Article

Joydeep Bhattacharya
Joydeep Bhattacharya 3 November 2020
Categories B2B, Social Media

How to Use LinkedIn For B2B Influencer Marketing

LinkedIn is the perfect platform for B2B influencer marketing because it offers the opportunity to connect with prospects, educate them, and nurture the relationship for a successful business partnership.

B2B marketing is difficult because the sales cycle is longer. It involves multiple decision-makers. Hence, the role of influencers to convince B2B prospects is crucial. B2B influencers educate, guide, and inform the prospects to pull them towards a sale. 

Here are some stats worth considering:

Hence, B2B influencer marketing is something you shouldn’t ignore if you are a B2B business owner. LinkedIn is the best channel for B2B marketers to connect with potential clients and generate relevant leads. Let’s start by learning who is a B2B influencer in a real sense and discuss the steps needed to run a B2B influencer marketing campaign on LinkedIn. 

Who is a B2B Influencer?

In a real sense, influence means changing people’s opinions. 

A B2B influencer is someone who falls in the same category of business you are and can change the opinion of the people who follow their content on any social media platform.

LinkedIn B2B Influencer Marketing Process

I have divided the B2B influencer marketing  process into four steps:

  • Define Your Objectives and Target Audience
  • Find The Right Influencers
  • Pitch The Influencer
  • Measure The Results

Let’s dive into each step:

1- Define Your Objectives and Target Audience

Before you start your influencer campaign, it is crucial for you to define your objectives and target audience.

Every campaign should have some key performance indicators. Make sure you set measurable KPIs so that it becomes easier for you to measure your ROI from the campaign. 

Ask these questions to yourself:

  • What are you looking to achieve from this campaign? Is it leads or branding?
  • Who is your ideal target audience?
  • What is your ideal sales cycle?
  • What is your marketing budget?

It is also essential to prepare a buyer persona to make sure you are approaching the ideal candidate. Otherwise, you will spend all your budget without generating real results.

An example of a buyer persona is given below.

Source

2- Find The Right Influencers

We need to find more niche-specific influencers which we also call micro-influencers. These influencers are experts in their respective niche and usually have followers between 1k to 100k. 

Their engagement rate is always higher than usual, they post their content consistently, engage with their audience on a regular basis, they are relatable to their audience, and consumers trust their messages.

In short, they are real people.

If we connect with them and make them our business influencers, there is a high chance of getting followers, engagement, and awareness on our page or profile.

Here are some of the ways to find micro-influencers for LinkedIn marketing: 

Finding From Your First Connection or Within Your Existing Clients

LinkedIn allows users to see who their followers or connections are and we can find some influential followers by seeing our list of followers.

But here is the problem, the list is not sorted and you have to extract the full list manually by visiting the profile of each one which would take ages to fetch.

So, the solution is to use an automation tool like Phantom Buster to generate a list of all your followers and identify influencers in a matter of minutes. Use this tool with caution as LinkedIn doesn’t like automated tools on user profiles.

You can even approach your existing clients or employees you have worked with in the past and someone who used your product or services in the past.

You can make a partnership deal with them if they fit in your influencer criteria. This is one of the best ways instead of looking for the biggest names in your industry. You just need to figure out who is authentic and has a good name in your target market.

Run LinkedIn Ads

If you have an advertising budget then you can start running ads on LInkedIn to reach influencers. This LinkedIn Ads guide from Kantaloupe covers pretty much everything that you need to reach B2B leaders on LinkedIn.

Running ads offers several advantages.

  • Organic reach is hard to achieve and takes time. Ads can help you collaborate with influencers within days. 
  • You have the complete power to choose your location, industry, and keywords so that your ad is displayed to the right influencer.
  • Run your ads as long as you need them. You can stop running your ads as soon as your deal is done.

Leveraging Customer Influencer Analysis

It means analyzing what influencers your B2B customers already follow. See if you can’t leverage your network, the other easy way is leveraging who your customers are already following.

For example, if you are a digital marketing agency, it makes sense that your target audience probably follows people like Neil Patel and Brian Dean.

So if you make contact with these two and do a podcast or interview them, there is a higher possibility your customers will automatically follow you.

Using Paid Tools To Find Influencers

The best tool for connecting with B2B influencers is LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

This is a paid tool but you can use it for free for the first month. The tool is specially built for sales professionals. With this tool, you have access to an advanced filter and you can filter user profiles with industry, company, function, title, geography, shared interests, and keywords. 

Using LinkedIn Search By Niche-Specific keywords

When you go to LinkedIn you can search for people, blogs, content, companies, schools, events, and groups. There are two ways to do that.

First method is to search for the people by a specific term like “SEO Influencers” and narrow down your search by applying filters according to your requirement. But this is a very time-taking process because you have to visit every profile, analyze their followers, their engagement rate, and how relevant they are for your business. In short, this is a long process.

But don’t worry, we have another option.

The second method is doing a content search instead of people search. For example, if you are looking for B2B influencers who share content related to freelance writing. You have to search the term “freelance writer” and click on content instead of people. Here, you will see all the posts posted by your first and second connections.

Now, look for the post that has high engagement like likes, comments, and different reactions. After making a list of 10 people who you think are getting the maximum engagement, you can visit their profile and approach them directly.

Searching By LinkedIn Groups

This is also an easy way to find Influencers. Join popular groups on LinkedIn by simply searching the term in your niche and click to groups. Join a few groups and analyze who is posting content consistently and whose posts are getting higher engagement.

Once you find it, consider those your Influencers because if they are getting good attention on groups, there are high chances that they are getting the same from their personal posts. Visit their profile and if they fit with your expectations, connect with them.

Searching By Following Hashtags

The last way is to follow hashtags related to your business to get regular notifications on those hashtags.

For example, search the term “#Website Analytics” on LinkedIn, you will see the follow button and how many people are following the same hashtag. Just follow it and find all the B2B influencers who added the same hashtag in their post.

3- Pitch The Influencer 

Here is an example message  we normally receive several times in a month on LinkedIn. 

Hey, 

I would like to add you to my professional network so that we can work together.

Thanks

Would you even click on this email if you are an Influencer? No

Because this is a very old fashioned pitch. People get bored reading this and why would anyone work with you if they don’t know you? 

Don’t forget that people on LinkedIn are professionals, you can’t just text them and ask for collaboration. 

There are two factors to be considered. The first is personalization and the second is follow ups.

Here are some of the best email cold outreach templates for LinkedIn.

Conclusion

B2B influencer marketing is not easy especially when LinkedIn has grown exponentially as an influencer marketing platform. There are possibilities that your competitors are already using LinkedIn. Make use of the above tips to supercharge your B2B influencer marketing strategy.

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