You can’t scroll two posts these days without seeing influencer content. Influencer marketing has exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry. B2B organizations across various industries are jumping on the bandwagon, seduced by the idea of having “trusted voices” promote their products and services to the masses.
But here’s the thing. The digital world has transformed significantly since influencers first emerged. Nowadays, audiences are bombarded with countless brand messages every single day. Our attention spans have also decreased to a mere 8 seconds, and the lines between work and personal time have blurred in the online realm. As a result, authenticity is now more crucial than ever in brand interactions.
Ways Primer can help
So in this radically changed environment, are influencers still worth all the strategic investment, time, and hype? Do they deliver the same wow-factor impact for B2B brands as they did back in 2015? The jury’s still out.
Simply sliding LinkedIn influencers or Tik-Tok influencers into your existing marketing mix likely won’t captivate audiences and drive the same results as it used to. You've gotta evolve your approach if you want to find influencer marketing success in 2023 and beyond.
Evaluating the True Value of Influencer Marketing for B2B Brands
Let’s dig into the numbers and facts to shed light on influencers’ true value in B2B marketing today. While a whopping 92% of marketers believe influencers deliver better returns on investment compared to traditional tactics like display ads, only 27% can actually quantify those returns, according to a report by Influencer Marketing Hub. Yikes!
The data shows there are still persistent concerns when it comes to measuring the tangible business impact of LinkedIn influencers and other types of partnerships. Challenges around fraud, fake followers, and unclear conversion data make it difficult to put an exact dollar figure on ROI. And we know vanity metrics like views and likes rarely translate directly into sales.
However, the rapid digital transformation has also unlocked new forms of value that B2B influencers and LinkedIn influencers, in particular, can provide. As work and personal time increasingly blend online, influencers can help build trust and authority in remote digital settings. They can cut through the noise in crowded feeds. Targeted paid partnerships extend reach beyond organic followers.
The key is ensuring influencer collaborations are tightly aligned to your specific marketing objectives. Are you driving awareness? Engagement? Conversions?
For instance, Microsoft strategically partnered with influencers who aligned perfectly with their ideal customer profile (ICP) to execute a highly successful B2B influencer marketing campaign aimed at promoting women in STEM careers. They collaborated with National Geographic photographers to showcase the inspiring stories of women scientists. By deliberately selecting influencers who resonated with Microsoft's target audience, they were able to reach over 91 million people. This example highlights the true value of B2B influencers - they serve as authentic messengers and partners rather than mere hype machines. However, achieving such success requires a targeted approach tailored to the modern digital landscape. (Source: Audiense)
How LinkedIn’s Influencers Have Changed the B2B Marketing Game
Remember way back when LinkedIn was just a stale old resume and job board? Yeah, those days are long gone! With over 740 million members globally networking and engaging, LinkedIn has rapidly evolved into a crucial hub for B2B relationship-building and content distribution at scale.
Through its Feed algorithm and content tools, LinkedIn now surfaces and recommends much more useful and relevant branded content compared to the old-school chronological stream. Features like threaded comments create space for genuine professional community engagement through LinkedIn influencers.
For B2B brands, these shifts unlock immense potential for influencer marketing directly on LinkedIn. The platform grants access to get your brand and content in front of influential industry insiders whom your audience looks to for insights and advice.
LinkedIn also provides an unmatched depth of professional data and network connections, allowing brands to precisely target and organically amplify influencer content to exactly the right decision-makers.
Leveraging LinkedIn influencers can help you overcome the challenges of native LinkedIn targeting and tight competition. BTW, you can also try some B2B marketing tactics that will take you beyond LinkedIn limitations.
This powerful combination of engaged professional users, relevant accessible content, and built-in targeting/amplification capabilities has changed the role of LinkedIn influencers in B2B marketing. But it requires fresh strategies tailored to effectively activate influencer campaigns on LinkedIn specifically, as opposed to simply replicating broad Instagram or TikTok influencer tactics.
Common Mistakes Brands Make With LinkedIn Influencer Marketing
In a rush to tap into LinkedIn’s large influencer potential, many B2B brands and marketers dive into partnerships headfirst without pinpointing the right strategies tailored to the platform.
One big mistake is failing to thoroughly vet and match potential LinkedIn influencers to their target customer base and ideal buyer personas. Just because someone has a big following or seems authoritative doesn’t mean they’re the right fit. Relevance is key.
Brands also frequently neglect to establish ongoing relationships with LinkedIn influencers and content strategies that nurture partnerships for sustained impact over time. Influencer marketing can’t be just a one-off campaign.
Others lack creativity in how they leverage influencers, lazily repurposing static, generic sponsored posts that feel disconnected from the broader brand voice and content style.
As HockeyStack's Head of Content emphasizes, B2B brands have to move beyond these single sponsored social posts to more thoughtful partnerships. This means collaborating with LinkedIn influencers on richer co-created assets like long-form articles, videos, live talks, and more. (Source: Danchez.com)
Too many also fail to tightly integrate influencer content across their full digital ecosystem. This includes utilizing owned channels like email, websites, ads, and sales collateral to amplify and remarket influencer partnerships for maximum exposure.
And of course, many neglect to implement precise tracking to measure true ROI beyond just vanity metrics like views, followers, and likes. This prevents optimizing campaigns.
The result of these miscues is disjointed, low-return influencer programs on LinkedIn. The takeaway? Brands must get strategic to make LinkedIn influencers work. Relevance and authenticity should be the guiding principles.
How to Strategically Select LinkedIn's Top Influencers
Choosing the right influencers to partner with on LinkedIn requires both art and science.
- Start on the science side by digging into audience demographics to identify influencers who genuinely reflect your ideal customer interests, pain points, and values. You can literally see who an influencer’s followers are on LinkedIn. Tools like Phantombuster allow you to scrape those followers. You can import them to Primer and enrich them with firmographic info to see if those followers fit within your ICP
- Prioritize engagement metrics over vanity follower counts. As strategists like TopRank Marketing advocate, micro and niche LinkedIn influencers drive more authentic discussion and reactions in their specialized domains compared to broad “celebrity influencers.”
- Don’t just assess influence factors in isolation either. Make sure influencers’ personal brand identities and content styles align well with your organization's voice and principles. Collaboration should feel natural.
- For the art component, get creative in brainstorming ways you can partner to co-create content that delivers true value. Look beyond one-off sponsored posts to opportunities like videos, live talks, contributed articles, and more.
For example, B2B fintech firm Navattic takes this approach by hand-picking influencers based on audience relevance first, then subject matter expertise. They co-develop long-form content that spotlights shared insights, not hard sales pitches. The result is partnerships that feel authentic and offer targeted reach.
Following this mindful influencer selection process allows B2B brands to surface trusted, credible advocates who can engage professional audiences that align with your ICPs. It takes work but pays dividends.
Bringing Your LinkedIn Influencer Partnerships to Life
Once you’ve identified and partnered with the right LinkedIn influencers, it’s crucial to activate them across channels for maximum exposure and impact.
Promote your influencer collaborations organically on your owned media - website, blog, social channels, and email lists. Drive viewers back to the original piece of influencer content on LinkedIn to get the engagement flywheel spinning with likes, shares, and comments.
Don’t silo sales and marketing either. Equip your sales teams with relevant influencer assets to share on prospect calls and emails. This adds third-party validation to sales conversations. This can become the social proof your sales team needs to win more deals and accelerate opportunities.
You can also repurpose top-performing influencer content assets across platforms and integrate them into your broader content strategies. Produce snippets for social media, craft spin-off articles that link back to the original, and more.
Measuring Performance and Continuously Optimizing Campaigns
Despite the inherent challenges in quantifying marketing ROI you win from LinkedIn influencers, you've got to implement tracking mechanisms to monitor performance and continuously optimize.
Start by setting specific objectives and KPIs for each initiative relative to your overarching goals - whether awareness, engagement, or conversions.
Then monitor web traffic using UTM params, social engagement, and sales inquiries driven by your influencer collaborations across channels. Look for a lift in your KPI metrics during and after campaigns.
Conduct surveys with your audience to gauge how influencer content impacted brand awareness, perceptions, and purchasing decisions.
Feed all this performance data and insights back into your overall influencer strategy. Expand partnerships with standout advocates who showed results. Cut ties with LinkedIn influencers that underperform. And keep iterating - success requires a flexible, data-driven approach.
Key Takeaways - Revamping Your LinkedIn Influencer Game Plan
If there’s one core lesson, it’s that B2B brands can no longer take a set-it-and-forget-it approach to LinkedIn influencers in today’s digitally disrupted landscape. Success requires an overhaul to your LinkedIn influencer strategy tailored to this environment.
In the end, B2B influencer marketing on LinkedIn remains full of potential in 2023. But it requires understanding the modern landscape and carefully crafting campaigns tailored to your ICPs. Just don’t blindly buy into the hype without putting in strategic work.
Use Primer to Hit the Mark with Your Influencer Content
Deliver influencer content to high-intent audiences across multiple channels to amplify pipeline productivity and generate more converting leads. With Primer, you can boost match rates of LinkedIn ad messages to 65-85% and win considerable ad impressions.
Moreover, you can target the same users beyond LinkedIn by pushing custom ad audiences directly to Facebook, Google Ads, and email automation platforms. Get started with Primer today – request your free live demo to see how it works.