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7 Top B2B Influencer Marketing Trends for 2020

B2B influencer marketing trends 2020

B2B influencer marketing trends 2020 While there are some who think the expression “influencer” is an expired term, the role of influence on B2B buying decisions is irrefutable. According to the World Federation of Advertisers, 65% of multinational brands will increase influencer marketing spending in the next 12 months and there’s good reason for increased confidence: The 2019 Content Preferences Survey from DGR reports 95% of respondents favor credible content from industry influencers as a top preference, a 30% increase compared year over  year. Earlier this year in a post about The Business of Influence for 2019, I shared 5 influencer marketing trends including:

  • Micro AND Macro influencers
  • Centralizing Influencer Operations
  • Always On Influencer Engagement
  • Focus on Quality vs. Quantity Metrics
  • Influencer Marketing Software Investment

Along with a predictions post from Ashley, these were well received. Since the time of that post, my team at TopRank Marketing has launched many more influencer content programs for B2B companies, each bringing lessons learned, patterns indicating trends and insights. From the influencers involved in these programs to the brand influencer marketing leaders we work with to being on the inside as an influencer for B2B brands ranging from Adobe to SAP, I have been in a unique position to learn from some of the best in the business. For companies operating in the B2B space, here are 7 trends worth digging in to for 2020 and beyond: Increased use of AI – From finding the right influencers, to recommending content topics, formats and channels and performance optimization, artificial intelligence and machine learning will play a much greater role in influencer marketing. Signals of influence exist beyond social media and bringing together disparate data sources and automating analysis, selection and opportunities for engagement in an increasingly competitive environment will require more robust technologies. Democratized Influence – B2B purchasing is a team sport involving individuals at multiple levels from buying committees conducting research and making recommendations to executives with budgets to decide. Each of those individuals rely on centers of influence around them as they discover, consume and engage with information. Everyone is influential at some level and more brands are going to tap into the niche influence of the many, whether they are employees, customers, industry community members or traditional influencers. Brandividal Media – The number of professional influencers who operate their own media or networks of multiple influencers with media and distribution channels will increase and compete with traditional digital media. Influencers with complementary domain expertise and networks that combine forces can offer a B2B brand the reach of a major publication but with the credibility and trust of respected influencers. These influencer media entities can take many forms, from a podcast network to a group of YouTube creators to a team of bloggers that can provide turnkey event coverage and promotion. More Engaging Content Formats – B2B is evolving from boring to bold through video, interactive and VR/AR content. That trend will continue with influencers creating and co-creating these formats with B2B brands. We’ve seen interest in more infotaining B2B influencer content rise dramatically over the past year including our first deployment of a VR influencer environment for one of the biggest B2B technology brands in the world. Whitepapers, ebooks and case studies still hold value, but there is no reason to limit that information packaging to web pages or static PDF formats anymore. Influencer Tech Integration with other Martech – Influencer identification, engagement and measurement technology will increasingly become integrated with cloud marketing platforms. As B2B brands mature in their influencer marketing practices, the need for integration will increase. Influence is an important part of the brand experience, so why not make it easier to connect and grow influence for the brand by making it easier to connect with other marketing technologies?  The simplest example would be enabling the coordination of SEO, social media, PR, ads and influencers and the alignment of a narrative across those channels. Consumerization of B2B Influencers and Content – Business users of software have come to expect a consumer like experience and that same set of expectations is spilling over into how business influencers create content and engage. A simple example is the rise of LinkedIn video creators. Influencers publishing video content on YouTube have created expectations for video content wherever it can be found, viewed and engaged with. LinkedIn is a great example of where consumer video skills are playing out with B2B content. People like Goldie Chan, Michaela Alexis and Allen Gannett have amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on LinkedIn and millions of video views. The continued rollout of live video on LinkedIn will only attract more of B2C-like video behaviors over to the B2B influencer world. Influencer Experience Management – As brands have elevated their focus on customer experience and employee experience, there will be an increased focus on managing the experience of brand influencers. Far too many B2B brands treat their influencer relationships transactionally and in terms of what the brand can get from the influencer. B2B brands that make any effort at all to learn more about influencer goals, preferences and capabilities in combination with providing opportunities to connect with other influencers, will go along ways towards building brand advocates and inspire more effective influencer behaviors. Whether you’re tired of or wired for “influencer marketing”, make no mistake: The growth of influence on individual and organizational effectiveness in the B2B marketing world will continue for years to come. Those who are influential in the B2B world have the domain expertise their networks trust. Not staying on top of how the world of influencer marketing is evolving is simply leaving your customers open to the influence of your competition. What B2B influencer marketing trends would you add to this list? Be sure to join me May 30th as I join Seth Bridges, founder at Rival IQ for a live interview to talk about these influencer marketing trends and more

The post 7 Top B2B Influencer Marketing Trends for 2020 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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Social Media Secrets: 5 Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

It's plain to see that B2B marketers, at large, see the value in social media. The latest B2B benchmarking research from CMI and MarketingProfs found that nearly two out of three respondents (61%) increased their usage of social media for content marketing purposes in the previous year. Another new report shows that social content is atop the list of focal areas for B2B marketers in the coming year.

It’s also fair to say, based on various data points and conversations with folks in the biz, that most of us feel we could be doing better with social. The size of the audiences on these platforms make them essential to any digital strategy, but breaking through suppressive algorithms and showing clear ROI is a perpetual challenge for brands.

One pivotal key to excelling with social media marketing is understanding all the tools you have at your disposal. Each platform offers a number of capabilities that seem to be underutilized by marketers who either don’t know they exist, or don’t fully recognize their potential impact.

With this in mind, we’re setting out to highlight some of the most useful yet overlooked features for driving results on social media platforms. Today we're focusing on the channel most pertinent to B2B marketers: LinkedIn*, with its member base of more than half a billion professionals.

Take Notice of These 5 Marketing Tools & Features on LinkedIn

Whether your goal is building brand awareness, generating leads, or boosting conversions, these five fundamental functionalities can provide a big assist if you aren't taking advantage of them already.

#1: Robust (and Now Simplified) Audience Targeting

LinkedIn recently overhauled its Campaign Manager tool (the interface through which marketers build, manage, and measure ads) around an objective-based advertising framework. The basic purpose of this initiative was to make it easier for users to align every element of their campaigns with the overarching objective. One of the slickest improvements to come out of this is the audience setup experience, which is now simpler and more intuitive.

From a B2B marketing perspective, the depth of available professional targeting parameters is by far LinkedIn’s biggest relative advantage compared to other social platforms. Nowhere else can you accurately filter audiences based on facets such as Job Title and Job Seniority. This provides unparalleled ability to reach decision makers and purchase influencers directly.

The revamped interface makes it quicker and more straightforward to select a qualified audience in line with your campaign goals.

[embed]https://youtu.be/AAx60JxxWFg[/embed]

#2: Revamped LinkedIn Analytics

The latest Social Media Marketing Industry Report via Social Media Examiner found more than half of respondents (54%) either uncertain or disagreeing that they are “able to measure the return on investment (ROI) for my organic social media activities.”

This is another area of Campaign Manager that LinkedIn recently spruced up. Given that advertising on this platform tends to be more expensive than other social networks, it’s especially important to ensure you’re getting return on that spend. The new reporting experience makes it easier to see results at a glance, and make optimization tweaks on the fly.

The underlying appeal of LinkedIn’s targeting facets also applies to its reporting mechanism; you can get an aggregated look at who is viewing and engaging with your content (i.e., which companies, which job titles, which experience levels). These insights can help you align your LinkedIn strategy and even your content marketing strategy more generally.

#3: Content Suggestions

Can’t figure out what to share on social media? That’s a common enough challenge. The Content Suggestions tab, found on the top nav bar within LinkedIn Page admin center, offers ample inspiration. It serves up a list of third-party articles your defined audience is engaging with — essentially a readily available stream of targeted, trending content.

Not only does this make it easy for marketers and social media managers to find share-worthy content that’s more likely to resonate with their followings, but it can also fuel employee advocacy efforts.

#4: Website Retargeting

Retargeting is a popular digital marketing tactic, which involves serving ads to people who’ve already encountered your brand. The element of familiarity, plus a concrete demonstration of past interest, tends to drive considerably higher clicks and conversions than standard ads.  

Through its Matched Audiences feature, LinkedIn allows you to place a pixel on your company’s website, then serve ads to people who’ve visited it before, while they’re on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to follow up with someone in a different context. One especially savvy approach is to create customized retargeting creative based on the specific section of your site a person visited (i.e., upper-funnel messaging for someone who went to your “About” page, and lower-funnel for someone who checked out a solution page.)

[embed]https://youtu.be/SgXlOH-1pPk[/embed]

#5: Lead Gen Forms

This might be my favorite marketing tool on LinkedIn, and it definitely seems like one that more B2B brands could be utilizing. Lead Gen Forms are leveraged in combination with various types of ads, enabling your company to collect valuable contact info (and additional data about a prospect) from an individual who downloads something of value with minimal friction.

Unlike most gated-asset forms, which require a user to tediously fill out multiple fields, Lead Gen Forms automatically populate based on the member’s LinkedIn profile data. As such, it takes only a couple of seconds to get through the process. Because you’re attaining a more comprehensive snapshot of people who download, you can better qualify them as leads in comparison with other form-fills that often procure only a name, phone number, and email.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34Xe1E59N6A&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

Step Up Your LinkedIn Marketing Game

LinkedIn can be one of the most valuable components of a holistic B2B marketing strategy. As mentioned earlier, there’s no denying it’s a pricier place to play than most other social networks, but you’re also paying for access to a higher-quality audience. Using the five features above can help you understand, segment, reach, and engage this audience efficiently while closely tracking the impact of your efforts.

Another underutilized tool on LinkedIn is video, which has been a key focus for the platform recently. Learn about all the metrics and specs for video on LinkedIn, as well as every other major social network!

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Social Media Secrets: 5 Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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