Digital + Social Media

Is B2B Influencer Marketing Right for My Brand?

By Traci Mazurek

Have you heard? More and more B2B companies are embracing influencer marketing as people increasingly turn to social media for news and information and generative AI inundates the internet with low-quality content. The value of authentic human voices has skyrocketed.

Creating a B2B influencer marketing strategy can humanize your brand, reach new audiences, and grow your thought leadership presence. And when you find influencers who align with your company’s values and goals, you can cultivate long-term brand advocates that continually strengthen your credibility.

Still, building a B2B influencer marketing program is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. It takes research, strategy, and relationship-building to create a successful program. In this blog, we’ll help you decide if influencer marketing is a worthy investment for your B2B brand and how to find the perfect influencer to partner with long-term.

What exactly is a B2B Influencer?

The beauty of social media is that anyone with a phone can have a platform — but that doesn’t make anyone and everyone an influencer. At INK, we consider B2B influencers to be social media personalities external to your company with a significant follower count and authentic audience engagement.

Influencers build a personal brand by distributing entertaining or educational content focused on an industry in which they have authority. Their knowledge may come from industry experience, formal education, or their own research. The more credibility they have, the more credibility your brand has in a partnership.

  • Earned B2B influencers: Brands are shifting from simply paying influencers for promotion to building meaning relationships with influencers as partners. To achieve this, you can pitch influencers like traditional media to use your brand as a resource within their content. However, there is no contractual obligation for them to post about your brand.
  • Paid B2B influencers: A more traditional avenue for influencer marketing, paid B2B influencers require you to compensate for their promotion of your products and services. If you want your brand featured as the main subject with guaranteed posts from the influencer, be prepared to pay them — and budget for it.
Estimated* Average Cost Per Influencer PostFollower countCost per post
Top tier1,000,000+> $20,000
Mid tier50,000-500,000$5,000-15,000
*Influencers set their own fees. This is only an estimated average.

Is B2B Influencer Marketing Right for My Business?

Here are two scenarios that may make influencer marketing a smart option for your brand:

You want to build brand credibility

Influencer marketing can help you humanize your brand and build credibility. People typically follow and personally invest in influencers because they trust their opinions and information. A third party posting positive content about your products and services generally appears more credible than just the brand posting. 

Additionally, posts from B2B influencers look and feel more organic in social feeds than traditional branded social content. Since influencer content is less advertorial, it often leads to higher engagement and brand awareness. A 2023 study found that 47% of C-suite marketers reported an increased awareness of their brand capabilities from influencer marketing results.

You need to reach a larger and more diverse audience

If you’re having trouble reaching your target audiences through content marketing or organic social media, influencer marketing may be a path to achieve this goal. When you work with influencers directly relevant to your business, such as a TikTok creator who once worked in the clean energy industry and shares legislative updates, you’ll automatically access their followers who are also interested in the subject. 

Don’t get caught up in the influencer marketing hype if it’s not the correct tactic for your brand goals. Working with an agency partner with experience in B2B influencer marketing can help you determine if an influencer program is worth your time and money and how to find the right influencers to work with.

How Do I Find ‘The Right’ B2B Influencers?

Finding the perfect fit for your influencer marketing strategy is about more than pinpointing someone talking about your industry with a high number of followers. Follower count is an important metric if you want to reach more people, but it’s not everything, especially with the prevalence of bots on social platforms.

Even influencers with tons of followers may have low engagement, negative sentiment, or content that isn’t in line with your brand standards. By researching and vetting a smaller, more niche group of influencers, you’ll be able to reach a more specific audience and find a long-term brand advocate. 

Look for influencers already engaging with your brand

Before going out into the wild, meet with your digital team to audit your organization’s social media platforms. Analyze your organic social activity by looking at tags and mentions. Do you already have positive mentions from users with a significant number of followers? These people are already interested in your brand and can lay the foundation for building your influencer program.

Dig into hashtags and key terms

From there, use YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Instagram to search for hashtags that are relevant to your brand and business goals. Be specific about what and who you’re looking for when searching. Let’s say you’re looking for influencers in the artificial intelligence space. The hashtag “#genAI” will return millions of results to sift through. However, “#AItalk” will return fewer results with a higher potential for quality influencers speaking on the subject. You can also search for influencers using key terms related to your industry, like “Chat GPT,” “AI ethics,” or “How to use Gen AI.”

Get to know the influencer

Once you’ve curated a list of potential influencers, narrow it down by looking through their content on multiple social media channels and giving their name a Google search. Keep an eye out for previous brand work, if they focus on a specific location, and any red flags that wouldn’t align with your brand.

How Do I Start Working with a B2B Influencer?

Now that you’ve selected your target influencers, you’ll need to reach out to them via DM or email to see if they would be interested in working with your brand. Offer a phone call to talk about your brand and what you’re trying to accomplish with the influencer. On the call, have an actual conversation with them and get a feel for their personality and their objectives on social media. Ensure that your company’s voice is aligned with their personal brand — even if everything looks great on paper, they might not be the best fit. 

Once you start working with the influencer, remember that you are entrusting an external voice to advocate or directly promote your brand. You can send the influencer key brand messages, a framework for content, and parameters around strategy, but give them the space and opportunity to create content in their own unique voice  — no scripts allowed! The last thing you want is for your influencer to come off as inauthentic when talking about your brand.

Long-Term Influencer Relationships are the Goal

While you might begin using influencer marketing program for a specific campaign, your ultimate goal should be to have an always-on brand advocate. By instilling trust and creating a collaborative relationship from the start, you’re more likely to gain brand advocacy from influencers you work with and build credibility with your key audiences. 

When it comes to B2B influencer marketing, one thing is certain: Prepping makes perfect. Set clear goals and expectations, do your research, and choose influencers with long-term value. If you’re looking for a partner to help you along the way, our seasoned digital team is here for you. Feel free to reach out with any questions here.