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Your Guide to B2B Influencer Marketing.

Whether you’re a marketer looking to foray into the world of influencer marketing for B2B or you’d like to beef up your current strategy, we can help.

by Ariana Newhouse

By now we’ve all heard of influencer marketing, but how is it different for B2C and B2B? Let’s brush up on the basics. When it comes to marketing, we all want to boost our brand reach and make impactful sales, but the path to success differs based on who we’re selling to. There are already tons of resources out there for B2C influencer marketing. It’s high time we demystify how to achieve success when influencer marketing for B2B.

Whether you’re a marketer looking to foray into the world of influencer marketing for B2B or you’d like to beef up your current strategy, we can help. In this post, we’ll explore how to create a killer B2B influencer marketing strategy, when to call in a B2B influencer marketing agency, and of course we’ll get your creative juices flowing with some B2B influencer marketing examples. Let’s dive in!


What is B2B Influencer Marketing?

Let’s start by defining our terms. B2B refers to brands that operate on a business-to-business model. They make money through commercial transactions with other businesses. Not to be confused with B2C, which refers to brands that work on a business-to-consumer model, selling products directly to consumers. We’ve likely all seen B2C influencer marketing at work as we scroll through our socials and trusted influencers tell us about how much they love the hottest new product. B2B influencer marketing is likely less familiar.

Influencer marketing for B2B is less likely to show up on your TikTok For You Page. In fact, B2B influencers are less likely to call themselves “influencers” or “creators” at all. Those who have the greatest influence in the B2B world are often thought leaders, experienced executives, and thoughtful peers. While B2C influencer marketing is often focused on generating sales, B2B influencer marketing is more often focused on the long game of building trust and brand relationships that hopefully result in sales down the line.

B2B influencer marketing is often employed as a strategy to increase brand awareness, reach new target audiences, and manage brand reputation. Of course, each of these goals exists somewhere on the funnel to creating new sales.


91% of B2B spend influenced by word of mouth

Does Influencer Marketing Work for B2B?

Generally, we think of influencer marketing in terms of B2C. Influencers share products and services with their following which overlaps with a brand’s consumer base. Their posts help sell the products and brands see big returns. This makes sense, but success in the B2C arena doesn’t take away from the potential of influencer marketing for B2B.

Some argue that influencer marketing is more important for B2B than it is for B2C simply because the average purchase size in B2B transactions far surpasses that of B2C. Therefore, influence, referrals, and word of mouth are more impactful to the overall success of B2B brands. And the numbers don’t lie — a whopping 91 percent of B2B transactions are influenced by word of mouth.

It makes sense that B2B influencer marketing can make a big impact. As of 2022, 86 percent of B2B brands consider their influencer marketing successful. And 85 percent believe interest in B2B influencer marketing will increase in 2023.

Let’s look at the numbers. According to a TopRank Marketing study, 72 percent of marketers say B2B influencer marketing improved brand reputation. Seventy percent say it increased brand awareness. Fifty-six percent say it generated new leads. And 33 percent of B2B brands say influencer marketing has increased their sales and revenue. To put it simply, B2B influencer marketing is proven to work wonders.

Daymond John for ClickFunnels

This is a pretty high-profile example of B2B influencer marketing. If social platforms have associated you with managing or marketing a business, there’s a good chance you have seen this ad or one like it. Daymond John is a well-known entrepreneur and angel investor who launched the clothing brand FUBU in the early 1990s and has since increased his fame as “the people’s shark” on the popular pitch show Shark Tank. ClickFunnels, as you may know, is a funnel-building SaaS product created by high-energy marketer Russell Brunson.

While both are marketers, John typically resonates with an older audience. Before Shark Tank, he reached the height of his fame as part of the HipHop culture of the 90s Brunson’s ClickFunnels, on the other hand, emerged in a Web 2.0 world less than a decade ago just as brands and influencers were beginning to expand into ecommerce.


Focus on building, educating and cocreation (1)

How to Develop a B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy

When it comes to B2B influencer marketing, information is key. 90 percent of B2B buyers research between 2 and 7 websites before making a purchase decision. Once a buyer has made it to your site, odds are they’re going to comb through your content before agreeing to a sale. Nearly 70 percent of B2B buyers digest content directly from a vendor’s website before purchasing, and 41 percent read at least three pieces of native content.

It’s also important to note that most B2B sales aren’t conducted by just one person. These transactions are decided upon collectively by a buying center, consisting of several people within (and outside) the company who have some degree of influence over the purchasing power. These buying centers often include B2B influencers! In a way, everyone within the group functions as an influencer.

Because 90 percent of B2B buyers start their buying journey with an online search, you’ll want your influencer marketing content to be accessible and high-ranking. Don’t sleep on SEO! It’s proven to drive 1,000 percentmore website traffic — literally. Of course, you’ll want to make sure some of the influencer marketing content you’re generating lives on your site since a majority of decision-makers will be dissecting your content before reaching out to make a purchase.

When developing your B2B influencer marketing strategy, it’s important to play the long game. Plan to work with influencers over the course of one year. Effective B2B influencer campaigns generally start to see results around the six-month mark.

We’ll dig more into exactly how to find B2B influencers a little later, but influencer selection is key to a strong campaign strategy. Don’t focus as much on vanity metrics like social following. The best B2B influencers are true thought leaders your buyers turn to and trust when making big decisions.

Focus on building relationships with your brand, educating potential buyers on your offerings, and leaning into co-creation with your influencers. Remember you’ve got an entire buying center to win over, so your content has to prove you’ve got the goods. As with any influencer marketing campaign, don’t forget to get creative and have fun with it. At the end of the day, digital content does best when it’s fresh, unique, and engaging. B2B influencer marketing can, and should, still be memorable.


The Benefits of a B2B Influencer Marketing Agency

The world of influencer marketing, while highly effective, can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the party. Enter: B2B influencer marketing agencies. If you’re new to running B2B influencer marketing campaigns, it might make sense to enlist an agency to help you get the job done. We’re exposed to B2C influencer campaigns all the time in our personal social media scrolling, but unless you’re out looking for B2B campaigns, they’re likely less familiar.

Working with a full-service agency like The Shelf can take the guesswork out of your campaign. Whether you’d like an agency to streamline your entire strategy and build the campaign from the ground up or help with specific deliverables along the way, partnering with agencies can be a worthwhile investment.

B2B influencer marketing agencies can help you save time and money searching for, selecting, and vetting influencers. Plus, they can manage your campaigns, and your expectations, from start to finish with their expertise and data-driven insights. Agencies also already have all the legal contracts, campaign templates, and administrative needs down pat, so you don’t have to sweat the small stuff throughout the campaign.


LinkedIn user reciprocity stats

What is the Best Influencer Marketing Platform for B2B?

The best platform for your B2B influencer marketing campaign will depend on your campaign goals. More than likely, you’ll want to use a cross-functional approach that spans multiple platforms and cross-posting. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are good options for awareness and brand recognition campaigns.

Respected blogs or YouTube channels from industry leaders can also provide the appropriate platform for your campaign. Longer form content like blogs and vlogs can be reshared across your brand’s and the influencer’s social portfolios to increase reach.

Your brand’s website or email list is also an effective platform for B2B influencer marketing. As we discussed earlier, most B2B buyers will be perusing your site and content before making a purchase decision, so it makes sense to serve them the content where you know they’ll be looking. Guest posts and blogs from industry experts can be a great way to build trust and credibility while housing content on your site.

Look for platforms that are most conducive to sharing the content you’d like to include in your campaign. Webinars, social media, and blogs are the most popular forms of B2B influencer marketing, with more than 70 percent of marketers claiming each form to be their fave. Recorded video, interviews, and podcasts are the second most popular suite of content types, with more than 50 percent of marketers preferring these forms.

Whatever content you choose, partnering with a B2B influencer marketing agency is a great way to ensure you’re maximizing all potential platforms to get the most impressive results from your campaign.


How to Find B2B Influencers

B2B influencer marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. The big flashy numbers like social engagement and audience size that might make an influencer a good fit for a B2C campaign, may not deliver the same results for a B2B one. It is more important for your B2B influencer to have a relevant audience than a large one. Look first and foremost for influencers who share your brand values.

The best B2B influencers are known and trusted figures in your industry. They could be thought leaders, public speakers, executives, authors, educators, or expert bloggers and vloggers. Anyone who truly knows their stuff and is a champion of your brand is a contender — including your satisfied customers. When you’re searching for these leaders, don’t forget to look in-house. 65 percent of B2B brands say their internal executives have efficiently increased the influence of their brand. Your perfect B2B influencer may be in the office down the hall!

Marketers say they partner with the following B2B influencers:

  • 77 percent industry experts
  • 56 percent internal executives
  • 48 percent niche experts
  • 46 percent customers
  • 45 percent professional influencers
  • 42 percent employees
  • 12 percent prospects

Remember to look for B2B influencers with a relevant audience, expertise, and aligned values. Your influencers will also need to be publicly viewed as trustworthy and be able to create the content you need for your campaign. A robust social presence with a sizable audience is a plus, but not mandatory, especially if you’ll be repurposing the content on your brand’s site and social channels.

B2B Influencer Marketing Examples

We can talk about the ins and outs of B2B influencer marketing all day, but one of the best ways to learn what works is to see examples of other successful campaigns in action. Let’s explore some B2B influencer marketing examples to get those wheels turning.

Popular Business Directory

You’ve most likely heard of our client as the app to find a good place to eat, or to complain about a bad one. But the app actually offers users and businesses a lot more value than just a place to search or gripe. So, for this campaign, our client wanted to focus on boosting awareness of these features as a way to find and share your favorite Black-owned businesses.

We enlisted influencers to share the Black-Owned Business Attribute on the app. The campaign, which was slated to kick off during Black History Month, would position our client as a key ally in helping Black-owned businesses get more visibility. They wanted to help particularly in the wake of the PPP loan problems (where black- and brown-owned businesses had a harder time accessing PPP loans, winning loans, and being awarded the amounts they needed to keep them afloat during the shut-downs) and the heightened awareness of inequality we all saw quite clearly during the events of 2020.

So, this campaign revolved around an important social issue but tied in supporting small businesses during COVID-19 as well, when they needed it the most (since minority-owned small businesses took more than their share of the economic impact of COVID-19). In addition to sharing the Black-owned search attribute, influencers also created their own our client’s Collections with their favorite Black-owned businesses in their area to share with their followers. Click here to read the full case study.


You’ve probably seen an influencer post with the hashtag #AmexAmbassador by now. American Express has run the double whammy B2B and B2C campaign for years. The campaign partners with influencers and business owners who live luxurious or otherwise covetable lifestyles to showcase the exclusive perks of using an American Express Platinum credit card.

The original goal of the campaign was to convert managers and execs to use the card for their business and travel expenses, but the campaign has since expanded to include small businesses and consumers. There are currently more than 15,000 posts on Instagram tagged with #AmexAmbassador.


Source: @chescaleigh on Twitter

As the campaign expanded to include small businesses, Amex launched the “Love My Store” campaign and contest. The campaign provided Amex decals to small businesses to display in their storefronts in an attempt to increase business for small local vendors, and of course, promote American Express in this smaller market. The campaign was a smashing success, with more than 400,000 decals distributed and 5 million online impressions.

The campaign included a contest for one small business displaying the Amex “Love My Store” decal to receive a $10,000 storefront makeover. Check out the winner’s story below.

Source: ASL Productions on YouTube


Don’t forget B2B influencer marketing can happen IRL. This year, SAP, a leader in the software industry, hosted the Sapphire Conference. They brought together more than 20,000 users who attended the conference and had the opportunity to hear their B2B influencers share knowledge. They hosted chats with industry leaders and streamed them over Facebook Live so they were able to reach 100,000 more viewers at home.

SAP even arranged meetups strategically pairing attendees with influencers based on their area of expertise. These sorts of intentional connections were designed to provide value to the attendees and establish relationships between the users, thought leaders, and brand.

Recordings of the chats and panels were also shared on social media after the conference. By bringing their influencers and users together, SAP was able to increase trust with their users and potential buyers. This was a win-win for the brand and the influencers as it increased their credibility and exposure.

SAP consistently sets a high bar for B2B influencer marketing, so if you’re in the software space and looking for inspiration, they’re a good brand to keep your eye on.

That’s a Wrap on Influencer Marketing for B2B

I hope this helped answer all your burning questions on how to make waves with B2B influencer marketing. If you’d like even more background, check out our previous post Why Influencers May Be the Solution to Your B2B Marketing Problem. Remember B2B influencer marketing can help you get B4YB (bang for your buck)!

If you’re in the market to start your own B2B influencer marketing campaign, you’re in the right place. Schedule a strategy call with one of our influencer marketing experts and we’ll help you create a B2B campaign that will make your enemies jealous and customers overjoyed.

👀 And There’s More B2B Influencer Marketing Content Where This Came From!

We pulled together a nice, tidy rabbit hole for you on related topics that will make you an expert at this whole B2B Influencer Marketing thing. #yw

Digital marketing strategies fit together like puzzle pieces.

Your influencer campaign should be one of those pieces.

The Shelf is an influencer marketing agency that creates full-funnel influencer campaigns to help brands leverage touchpoints at every stage of the purchase process.

We partner brands with Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube storytellers for campaigns customized to boost the ROI of your overarching paid digital marketing strategy.

Not sure how to integrate influencers into your larger digital strategy? We have people who can walk you through that process... and give you some great ideas along the way. Click to schedule a strategy call.

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