The past year saw a gigantic rise in B2B influencer marketing, from zero to 93% of marketers using influencer marketing. As a result, influencers are now a vital aspect of every modern marketing machine.
By next year, the B2B influencer market is predicted to grow up to $10 billion. This is exactly why people are willing to leave their jobs and become full-time influencers. With businesses willing to tread carefully, and influencers going all-in, pro-bono expert tips always help.
We bring you the best B2B Influencer marketing trends for 2020 that will be the ‘bee’s knees’ as far as our experts are concerned.
What to Expect for B2B Influencer Marketing in 2020?
1- More Engaging Content Formats
Interactive videos, Visual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and other interactive content formats are evolving from boring to bold. Influencers will create and co-create these formats with B2B brands.
2- Brandividual Media
A surge is expected in professional influencers operating their own media or networks of multiple influencers. A team of YouTube creators, bloggers, or a podcast network can all be polyforms of brandividual media.
3- Consumerization of B2B Influencers and Content
Business influencers create content and engage to give business users a consumer-like experience. Following this latest trend, Michaela Alexis, Goldie Chain, and Allen Gannett have crossed hundreds of thousands of followers and millions of video views on LinkedIn.
4- Influencer Experience Management
Overlooked for years, managing the experience of brand influencers and focusing on customer & employee experience will be elevated this year. Influencer relationships will not be treated as merely transactional by B2B brands.
5- Democratized Influence
Our expert focusses on sporting individuals for B2B purchasing at multiple levels from buying committees to teams committing research that make recommendations to decide budgets. This way, everyone is influential at some level.
Top B2B Influencer Marketing Trends in 2020
1- CGI Influencers & Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Steal the Limelight
The rare trend was received well by viewers and rated by 72% as the most interactive influencer marketing strategy. Lil Miquela, the CGI influencer is in high demand and flaunts a great portfolio with brands like Diesel, Prada, and UGG.
This is why we think CGI influencer is big:
- The futuristic style of influencer marketing appeals to all demographics from teenage kids to tech-savvy who have an unquenching thirst for virtual reality & gamification.
- Gives you as a brand, the total autonomy over the behavior and language of the CGI influencer.
- Unlike some influencers, they have not courted any controversy in the past.
Every year, AI is making tremendous progress to find the right influencer to partner with brands. With AI, it’s faster and easier to identify influencers with high ROI generation, fewer fake followers, and having better engagement ratio.
As an example of how AI can be leveraged for influencer marketing is Nestle Pure Life, a subsidiary of Nestle. They turned to AI-powered influencer marketing platform Linqia to help them recognize the ideal influencer. The Linqia algorithm helped them achieve the following:
- Over 7,500 social endorsements as a result of the program.
- 50,179 people visited Nestle Pure Life’s Facebook page and shared their stories of wisdom.
- The original content generated from Linqia influencers generated 22M potential impressions.
This is how CGI & AI will transform influencer marketing:
- Elimination of spambots & fake engagements.
- Flagging of posts that do not follow disclosure guidelines.
- Determining the effective influence & performance of an influencer with Natural Language Processing (NLP).
- Predicting incentives & image recognition with Artificial Neural Networks (ANN).
2- More Audio and Video Content by Influencers
Video marketing has established itself as the premier form of content marketing in recent years, and a report from Wyzowl says that almost 72% of people prefer to know about a service or product through video content instead of text content.
In fact, podcasts have emerged as a fresher format of video content and are finally reaching the dizzying heights that many predict will only soar in 2020.
Netflix is not lagging behind either with lots of new influencers are catching up on the video streaming platform to promote brands. Netflix offers different libraries for different regions so you need to choose the most relevant influencer for your target country. You can change the Netflix region in four simple steps to identify your favorite influencer for your target region.
Here’s why experts think that video content is pivotal in influencer marketing:
- 72% of people prefer to know about new service & products through video content, mostly podcast ads.
- Now, there are 700,000 active podcasts among other video content.
- 53% of Americans have listened to at least one podcast & 98% prefer video content over any other form.
- It attracts a focused audience that allows brands to reach the masses through a relatable influencer.
Influencers who make use of more engaging types of content like a video (podcasts) are essential for every brand that wants to have a highly rewarding partnership with influencers in 2020. Here’s how your brand could collaborate:
- Advertisements for promotions, events, services, and products.
- Interviews with your C-Suite members or the tech teams.
- FAQs, Q&A, and video demonstrations to explain technical products.
- User-generated content like a video of a product review.
3- Combining Content with Influence & Influencer Activation Beyond Just Digital
The emphasis of a B2B should be to focus on building ‘communities of influencers’ mostly consisting of industry experts, and brand advocates.
These communities will act like watering holes that allow people to find value, learn, and share ideas through authentic interaction vs. one-way content. This is why the trend of combining content with influence is reckoned to make ripples.
This is how combining content with influence makes an instant impact:
- It plays well with ABM’s efforts to personalize content.
- Making the more interactive & engaging for the end-user.
- The resulting effect attracts consumers rather than pushing content to them.
Technology drives the B2B market today, and it’s beyond easy to connect virtually with people around the world. There is a drastic difference when it comes to IRL (in-real-life) activations. No amount of emails or social media likes can come close to bonds between people.
Always look for IRL influencer activation when possible as it requires a substantial amount of time and financial investments. Go beyond digital when it comes to influencer activation. How? Simple.
- It can be as simple and informal as grabbing a bite together.
- A planned visit to the HQs to meet with corporate think-tanks.
- Meet with the corporate strategy team and participate in the product demos.
3- Micro-Influencers Over Celebrity Influencers
Most companies aren’t keen to fork out an obscene amount for an influencer campaign. As a reference, Kim Kardashian earns up to $500,000 for a single Instagram post. Mantra for 2020- celebrity status is not the determining factor, authenticity is.
Hiring an authentic micro-influencer (2,000 to 50,000 followers) means that 63% of consumers trust their opinion as they are more relatable by the common consumer. Let’s see how Iceland did it the smart way:
- A popular British supermarket chain, Iceland switched from advertisements with celebrities to a modest campaign that featured real-life mothers.
- YouTube community ‘Channel Mum’ (can be seen as a micro-influencer) was then bought into a collaboration to promote its products in an ‘authentic’ fashion.
- 35% of moms trusted these online videos rather than traditional ads.
Look for these factors while opting for a micro-influencer:
- Individuals who have a dedicated niche following.
- Influencers who have the ability & power to persuade their followers to take action.
- The combination of the above two to drive a much better ROI than a mere celebrity shout-out.
“The beauty of influencer marketing is its possibility to give access to every business and enable them to reach their ideal consumer and niche in any desired price point. Whether your business has a huge marketing budget or your business is only at its starting point with no budget you can still find the right influencer to stand behind your product and elevate it. Moreover, influencer marketing is helping businesses understand how their desired customers interact with the product on the influencers’ platforms and allow them to recycle and change up the influencers’ content for their own marketing purposes.” said Anat Morderer, social media expert and brand strategist.
4- Employees as Influencers
No list of top 2020 trends for B2B influencer marketing is complete without the mention of this potent strategy. Using your own employees as your brand’s influencer.
With many joining-in on the digital wave by freelancing & learning digital skills, self-employment or entrepreneurship is on the rise. A stunning byproduct of this is the B2Bs encouraging their own employees to become social media influencers.
For a magnified result, this is how it can benefit a company:
- Your company or brand can forge bonds with employees that increase brand awareness among the people.
- You as a brand have more control and flow in how campaigns are run when you use your own employees.
- The employees easily transition from integral to internal operations, including design, marketing, strategy, and content.
- Backed by your own employees, your brand appears to be more genuine rather than a sponsored partnership.
BONUS: Twitch Is the Space to Watch
Twitch, a live video-streaming service (also a subsidiary of Amazon) is on the rise and is bound to be the hot-potato this year. Traditionally, regarded as a haven for gamers, it is now comparable to YouTube but with more community interaction.
Gamers are one of the best examples of influencers and have the power to persuade their viewers while playing computer games. Campaigns on twitch have been very successful and a marketing partnership on the platform will win big this year.
The growth of influencer marketing will continue to surge for both individual and organizational effectiveness in B2B marketing. Whether you’re tired of or wired for influencer marketing, those who are influential in the B2B environment have domain expertise that their networks trust.
Ultimately, for an effective influencer marketing campaign, it’s more important to align with an influencer who shares the same brand values as you do. We suggest leveraging interactive content types, newest technologies, and platforms to maximize your ROI.