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Inspiring Examples of B2B Influencer Marketing in Action

B2B Influencer Marketing Examples

B2B Influencer Marketing Examples While Instagram influencer marketing is expected to hit $8 billion in spend by 2020, the growth trajectory of influencer marketing is not limited to consumer brands. B2B companies are also realizing the value of collaborating with influential experts for marketing purposes and count the practice as one of the top 4 tactics planned for 2019, according to a study by Spiceworks of B2B tech marketers in North America and Europe. Many B2B brands are considering engaging influencers for marketing but are not clear on exactly how or what the best practices are. Having worked with B2B brands that range from Dell to SAP to LinkedIn on influencer marketing programs over the past 6 years, I’ve had a chance to dig deep into exactly what makes influencer marketing work for B2B. To help illustrate how business brands we work with are driving results with influencer marketing, I’ve pulled together ten examples of B2B companies that represent a mix of approaches and performance outcomes.

B2B tech marketers’ adoption of influencer marketing is expected to grow to 48% by the end of 2019. @marketingcharts

Prophix Influencer Marketing Example

1. Prophix – Driving a Message of Innovation and Influence with Interactive Audio

Situation: Prophix is a corporate performance management software solutions company serving the finance industry. They believed that finance leaders have the opportunity to shape the future of business and take a more prominent seat at the leadership table. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning will be critical to the innovation of finance, so Prophix wanted to start conversations and answer key questions on the role of AI in the next evolution of finance amongst its target audience. Solution: To build thought leadership for the brand around AI and ML innovations in finance amongst its audience, experts collaborated to co-create an industry resource. To add a tech-savvy flavor to the content experience of this resource, a simulated AI personality voice named Penny was created to help users navigate a microsite featuring industry experts. The site was titled, Adapt & Innovate: AI and the Next Evolution of Finance. The microsite was complemented with a mix of content including promotional motion graphics video, email promotions, landing page, supporting blog content, social content and custom graphics for the contributing influencers to share. Results: 642% increase in engagement, new relationships with top influencers and numerous conversations amongst the target audience about AI and finance in connection with the Prophix brand. DivvyHQ Influencer Marketing Example

2. DivvyHQ – Create Thought Leadership & Lead Gen Momentum with Multi-Campaign Influencer Program

Situation: As an award-winning content planning and marketing software company, DivvyHQ wanted to elevate its reputation and more actively engage potential buyers. Solution: A survey was conducted to surface top challenges and insights around content planning and marketing, sparking a multi-campaign program focused on future-proofing content marketing that included over 30 marketing influencers. Each of the 5 campaigns focused on content and influencers specific to the topic ranging from the research report to a strategy ebook to a series of video interviews about content planning. The final campaign repurposed the “best of content” from the first 4 campaigns into an interactive microsite using a Back to the Future theme. Each campaign was supported by blog posts, organic social content, influencer promotion and some paid social. Results: Each campaign exceeded goals including 300% more downloads of the research report, hitting some KPI goals within a week of publishing, thousands of video views, new relationships with top marketing industry influencers and 140% of one conversion KPI within a week of publishing. Introhive Influencer Marketing Example

3. Introhive – Improve Lead Quality with Influencer Insights and Research

Situation: The legal industry has been slow to adopt Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, something that Introhive, an automation solutions provider wanted to change. Solution: With the goals of raising awareness and leads from the legal community, Introhive wanted to engage the audience they were marketing to through an industry survey and insights. The survey identified the top challenges and Introhive designed a Playbook to solve those problems with a combination of brand insight and expertise from speakers at the industry’s Legal Marketing Association event. During the conference, the contributors shared the playbook and Introhive promoted it using the event hashtag. Additional pieces of the content mix included 12 blog posts, landing page, organic and influencer social shares, paid social and email promotions. Results: Improved marketing qualified lead quality, more playbook downloads in the first month than in the entire lifetime of previous reports, nearly 50% of all brand blog content views for the quarter and an 85% increase in new Twitter followers. Cherwell Software Influencer Marketing Example

4. Cherwell Software – Achieve Thought Leadership, Engagement & Lead Gen Goals with Influence Optimization

Situation: With ambitious objectives to continue its rapid growth, Cherwell Software wanted to increase brand awareness as a leading ITSM software provider and develop a network of IT influencers. Solution: Using insights gained from research of target accounts, 15 influencers were researched, identified and engaged to co-create content and promotions around next-generation IT Service Management. The content mix included blog posts, IT Service Management 2020 ebook, landing page and both paid/organic social content for influencers to share. Results: The ebook was viewed 170% more often than previous assets and shared nearly 2,000 times. Additionally, this one campaign was accountable for 22% of all sales leads for the entire year. SAP SuccessFactors Influencer Marketing Example

5. SAP SuccessFactors – Increase Performance with a More Sophisticated Influencer Mix

Situation: Wellness programs are common but SAP SuccessFactors wanted to accentuate the importance of employee wellness from a more holistic approach to wellbeing. Solution: To raise awareness of their health care management suite, SAP SuccessFactors developed a program to share relevant, useful and actionable insights about wellbeing from trusted experts, peers and even one business celebrity. Just as the best wellness solutions are holistic, so was this approach to partnering with influencers including industry influencers, internal experts, SAP partners and clients. The content mix included an ebook titled The True Impact of Health and Well-Being featuring 10 influencers, motion graphics, landing page, social content for the brand and influencers to share. Results: 272% increase over the goal and a 68% conversion rate on the ebook downloads. Influencer shares represented 86% of all ebook views and 69% of the conversions. Dell Technologies Influencer Marketing Example

6. Dell Technologies – Increase Brand Thought Leadership with Influencer Interview Podcast

Situation: While many companies focus on working with influencers, Dell Technologies wanted to partner with industry influencers to simultaneously create useful content for their customers and increase the influence of their internal experts. Solution: Dell has developed relationships with a network of influencers including Mark Schaefer and Doug Karr, who host the Dell Luminaries podcast. Their discussions with technology visionaries from inside Dell and out, putting a human face on technology innovation. Results: The Dell Luminaries project effectively created a single platform to bring voices from multiple companies under the Dell brand together following a common thread while staying true to their individual expertise and influence. 3M Influencer Marketing Example

7. 3M – Humanize Science with Influencers and a Podcast

Situation: Science can seem out of reach to many and 3M wanted to make the innovations and complexities of science accessible to the everyday person. Solution: 3M conducted the largest ever science study about global attitudes about science, the State of Science Index research report along with the launch of 3M’s first podcast: Science Champions Podcast. Hosted by 3M’s Chief Science Advocate, Jayshree Seth, the first season of the podcast featured twenty one science experts and influencers on topics ranging from an introduction to science in everyday life to careers in science. Results: Outside of creating relationships with science influencers and showcasing an internal influencer, the Science Champions podcast exceeded all expectations for downloads and engagement, resulting in the launch of season two in March 2019. CMI Influencer Marketing Example

8. Content Marketing Institute – Activate Event Awareness & Engagement with Themed Influencer Content

Situation: There are many choices for marketers to attend industry events and Content Marketing Institute wanted to create broader awareness of its conference and showcase its speakers in a way that tapped their influence and helped them become more influential. Solution: Many months before the conference, a selection of content marketing speakers were identified and engaged to share their expertise on specific content marketing topics. With a conference theme of “Game on”, the 36 influential marketing speakers’ contributions were assembled into a 48 page ebook called The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Content Marketing with a retro video game theme. Each section of the ebook was supported by corresponding animation videos using an 8-bit video game theme featuring game character avatars for each influencer. The content mix also included 6 long-form interviews, multiple promotional blog posts, email marketing, custom social graphics for the brand and influencers to share, organic and paid social promotion. Results: A 258% increase in views of the main ebook asset and over 30,000 views of the promotional 8-bit video game interviews. SAP Leonardo Influencer Marketing Example

9. SAP – Create New Platform Thought Leadership & Credibility with Influencers

Situation: SAP launched its Leonardo platform at the annual SAPPHIRE conference. With an event this large, key announcements can blur in the noise of communications. SAP wanted to launch Leonardo as a transformative technology vision. Solution: An interactive experience called The Path to Digital Innovation was created showcasing SAP CEO Bill McDermott and 32 top industry influencers sharing insights across transformative technologies including IoT, machine learning, AI, blockchain, analytics, big data and cloud. Results: 100% of participating influencers shared the Leonardo Path to Digital Innovation content, many of them multiple times. Reach was unprecedented, with over 21 million views of the interactive experience.

Where Does B2B Influencer Marketing Go From Here?

In the research report, Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing by Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis, 48% of B2C companies are running ongoing influencer marketing programs vs. only 11% of B2B brands. Nearly half of B2B brands are still in the experimentation stage, according to the study, which was conducted by Traackr and TopRank Marketing. But this trend is changing and more B2B brands are realizing that while different than B2C, working with influencers in a business to business context represents a significant opportunity to create more credible content that can be promoted to interested buyers by people they trust. Many of the examples in this article started with customer research and added outside expert commentary in a way that was relevant to both the brand and the audience. This shift in focus from the brand talking about itself towards a more collaborative approach involving external and internal influencers represents a key change successful B2B marketers have realized. Trends come and go, but the value of trusted sources of information to customers looking for solutions couldn’t be any more timeless. For more information about how TopRank Marketing works with B2B brands to improve industry awareness, increase influence and community engagement, drive leads and sales by partnering with industry experts, check out the influencer marketing section of our website. A version of this post originally published on the Digital Marketing Institute website.

The post Inspiring Examples of B2B Influencer Marketing in Action appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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About Daniel Rodgers

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The Community Imperative: Engaging in Conversations Rather Than Disseminating Information

Building Online Communities in B2B

Building Online Communities in B2B

What does effective marketing engagement look like?

In the common model we see today, it’s something like this: Brands push out relevant messaging, hoping to compel a response or interaction that leads to a conversation (and maybe ultimately a conversion). This can be anything from a comment on a social media post to a chat window initiation.

Nothing wrong with that. These back-and-forths between brands and individuals are important ingredients toward building trust and loyalty. The problem is that, as a sole method for driving engagement, the cast-and-wait approach is too dependent on explicit triggers to spark these interactions.  

Devising and creating content that drives targeted engagement is hard work. It’s worthwhile, but hard, and sometimes even well conceived plans miss the mark. What if you were able to develop a self-driven engagement engine, which fostered strategic conversations built awareness among your most valuable customers and prospects?

Enter: Communities.

Why Communities Matter to Digital Marketers

In his seminal book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, Seth Godin writes about turning scattered groups of followers into a unified “tribe,” which he defines as “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”

Human beings have long gravitated toward these communal experiences, elevating the collective power of their interests, beliefs, or passions. According to Godin, a group needs two things to become a tribe:

  1. A shared idea
  2. A way to communicate

The internet has taken care of No. 2, making it easy for strangers around the globe to come together via message boards, social media, subreddits, etc. So really it’s about identifying that mutual idea, or focal point, and taking the lead in rallying people around it.

Coordinating Communities for B2B Marketing

It’s not uncommon for tribes to form around a B2C product or service. For example, my fiancée follows several social media groups dedicated to Oreo cookies. People in these communities share updates about new flavors, and where they can be found. Other examples of strong brand communities include Sephora, LEGO, and Starbucks.

In the B2B space, this is more challenging. People aren’t generally drawn to, say, cybersecurity software in the same way they are to their favorite coffee or cosmetics brand. But that’s not to say there isn’t a deep level of passion for cybersecurity — it’s a prevalent issue throughout our society, and one that many professionals spend their entire days thinking about. The key lies in hitting the right resonant note and facilitating connections.

In the case of cybersecurity specialists, we have to ask: What questions burn in their minds? Which elements of the subject excite or agitate them? Where do discussions among hardcore followers tend to center? This type of empathetic mindset should be at the core of our DNA as modern marketers.

Building B2B communities doesn’t always mean trying to create a “brand community” where your company and its offerings are the primary focus; this can be tough to accomplish, and even when you do, you’re unlikely to pull in many members outside of your existing customer base. The more effective approach, from my view, is building communities around interests and commonalities that align directly with what you do.

Pinpointing the ideal focal point for your community requires an acute understanding of the people you serve, derived through copious research. We can apply many of the same tactics for identifying best answer opportunities to arrive at data-driven conclusions about the most avid areas of curiosity for our audiences. If your customers are repeatedly asking the same questions to Google, they probably want to discuss them amongst one another as well.

Where Can You Build Online Communities?

Let’s say you’re interested in starting a community around a certain topic relevant to your brand. Where might go about doing so? Here are some popular options:

  • Facebook Groups: It’s the world’s most popular social media platform and a prevalent hub for connecting around common interests. We wrote recently about the value of Facebook groups for B2B brands. And Facebook’s recently announced redesign will put groups at the center of the experience.
  • LinkedIn Groups: Often a better contextual fit than Facebook for B2B social media groups, as LinkedIn is (of course) structured around professional topics. Last year LinkedIn made its Groups feature more accessible by integrating it into the mobile app.
  • Forum/Message Board: The online message board traces its origins back nearly to the dawn of the internet, when it was called a bulletin board system (BBS). Today, these platforms for organized digital discourse remain prevalent and — when well populated — highly active and engaging. This post from HubSpot offers some step-by-step guidance for launching your community in such a fashion.
  • Microsite: A special section of your website dedicated entirely to allowing your customers and audience members to interact with one another. It might be a message board built within your site, or a more customized setup. Whatever the case, you’ll want to make sure it’s easy to navigate and follow conversation threads.

Benefits of B2B Community-Building

“Community is important because it brings people together. Community keeps people loyal, makes them feel like they matter. It also lets the company show how much they appreciate their customers,” according to Mary Green, a community-building specialist who shared her insights with B2B News Network.

Beyond the overarching loyalty imperative, here are a few other practical advantages to creating an online community:

  • Firsthand audience research. Marketers are always endeavoring to understand what matters most to their audiences. In many cases, this requires considerable guesswork. But by monitoring a community, you can watch conversations play out organically, seeing what impassioned followers talk about and how they talk about it. This can serve as a crucial springboard for your content planning. It might even help inspire new product features or service offerings.
  • User-generated content. “Brands and influencers can make great content, but the phenomenal stuff comes from the discussion. User-generated content is gold,” says Green. I’ve written here in the past about the power of UGC for authenticity, and online communities can be an excellent resource for uncovering it.
  • Finding and cultivating influencers. Within these communities, you’ll frequently see particular experts emerging with strong voices or magnetic insights. These might be candidates to incorporate more deeply into your influencer marketing strategy.

B2B Brands Running Strong Communities

Looking for inspiration? Here are a few companies that set the right example with B2B community-building:

Bank of America

They major national bank created a small business online community, which they describe as “a forum for small business ideas, insider tips, and the industry knowledge you need to help your small business grow.”

As you scroll through the links and discussions within, you’ll find that much of it is unrelated to banking or even financial matters, and that’s just fine. The point is that numerous customers and prospects are coming to BoA’s website to talk shop.

Bank of America Online Community

Intuit

The QuickBooks Community is basically a public knowledge bank where users can help each other solve problems and learn new things. There are product-centric areas for QB troubleshooting, as well as general business discussions. Intuit company reps are also active participants in the community.

QuickBooks Online Community

Jamf

Jamf Nation describes itself as “the largest Apple IT management community in the world.” It’s a perfect example of owning a niche, and mobilizing a community while keeping product promotion on the backburner. Members are welcomed to “Dialog with your fellow IT professionals, gain insight about Apple device deployments, share best practices and bounce ideas off each other.”

Jamf Nation Online Community

Find Your Tribe

As marketing emphasis shifts more and more toward delivering holistic experiences, community-building should be a key consideration for practitioners everywhere, especially in B2B where the opportunity is especially ripe. Herein lies the next frontier of digital engagement.

Want to learn more about B2B brands that are finding more authentic ways to engage? Check out our post: Flipping the B2B Marketing Script: 7 Brands That Talk to Consumers, Not Companies

The post The Community Imperative: Engaging in Conversations Rather Than Disseminating Information appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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