posted. Just one month after launching the campaign, Boxed Water generated more than 2,600 posts with the hashtag.

With 39% of marketers planning to increase influencer marketing budget this year, B2B companies are quickly seeing the leverage that influencers can have over their target audiences. By pairing your products or services with the right influencer, marketers can easily tap into thousands of potential consumers, increasing website traffic and leads.

Have you tried influencer marketing? How was your experience?

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