It has been well known for some time now that influencers on social media channels can influence purchase decisions. And this effect can also be leveraged by companies in the B2B business, by using corporate influencers taken from their own workforce. Find out here how this works.
Relevance of influencers is rising in marketing
B2B decision-makers are also private individuals and have their own interests in their free time. It is during this time that they are on social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, where they are exposed to articles and posts from influencers. These talk about their travel adventures or share their experience with products, for instance. And they often do this as a combination of entertainment and information – in the form of videos, text, images or podcasts.
With increasing success, as demonstrated by the taking-stock and with prognoses from Statista Advertising & Media Outlook for the USA and Germany. They conclude that influencers in the USA will have around 323 million users by 2026; in Germany, this will be 71 million. Until then, the reach in Germany will rise by 74 per cent compared to 2018, and by 20 per cent in the USA. An additional finding: 57 per cent of social media users between the ages of 30 and 49 in Germany follow content from influencers (as of 2022).
What is interesting for companies is that influencers can actually influence purchase decisions. A publication (German) from the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Online Forschung (agof) confirms that 50.7 per cent of influencer followers have already bought something based on social media content. Women as well as consumers between the ages of 16 and 39 are particularly susceptible to this form of marketing.
B2C companies harness this effect with specialised influencer marketing. And the B2B segment is doing the same. After all, the decision-makers in many industries are used to researching information in the same way as they do privately and are therefore open to being addressed in this way.
What makes a corporate influencer good
Corporate influencers are taken from the company’s own workforce and support their company by providing influencer marketing. The most important characteristics of these brand ambassadors: they appear serious. Otherwise, what they say may sound like advertising – precisely the impression they should not make. Other characteristics include authority and expertise, as well as open-mindedness and honesty.
On top of this, corporate influencers must identify with their company. After all, they are acting as brand ambassadors as well. What’s more, they need to be creative and talented as presenters or moderators for social media formats, as well as have a feeling for the target group in order to talk to their interests and needs.
How to harness an internal brand ambassador correctly
Many services and products from the B2B world are relatively complex and require a high degree of explanation – a factor that companies should take into account when selecting corporate influencers and realising media formats. Ideally, content offers added value, is communicated as storytelling, speaks to the target group’s emotions, and provides solutions or inspiration. How this can be managed successfully depends on the respective company, its offers and the target group. Generally speaking, the following step-by-step guide is recommended:
1. Think about which parts of your offering can be explained by your corporate influencer – keeping an eye on the competition. Where the competition is tough, it isn’t worthwhile at first to be proactive. Instead, it’s better to close the gaps within topics. Possibly you have a unique selling point that you want to communicate.
2. Once you’ve chosen a topic to focus on, you can begin to select the matching corporate influencer. Depending on the product and target group, there could be several candidates. These could be members of the management or employees from lower down in the hierarchy.
3. When the suitable person has been found, you need to set up a strategy that is valid for as long as possible. Important: to enjoy continued success and grab attention, one-off or sporadic reports are not enough. A frequent and ongoing flow of content must be given – possibly daily, weekly or several times a month. This means you need the right personnel, organisational and technical resources.
4. Afterwards, it’s time to start planning the content and how it will be communicated. Which topics are interesting, and where and how will these be presented? This, too, significantly depends on your offering and the target group. And: at the latest, now is the time when you should start to consider if you need external support for the project.
5. Now that the content has been chosen, it’s time to get the party started, so to speak. This means drawing up reports or articles, fine-tuning them and approving them for publication on social media.
6. Monitor how your content is being perceived, while keeping an eye on the costs and benefits of the format. If you notice that the desired success has not been achieved, you should rework your concept. You must reckon with adaptations and errors at the start. Which is why one-off initial monitoring is not enough. Instead, you should frequently monitor your project and improve it whenever necessary.