We had the privilege of speaking with Eric Pela, Senior Marketing Manager at WEX Health. Eric has over 20 years of experience in B2B marketing, working for industry juggernauts such as Microsoft, IBM, and CoSchedule. His specialties include marketing automation, brand awareness, engagement, and B2B influencer marketing.
In this write-up of our podcast, we’ll focus on his experience using B2B influencer marketing to drive business — and how your healthcare company can benefit from adding this unique marketing tactic to your marketing mix.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a strategy of collaborating with individuals who are seen as experts in their field; your brand might be interested in building a mutually beneficial relationship with them.
As a brand or organization, you may identify a specific influencer in your industry who has a followership that fits your exact target audience or demographic that you want to speak to. You can create a relationship with that influencer for things like endorsements, sponsorships, or brand mentions.
How to Find and Reach B2B Influencers
Influencer marketing is traditionally associated with commercial consumerism, but it definitely still exists in the B2B world. “Influencer” doesn’t mean Kim Kardashian! There are many ways that non-consumer brands can leverage B2B influencer marketing.
Finding the Right Influencers
If you’re searching for influencers that align with your brand but don’t know where to start, you can ask yourself questions like:
- Who are the individuals or organizations that are doing original research?
- Who is doing things that are completely unique to the industry?
- Who is doing keynote presentations at large industry conferences?
Don’t evaluate the importance or impact of an influencer by the size of their following. What matters most is whether they have the right type of followers and that they’re actively engaged with their community.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where followers can be bought, and strictly looking at the numbers may not be a source of truth. What do the conversations they have with their community look like? That will give you a better understanding of how active their network is, as opposed to just the size.
Keynotes at industry conferences are a great way to find people who are taking an active role in the industry and that other people are paying attention to. Things like conferences, trade shows, white papers, and blogs are all great resources to find someone with whom you might want to collaborate.
Reaching the Right Influencers
Before you even reach out, think about the goal of this relationship. What are you hoping to gain from entering into a B2B influencer marketing relationship? Think about what you can do for them as much as you think about what they might do for your company or brand.
Sometimes you don’t need to pay — it could be a quid pro quo. Do you have something that you can offer them, such as another platform for their content? Do they have a product or service they’d be willing to exchange? It’s important to be open and up-front about your intentions and to find common ground on which to build a relationship.
When you go to make that ask, include context. That question may look something like, “Hey, I’m not sure what this looks like, but I would love an opportunity for us to sit down and have a conversation about collaborating on a project. Here’s what I’m looking to do. Would you be interested in that?” Most influencers tend to be up-front, responding with “I’d be open to exploring that,” or, “No, I’m not, I don’t do that.”
Launching Your B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign
Identify Your Goals
Before you begin any campaign, you have to define your goals. The same goes for when you’re trying to find the right influencer — you need to identify the goals that you’re hoping to achieve with the influencer relationship. That can include things like:
- Generating awareness
- Lead generation
- Increased followers or engagements
Set Up a Measurement
Reporting is everything in B2B influencer marketing. In order to understand if a campaign is going to be successful, you need to make sure you have the tools in place to measure the results. These metrics will align with your goals. You may be measuring things like:
- Landing page views
- New leads
- New followers
- Increased engagement on social media
Be thorough and methodical. Understand what the metrics of success are before you begin so that you can understand what worked well and what didn’t.
Influencer Marketing Tips and Common Mistakes
An inauthentic B2B influencer marketing campaign can feel forced and leave people with a worse impression of your brand than if you had done nothing. It’s all about finding a good fit between your company and the influencer. The more organic your campaign feels, the better.
Avoid Influencers for Sale
Watch out for the person who is just for sale. Who have they worked with in the past? Is there a commonality to the brands they partnered with before or are they just working with anyone willing to pay them? This is less likely if you’ve done your homework and identified influencers who are truly experts in their field or have a reputation for integrity.
B2B Influencer Marketing Key Takeaways
The key to B2B influencer marketing is really about understanding what it is that you’re looking to get from the influencer and how to develop that relationship over time. Strive for a nice, authentic relationship with the influencer you decide to partner with — it’ll be paramount to achieving the results you want from your campaign.
B2B influencer marketing can be an effective tool for many brands, but there are ways you can supplement it with other marketing efforts to increase your performance and results. We recommend supplementing your influencer marketing with a properly planned social media strategy to maximize engagement and effectiveness.
You can read more about social media strategy in this post!