The Role of Influencers in Digital Marketin​

The Role of Influencers in Digital Marketin

The widespread influence of social media on traditional advertising is a well-known fact. The advent of streaming services and the increasing use of mobile devices have prompted numerous businesses to shift their marketing approach to stay ahead of the rapidly changing environment. Among the various strategies available, B2B enterprises can effectively utilize digital influencers in their marketing campaigns. The following are some of the ways influencer marketing has influenced the broader digital marketing landscape.

Change in Marketing Spend

In recent years, influencer marketing has brought about a significant change in how many companies allocate their marketing budget. Companies are redirecting funds that were once set aside for paid ads or print advertising toward digital promotions. Projections made in 2018 anticipated that B2B enterprises would increase their social media expenditures by 89% for products and 58% for services by the year 2023. Moreover, a study conducted by Nielsen Catalina Solutions to evaluate the efficacy of B2B influencer marketing found that the return on investment (ROI) was 11 times higher than traditional marketing methods. These numbers are a compelling indicator of the immense value that influencer marketing presents to B2B businesses that are still weighing their options.

Relinquishing Creative Control

Traditionally, businesses had two options when devising a digital marketing strategy: they could either manage the creative process in-house or outsource it to an external agency. However, with influencer marketing, both methods are still prevalent, but with less emphasis on creative control over the final outcome.

The unique quality that makes digital influencers so effective is their authenticity and personal branding. Instead of a polished advertisement promoting the benefits of one social media scheduler over another, an influencer might compose a blog post about an Instagram scheduler and highlight the key features in a brief social media video while casually sipping coffee in their office.

The influencer’s personal brand elements will take precedence over the product or service being promoted, as they relinquish creative control. To achieve success, it is critical to find an influencer whose values align with the brand and establish clear guidelines and agreements beforehand. 

Better Audience Alignment

Audience alignment is another critical factor that underscores the importance of finding the right influencer. Digital influencer possesses a deep understanding of their audience’s interests and engagement preferences. For brands, influencers serve as intermediaries or translators, bridging the gap between the company and its target demographic. When an influencer shares content, their audience perceives it less like an advertisement and more like guidance from a friend.

B2B enterprises face a unique challenge in locating the appropriate influencers to establish audience alignment. Identifying industry experts and influencers who genuinely use the product or service being offered and whose following would do so as well remains essential.

For instance, collaborating with an influencer who specializes in B2C content might not be suitable, even if they stand to benefit personally from the product or service. In contrast, an influencer who educates like-minded entrepreneurs on how to improve their skills could be an ideal fit.

Accelerated Sales Funnel Progression

One of the significant advantages of involving an influencer in digital marketing is the accelerated sales funnel process. Through influencer collaboration, leads may progress from brand awareness to the decision phase in a matter of moments.

The trust and engagement that an influencer has established with their audience attribute to the rapid advancement of prospects through the sales funnel. When an influencer has formed a genuine connection with their followers, their audience is more likely to have faith in the influencer’s suggestions.

Nevertheless, it is vital to select the right influencer to build a trusting relationship with their audience. If an influencer agrees to endorse a product or service without any prior experience or testing, it should raise red flags.

Demand for Accountability

Influencers are aware that endorsing a product or service to their audience poses a risk to their personal reputation if they are false or misleading. If an influencer promotes an offering that they haven’t adequately vetted, they run the risk of losing the trust of their followers and future paid opportunities.

This accountability is then expected of the hiring business. Therefore, it’s essential to demonstrate the value of your offering to the influencer before they agree to share it with their audience. For instance, if you provide a small business accounting app, it’s advisable to offer the influencer free access to the app for an extended period with proactive customer support before they agree to a sponsorship.

Changing Legislation Around Transparency

Influencer marketing’s surge has prompted the need for certain amendments in legislation regarding authenticity and transparency in advertising. Although authorities have made several updates to internet legalities since the internet became a household staple, they still need to address some jurisdictional gray areas.

One of the most recent modifications to internet legalities pertains to transparency in influencer marketing. In 2017, the FTC mandated that sponsored posts and influencer relationships be disclosed within sponsored content. Consequently, both the influencers and the hiring party must abide by the guidelines or face severe monetary penalties. Usually, using #ad or #sponsoredpost at the start of content and linking a paid partner is enough. However, it’s crucial to comprehend the intricacies of the FTC’s regulations and ensure compliance when collaborating with an influencer. If a distinguished industry leader shares a testimonial for your SaaS product, they should reveal if they’ve received compensation or affiliate payments for their contribution.

Shift Away from Celebrity Endorsements

For years, celebrity endorsements have been a staple of consumer advertising, often taught in marketing courses. At first, influencer marketing was perceived as a contemporary version of traditional celebrity endorsements. However, in recent times, businesses have started to focus on micro and nano influencers instead.

Typically, micro-influencers have fewer than 100,000 followers, while nano-influencers have fewer than 10,000. Collaborating with smaller influencers offers various benefits. Smaller influencers tend to have higher engagement rates, leading to warmer leads during sponsorship periods. Additionally, smaller influencers typically offer more affordable partnership rates.

When partnering with micro and nano B2B influencers, businesses may have a smaller reach, but they often experience a higher conversion rate. 

The Takeaway

Over the past decade, influencer marketing has revolutionized the digital marketing landscape. If your business has yet to leverage this opportunity, there’s no better time to start than now. To achieve success in B2B influencer marketing, begin by establishing clear goals for the process. Define your niche and determine the outcomes you hope to achieve, whether that’s better brand awareness, customer loyalty, conversions, or something else. Then, take the necessary time to carefully evaluate trustworthy influencers who will resonate with your niche. Consider partnering with an industry leader or someone who has significant notoriety and influence. Approach your influencer relationship as a true partnership and collaboration to engage your shared audience effectively.

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