B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy: The Guide for Success in 2023

Key Insights 📈 📊

  • B2B Influencer Marketing is a Powerful Tool for Brand Perception. This digital marketing strategy is effective in influencing B2B buyers and changing brand perception. As B2B influencers are credible, their content ranks high in Google, and the media shares and references it.
  • B2B Influencers are Industry Experts and Thought Leaders. B2B influencers are typically thought leaders and industry experts in technology, business, and innovation, with many having worked as executives, engineers, or data scientists in enterprise companies.
  • The Execution of Influencer Marketing Varies by Industry. While the definition of influencer marketing is the same for all types of companies, the execution is different and unique to each industry, with consumer brands focusing more on lifestyle content and business influencers focusing on thought leadership content.
  • The 1:9:90 Model is Essential for Identifying the Right Influencers. The 1:9:90 influencer model segments influencers and social audiences across topics, industries, and markets and is a valuable model for informing a B2B influencer marketing strategy.
  • Real-time Influencer Engagement is Key. Real-time influencer engagement involves following influencers, sharing their content, and engaging with them on social media, a cost-effective way to build relationships with influencers.
  • Paid B2B Influencer Marketing Guarantees Content Reach. A paid B2B influencer marketing campaign can guarantee that content will reach the desired audience, with several virtual ways to activate influencer programs, such as 1:1 topical-based interviews, collaborative content, guest blogging, and virtual panel discussions.
  • Employee Advocacy and B2B Influencer Marketing Should be Integrated. Innovative brands integrate employee programs with B2B influencer marketing by facilitating strategic technology discussions on public social media channels, which results in fruitful conversations seen and participated in by influencers, buyers, and other technology community members.

You probably won’t hear much about tech brands building a B2B influencer marketing strategy in the media. You won’t see a Super Bowl half-time commercial featuring a tech influencer campaign. You’ll never see billboards with B2B influencers posing next to a data center. It just won’t happen. Yet, B2B influencer marketing is the most effective digital marketing strategy to influence B2B buyers and change brand perception.

  • 78% of B2B marketers say influencer marketing is effective, even for small campaigns (Source)
  • 86% of B2B brands find success with influencer marketing (Source)
  • 95% of brands using B2B influencer marketing report it has helped increase brand reputation and awareness (Source)
  • B2B buyers are 3x more likely to purchase after an influencer recommendation (Source)
  • B2B influencer marketing campaigns have an 8.7% average engagement rate (Source)

What is B2B Influencer Marketing?

The definition of B2B influencer marketing isn’t a complicated one. It’s defined the same way, regardless of your industry or vertical–B2B, technology, construction management, facilities, consumer tech, fashion, travel, or healthcare. Influencer marketing is when a company hires an individual or a group to participate in a marketing campaign. It’s a value exchange of money for influence.

Even though the definition of influencer marketing is the same for all types of companies, the execution is different and will be unique. For consumer brands, influencers are considered to be creators. They focus more on lifestyle, fun, and cultural-related content. They use photos, filters, and short videos on TikTok, Instagram Stories, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

Business influencers have a narrower focus on creating thought leadership content in articles, blog posts, videos, and other social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. They are content creators but don’t necessarily consider themselves “creators.

What is a B2B Influencer?

There are several ways to break down and segment the B2B influencer community. At the end of the day, though, they are thought leaders and industry experts in technology, business, and innovation. In addition, many are subject matter experts and have worked as executives, engineers, or data scientists in enterprise companies. Here are a few technology influencers who fall into this category:

  • Dr. Sally Eaves is a CEO & CTO Advisor and Policy Advisor for the Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research. I know Sally personally, and she is highly knowledgeable about AI, Data, and Financial Technology.
  • Sarbjeet Johal is a Silicon Valley technologist who has worked for Oracle, Rackspace, VMWare, and other tech firms. I also know Sarbjeet. He’s an engineer by trade, has a lot of knowledge in the software industry, and has established himself as an industry analyst here in Silicon Valley.
  • Rumman Chowdhury is the Director of ML Ethics & Accountability at Twitter. She also worked as a Senior Principal, Artificial Intelligence at Accenture. With degrees from MIT and Columbia and a Ph.D. from UCSD, to say she’s an expert in AI would be an understatement. I also know Rumman, and she’s a friendly and easy-going person.
  • Helen Yu is the founder of Tigon Advisory, a CXO-as-a-service growth accelerator.

While these individuals might not consider themselves a “B2B influencer”, I know that dozens of PR professionals have each on a list somewhere. And, yes, they are all very influential.

A large segment of B2B influencers is also analysts for research and advisory companies, not just top-tier firms like Gartner, Forrester, and IDC. Smaller firms like Constellation Research, Everest Group, HfS Research, Aragon Research, and RedMonk are equally as influential to B2B buyers, if not more. Here are a few that fall into this category.

Some reporters and journalists are highly influential and can also be considered a B2B influencer. ZDNet has a healthy roster of influential writers that I have been tracking for years:

  • Joe McKendrick: A hybrid analyst/journalist who writes for several tech media outlets
  • Larry Dignan: Editor in Chief for Celonis (previously ZDNet)
  • Dion Hinchcliffe: Dion is more of a business strategist and thought leader
  • Angelica Mari: Tech journalist and writes for Forbes, ComputerWeekly, Bloomberg Línea
  • Charlie Osborne: Charlie also contributes to The Daily Swig, a web security news publication

Working with B2B and technology influencers is smart because they have diverse audiences and are trusted by their peers within their network. Unlike influencers in the consumer space, business influencers aren’t what you would call “professional influencers.” Instead, they are passionate about business and technology and have engaged audiences. They are thought leaders.

B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy Drives The Buyer Journey

According to Gartner, B2B buyers in enterprise software spend 27% of their time researching information online. This provides several opportunities to use influencer marketing to reach potential customers and a larger target audience.

While the majority of B2B marketers spend most of their time at the bottom of the funnel trying to convert leads, there are some additional benefits of building a B2B influencer marketing campaign at the top and middle stages of the sales funnel:

  • Boosting brand awareness by reaching the influencer’s audience
  • Driving website traffic and follower growth on social media
  • Building brand reputation across new audiences
  • Increasing brand awareness among new community groups

As I have already stated, influencer content consistently ranks high on Google. So, after a marketing campaign ends, as long as you ask the influencer to create long-form content, you will reap the benefits of that engagement for a long time.

Understanding the Differences Between Influencer Relations and Influencer Marketing

Influencer relations represent a distinct approach from influencer marketing, though the two share similarities. Like media relations, influencer relations involve PR professionals building relationships with industry voices to earn media coverage. However, the focus falls on non-traditional digital influencers rather than traditional journalists.

Through personalized outreach, brands pitch relevant story ideas and news to influencers. This collaborative exchange occurs without financial compensation. If compelling, the influencer may opt to feature the brand organically in their content. This earned media achieves awareness and positive associations like a journalist writing about the brand.

In contrast, influencer marketing entails paid partnerships between brands and influencers. This may involve sponsored posts, product gifting, affiliate commissions, or other contractual arrangements. Compensation is exchanged for guaranteed influencer content production and promotion.

While influencer marketing drives more direct returns, influencer relations focuses solely on organic relationship building. Over time, brands earn trust and credibility through valuable contributions to niche conversations. When executed authentically, this cultivates lasting influencer partnerships that deliver ongoing exposure.

Though often confused, the core difference lies in paid versus earned engagement. Influencer relations, like media relations, rely exclusively on earned media. It plays a vital role in public relations strategy, complementing other functions like journalism outreach. Handled skillfully, it becomes a powerful channel for reputation management across digital spaces.

Are You Measuring Influence The Right Way?

The first and most critical step in measuring influence is using data and analytics to identify the most relevant influencers. And that means you must understand how influence is measured. If you get this wrong, your entire influencer marketing strategy won’t perform as expected, and you’ll have much to explain to senior management. I have seen this happen several times, where marketers rush through the influencer identification process and launch a PESO marketing campaign to meet a deadline. The program may not fail miserably, but you won’t get the results you expect, nor will you experience a marketing ROI of a thoughtful and well-planned B2B influencer strategy.

ReachThe size of their social community
RelevanceHow often they are talking about a topic
ResonanceThe engagement they get from posting and creating content
ReferenceHow often they are referenced by media or other influencers

Measuring influence is subjective. Too many marketers rely solely on the outputs and reporting of influencer marketing platforms. It’s a good start but only tells a tiny piece of the story.

Here’s why. Typically, most platforms use three data points to measure influence:

  1. Reach: The size of their social community
  2. Relevance: How often are they talking about a topic
  3. Resonance: The engagement they get from posting and creating content

These B2B influencer marketing tools do an excellent job at this because they count numbers. That’s it. And, even with different algorithms, most influencer identification tools are consistent with each other when ranking topical-based industry influencers. The three data points are just weighted differently.

Measuring B2B Influence

The last step in measuring influence is “reference.” Reference has two equal parts. First, it measures how often (if at all) the media or other influencers reference the individual. In other words, are they mentioned in articles, reports, blog posts, podcasts, or social media?

The second part is how often a specific audience mentions the influencer, like developers, security engineers, or CTOs. Again, this can be a manual process unless you have access to a social media intelligence platform that can save you time and money.

Here’s why reference is essential.

Imagine analyzing 5G influencers and identifying the top five you plan to work with on an upcoming product launch. They all have huge communities and talk about 5G, and when they talk about 5G, they get excellent engagement from their followers. Four of the five influencers have been mentioned by other influencers and various audiences in the media. The question is: Do you work with the one influencer that hasn’t been referenced by anyone else? It depends.

Everyone defines and values influence differently. Some view reach and engagement as the ultimate data point when activating influencer marketing campaigns. Others are more rigorous with data and demand to see how a B2B influencer program delivers business value through sales and leads. The key is to align your influencer marketing strategy to the B2B sales funnel.

How to Identify the Right B2B Influencers

Identifying and vetting the most relevant influencers represents a critical first step for any successful influencer marketing program. Targeting influencers with minimal expertise or engagement within a niche dilutes potential impact. Carefully mining for just the right influencers at the outset provides a solid foundation to build lasting partnerships and drive measurable results.

The 1:9:90 Model of Influence

The 1:9:90 influencer model segments influencers and social audiences across topics, industries, and markets and is a valuable model that can inform a B2B influencer marketing strategy. A market is a place where buyers and sellers gather and exchange goods and services and can be defined in many different ways–SaaS companies over $100M in revenue, enterprise security software, big data companies, or more specific markets that cater to DevOps, AIOps, or Robotics Process Automation (RPA). For example, baby diapers and wedding fashion are also markets.

The model can be divided into three audience segments–1%, 9%, and 90%.

B2B influencer model

The 1% creates new models, ideas, and innovations and tells compelling stories through blogs, webinars, videos, and articles. They are quoted in the media, guests on podcasts, and many have their own media platforms. This group will continue to get more influential as social networks are building tools and capabilities for B2B creators, with the latest example being the launch of the LinkedIn Podcast Network.

The 9% can be referred to as a specific audience group. For example, the audience can be a group of engineers, developers, or IT managers. They repackage influencer content, provide context, and share it with their social communities. They are highly vocal online, have large audiences, and are influential.

The 90% are what I refer to as lurkers or, in some cases, the “general market.” All they do is consume content and information. They Google everything, ask their peers and friends for recommendations, read G2 reviews, and rarely create content. As a result, they are highly influenced by the 1% and the 9%.

The 1:9:90 Model of Influence works exceptionally well when looking for topical-based influencers, such as the top cybersecurity influencers or an audience discussing digital transformation. Since the model uses reach, relevance, resonance, and reference mentioned above, the common denominator for building an influencer list is the actual topic being discussed, which is relevance.

Another way to find influencers is to build an audience of potential customers. You may also want to include existing customers as well. For example, if you were marketing to software developers, you would build an audience and then mine the data to see who influences them. Nine times out of ten, it’s not who you think it will be. This is probably the best way to find the most relevant and impactful influencers for any brand and small business.

Integrating B2B Influencer Marketing Campaigns Across All Media

Influencer marketing should never exist in isolation but integrate seamlessly into broader media strategies. A siloed approach limits exposure potential. But consistently engaging influencers across every touchpoint, tapping their channels, communities, and content, unlocks exponential reach.

Integrated campaigns multiply impact by coordinating initiatives across media. They allow consistent messaging through both owned channels and influencer partners for reinforcement. Content gets maximized through cross-promotion across blogs, social media, podcasts, videos and more. Influencers become brand amplifiers, extending engagement across their unique niches and loyal followers. This surround sound effect creates more touchpoints and higher visibility. An omnichannel strategy makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts, fueling meaningful awareness and ownership of brand narratives. Tight integration ensures influencer campaigns don’t just make noise but effectively cut through the clutter.

Start with Organic Influencer Engagement

As previously mentioned, influencer relations are closely aligned with traditional media relations. The approach typically involves sending influencers certain products or giving them instant access to executives, product managers, or a piece of software. And then hope that they create 2-3 social media posts, record a video on TikTok, write a blog post, and then tell all their friends through a series of content creation and posting on their social channels. A more extensive marketing campaign should always include this solid influencer marketing strategy for consumer brands.

Organic influencer engagement takes it one step further, but it’s pretty easy. It involves following influencers, adding them to a Twitter list, subscribing to their blogs and YouTube channels, sharing their content, tagging them, and Retweeting their content. But, again, minimal effort or participation is needed, and it costs nothing. That’s it.

Activating influencers across paid, earned, shared and owned media channels.

Building a Real-Time Influencer Content Engine

A real-time influencer content engine represents the pinnacle of an integrated influencer approach. This strategy replaces organic social media efforts with a system designed around influencers.

First, top influencers within the industry are identified using the 1:9:90 framework detailed previously. The goal is cultivating relationships with 25-200 of the most relevant voices. Their social handles across platforms get added to social listening panels to monitor real-time conversations.

Keyword filters are created around topics and discussions central to the brand. As influencers publish content, the brand has immediate visibility to commentary surrounding strategic areas. This enables timely, meaningful engagement in the moment.

Responding to influencers focuses on highlighting their expertise and advancing the narrative. Bland likes and shares are eschewed for context and original assets supplementing viewpoints. Short videos, images, gifs, and quotes add color to the conversation through value-driven contribution.

This process transforms influencers into central heroes who drive ongoing stories related to the brand. Instead of self-promotion, they become amplifiers supported with resources for richer storytelling. This establishes the brand as an omnipresent partner in meaningful conversations.

A real-time engine infuses influencer marketing throughout daily workflows. It embeds the brand within relevant communities through persistent collaboration. This level of integration drives consistent visibility and thought leadership without aggressive self-promotion.

Once you identify the right influencers and add them to a real-time listening panel, the content engine works something like this:

Real time Influencer

Two paths can be taken based on your marketing strategy. The first path requires no action other than reporting and making recommendations. The second path requires immediate action to activate the real-time content engine.

Reporting, Recommendations & Influencer Insights

  1. Monitor the influencer conversations in real time to see what’s trending.
  2. Provide daily, weekly, or monthly influencer insights.
  3. Recommend activation opportunities based on the insights.
  4. Provide content recommendations for employee advocacy programs and executive activation for employees and executives.

Content Activation

  1. Monitor the influencer conversations in real time to see what’s trending.
  2. Provide daily, weekly, or monthly influencer insights.
  3. Scrum with analysts, creatives, community managers, content strategists, and paid social experts to brainstorm influencer content and activation opportunities.
  4. Create shareable digital assets, usually animated videos, GIFs, or digital assets. In some cases, a blog post could be produced.
  5. Post & amplify the content with strategic paid social targeting larger audiences.

The goal of real-time influencer engagement isn’t to be relevant to everyone. It’s to be highly relevant to your audience. For example, everyone remembers the Oreo Tweet 2013 during Super Bowl XLVII. Since then, many brands have tried to “hijack” cultural moments to insert themselves into an existing narrative and reach a broad audience. Sometimes, it works, but most times, it doesn’t.

This is where real-time listening to influencer conversations becomes valuable. Rather than trying to align your brand with everyone, this approach leverages the most important target influencers to drive relevance with your brand. As a result, this approach delivers significant value to influencer marketing for B2B brands.

Executing Paid Influencer Marketing Campaigns

While organic influencer engagement can provide value, paid partnerships promote content to targeted audiences. When traditional channels like events were hindered during the pandemic, paid influencer marketing presented an innovative avenue to engage customers. Thoughtful paid campaigns deliver measurable business impact through several proven tactics.

Here is the table summarizing the paid influencer marketing tactics:

1:1 Topical InterviewsLive or pre-recorded discussions between influencers and brand expertsThought leadership, education, content creationScheduling, identifying compelling topics
Collaborative ContentCo-creating long-form assets like ebooks with influencersUnique perspectives, lead gen, content promotionAlignment on topics, production effort
Guest BloggingInfluencers create content on brand or their own blogExposure to new audiences, backlinks, organic searchIdentifying relevant bloggers, editorial control
Virtual Panel DiscussionsInfluencers engage in live/recorded panels on industry topicsLeadership positioning, multi-perspective insightsLogistics, identifying issues, moderator
Social Chat ActivationInfluencers host and engage in branded Twitter/LinkedIn chatsCommunity engagement, content creationPrepping questions, driving critical mass

1:1 Topical-Based Interviews

One effective tactic involves setting up 1:1 topical interviews between influencers and company subject matter experts. These discussions can be pre-recorded conversations or live-streamed events focused on relevant technology trends, predictions, and insights. The informal, conversational format allows both parties to delve into emerging issues or innovations that resonate with target audiences. When crafted thoughtfully around topics that advance the broader industry dialogue, these interviews adopt an educational, non-promotional tone.

The influencer may host the final edited discussion on their blog or incorporate it into a podcast episode, granting built-in exposure to their loyal following. Meanwhile, the brand can repurpose the content across its owned social channels, website, and marketing materials for additional reach. This cross-distribution ensures wider propagation beyond just the influencer’s core community. It organically places the brand and its experts in front of niche audiences that may otherwise prove difficult to penetrate. Over time, this positions the brand as a reliable industry thought leader, contributing meaningful perspectives to essential conversations. Essentially, it provides an opportunity to showcase expertise and vision rather than explicitly promoting products implicitly.

Collaborative Content Partnerships

Another effective paid influencer marketing tactic involves collaboratively developing long-form content assets with select influencers. This provides an opportunity to tap into the influencer’s unique perspective on relevant topics or trends for the co-creation of guides, ebooks, whitepapers, or videos. It enables brands and influencers to deliver more comprehensive insights as subject matter experts when done thoughtfully.

Several strategic approaches exist when exploring collaborative content. The final asset can be gated behind a landing page for lead generation to capture contact information. This provides a valuable way to expand reach into the influencer’s network and drive conversions.

Alternatively, collaborative content can focus more heavily on thought leadership. Jointly developing future-focused trend reports or comprehensive analyses allows brands to showcase their vision while advancing the industry narrative.

In both cases, the influencer’s early involvement ensures strong ownership over the final piece. This means they will actively promote and share the content across their social channels, blogs, videos, or podcasts. Not only does this extend reach, but it provides third-party validation of the brand as a credible partner.

Overall, collaborative long-form content unlocks unique value. Brands gain access to niche audiences and are positioned as subject matter experts. Influencers receive quality assets and insights to engage their followers. The co-creation process fosters a relationship rooted in mutual benefit—this sense of shared purpose results in lasting content that continues to pay dividends through ongoing promotion.

Leveraging Influencer Guest Blogging

Guest blogging represents another influencer integration strategy, providing several options for content collaboration. One approach involves inviting select influencers to contribute posts directly on the company blog. The influencer receives complete editorial control over the piece, lending authenticity. In exchange, they share the finished post across their social channels, exposing new audiences to the brand blog.

Alternatively, brands can request influencers create relevant blog content on their own platform. The brand provides suggestions for linking back to pages on the company website as natural contextual references. If done consistently with top influencers, this builds diverse backlinks to boost organic search performance.

In both cases, the value exchange centers on access to unique audience segments. Brands receive exposure to the influencer’s highly engaged, niche following. Meanwhile, influencers can provide their community with exclusive insights. This reciprocal benefit is paramount to successful ongoing guest blogging partnerships.

When coordinating guest content, brands should focus on aligning with influencers creating content that genuinely resonates with target buyer personas. The goal is to tap into discussions already happening within critical communities. This contextual integration ensures content feels organic rather than forced.

Overall, influencer guest blogging represents a natural way to infuse brand stories into relevant spaces through credible voices. It expands reach into new networks and drives discovery through search engines. Most importantly, it fosters collaboration for impactful, mutually beneficial outcomes.

Facilitating Virtual Panel Discussions

Live or pre-recorded virtual panel discussions offer another compelling paid influencer marketing format. These structured conversations unite a diverse mix of executives, partners, and influencers to debate trending industry topics. The broad expertise perspective provides unique insights from different stakeholder lenses.

When organizing virtual panels, key considerations include identifying issues genuinely impacting customers and businesses. The discourse should aim to advance thinking or perspectives rather than overtly promote. Moderators play a pivotal role in guiding discussion flow and drawing out insights from each participant.

Full panel recordings can live on the brand website or YouTube channel as an on-demand thought leadership asset. The content can also be clipped into shorter segments for social media distribution. Participants receive the final assets to share across their channels, expanding reach.

Virtual panels provide a way to position multiple experts and influencers as thought leaders discussing complex issues. Instead of single interviews, the diverse slate of panelists lends a more holistic point of view. It creates a platform for showcasing leadership and perspective on business impact and emerging trends.

With scintillating discussion topics and credible influencer participation, virtual panels bring stories to life for target audiences. They showcase a commitment to addressing issues central to customer success. The format provides a means of developing original content with built-in amplification potential.

Driving Discussion through Social Chats

Social chats represent another form of activation that rallies influencers to drive discussion around specific topics. In this approach, influencers are enlisted to host and participate in planned Twitter or LinkedIn chats focused on trends or issues relevant to audiences.

Preparation is key to ensuring lively, engaging dialogue. Potential questions are seeded with the influencer moderators and participants in advance. This priming helps guarantee sufficient responses and thoughtful commentary.

The brand’s role centers on identifying compelling chat themes aligned with strategic narratives. They may also contribute stats, relevant announcements, or news items to spark real-time reactions or commentary from influencers.

Full chat transcripts can live on the brand blog or website as an on-demand resource. The brand can also clip highlights to share across social channels, further extending visibility. Influencers receive the assets to tap into their communities, activating exponential exposure.

Promoted chat hashtag, campaigns provide another layer of amplification to grow reach beyond existing followers. This expands the discussion’s penetration to reach highly targeted segments on social platforms through paid boosting.

Thoughtful social chats position brands as community leaders facilitating important conversations. Influencers function as key discussants but not overt brand evangelists. The goal is to provide real value to audiences seeking insights on relevant issues. Done well, social chats can produce content with far-reaching engagement potential.

Integrate Employee Advocacy & B2B Influencer Marketing

Employee advocacy is a marketing program that trains, deploys, and supports employees to participate in industry-related conversations, promote and defend the brand, and build personal thought leadership. In this context, employee advocacy accounts for employees who work in specialized job functions, executives, and the sales team.

We already know that the B2B buyer spends much time online researching products and services and participating in social media discussions. They are consistently seeking out third-party validation throughout the entire buyer journey. They are very active on social media and trust peers and colleagues more than in marketing.

Innovative brands integrate employee programs with B2B influencer marketing by facilitating strategic technology discussions on public social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn or within branded communities, similar to what SAP created years ago and the recently launched Brandwatch Community.

The result is a fruitful conversation seen and participated in by influencers, buyers, and other technology community members. Moreover, these conversations are also indexed in Google and have a lifespan of forever.

Additionally, there is a practice called executive and influencer mapping. It’s very similar to the real-time influencer engagement mentioned above, but it comes from the executive social media profile instead of the activation from branded channels.

Using Influencer Analytics to Inform a Content Strategy

Below is an example of using influencer analytics to identify the most influential people talking about data science. Below, you’ll see Kirk Borne’s influencer profile. He is one of the most influential data scientists on the planet. You’ll also notice several data points representing different variables about Kirk’s topics the most.

The most critical data point supporting Kirk’s status as an influencer is reference, as mentioned above. In 2019, he was mentioned well over 176K times by a social listening panel of 10K self-identified IT decision-makers. This means that the resonance of his content over-indexes against a very influential ITDM audience.

Kirk Borne Influencer analytics

Mapping influencers is more than just a beautiful data visualization. It’s a critical approach that maps the connective tissue of a group of influencers. It visually shows relationships of data that you couldn’t see in an Excel document. This data type can surface new B2B influencers, narratives, topics, and audiences.

Influencer mapping can be done in several ways, depending on your wants. Sometimes, the connection can be based on affinities, interests, and characteristics – what brands they follow, what industries they work in, or where they live. It can also be found on topics – what themes, narratives, and issues they publicly discuss. It can be based on audience – which groups of people they influence and the connection points of each audience. Lastly, it can be done to identify new individuals to identify “who” is influencing your group of influencers.

Influencer Mapping for B2B brands

Once you’ve identified the top influencers, focusing time and effort on influencer analytics and research is essential. It involves adding the influencers into a real-time listing panel and mining the conversations to understand the topics most important to them. Looking at historical discussions is critical because it can help spot older trends and predict new ones. Influencer intelligence can surface several actionable insights like the following:

  1. Conversational trends can help uncover what topics of conversation have become more or less important to this group of influencers.
  2. Conversational trends in real-time (mission-critical for organic influencer engagement) will show what trending topics are happening among the influencers.
  3. Conversation analysis will uncover the hidden narratives and topics that B2B influencers care about (e.g., yes, artificial intelligence is a hot topic, but what exactly is the context).
  4. Sentiment analysis will show how influencers feel about products, brands, technology news, and specific issues that may be culturally important.

Here’s an example of an influencer trends analysis that tracked ten security influencers’ conversations over 12 months. You’ll notice the fluctuation in specific topics and how they increase/decrease in certain time frames.

Trending Influencer Conversations

Influencer marketing data like this will require B2B influencer marketing platform access. Please don’t invest in the first vendor you hear about in a Google search. You’ll want to ensure that you invest in the right influencer marketing software to meet your business requirements and help scale your program when ready.

Think of a real-time listening panel as a custom search engine. For example, in Google, when you type in a query and hit “Enter,” you will get the most relevant results back based on your search term. A listening panel works the same way. But in this case, when you type in a query, the results will be precisely what the influencers say about the keywords and phrases you are searching for.

Most social media monitoring tools can do this. So, once you find the top influencers, you add the social handles to a dashboard (some social platforms call it a query) and use filtering to mine the data. This methodology is also effective for real-time content marketing and audience analysis.

Choosing the Right B2B Influencer Marketing Platform

The software landscape for managing influencer marketing programs remains relatively limited, especially for B2B brands. Most existing tools cater to the needs of consumer brand programs rather than business-focused initiatives. However, a few emerging platforms offer capabilities tailored for technology and B2B engagement.

When evaluating software for B2B influencer efforts, key considerations include handling complex contractual agreements, enabling custom attribution modeling, and integrating disparate data sources. Consolidating insights from social media, web analytics, CRM systems, and other inputs provides a comprehensive view of performance.

Many consumer influencer tools lack robust analytics or data connectivity beyond basic campaign reporting. However, B2B brands must track multi-touch attribution and derive intelligence across programs. This allows precise measurement of influencer content while respecting data privacy regulations.

After a thorough review, three software solutions align well with core B2B needs. One option provides an automation layer for streamlining workflow efficiencies. Another specializes in compliance and fraud protection for paid partnerships. The third delivers an integrated command center consolidating insights.

While still an evolving landscape, these tools exemplify the key capabilities necessary for orchestrating technology influencer marketing. As more B2B brands accelerate investment in this area, continued innovation and specialization among software vendors will follow. But for now, these solutions translate strategy into impact – an invaluable starting point for any brand exploring influencer marketing.

Here are three influencer marketing platforms to consider:

1. Traackr

Traackr is one of the most seasoned influencer marketing platforms, founded in 2008 before influencer marketing was even a thing. The company entered the market as a social listening tool tracking brand mentions and conversations across digital spaces. However, Traackr soon recognized an opportunity to evolve its technology to meet the growing needs of the nascent influencer marketing industry.

Over time, the platform expanded its influencer identification, relationship building, campaign management, and performance analysis capabilities. Today, Traackr offers an end-to-end solution enabling brands to operationalize influencer marketing at scale. Its longevity gives it over a decade of insights into what brands require to connect influencer strategy to business impact.

Key Features

  • Influencer Discovery – Traackr provides access to an extensive database of influencer profiles spanning social platforms. Users can search and filter to pinpoint niche influencers that align with their brand’s audience, interests, and partnership needs. Detailed influencer bios offer insights for assessing the quality and relevance of an influencer’s audience and content. This enables brands to vet influencers and build customized databases to manage relationships thoroughly.
  • Relationship Management Tools to Optimize Engagement – The platform equips brands with robust tools to nurture influencer relationships over time. Users can directly communicate with influencers through the platform to send briefing documents, manage conversations, and track interactions. Influencers can be organized into different tiers to prioritize higher-value relationships. This relationship management capability empowers strategic, targeted outreach and fosters lasting connections with priority influencers.
  • End-to-End Campaign Management – Traackr provides workflow automation to streamline campaign management at scale for executing influencer initiatives. Brands can quickly brief influencers, track deliverables, manage content approvals, and handle compensation dispersal, all within the platform. Robust permissions ensure proper oversight and controls. This enables smooth operational execution from initial influencer outreach through final content amplification.
  • Analytics for Performance Measurement – Extensive analytics offer visibility into campaign reach, engagement, conversion rates, and ROI across owned, earned, and paid media. Comparative benchmark reports help brands assess performance versus industry averages. These data-driven insights enable precise optimization of ongoing influencer marketing efforts.
Powerful and comprehensive feature setNot ideal for small businesses due to likely high cost
Unparalleled depth of influencer data and insightsNon-transparent pricing model requires contact for quotes
Helps drive authenticity in influencer relationshipsSteep learning curve to master its extensive capabilities
Used by leading global brands

2. Onalytica

Onalytica was founded in 2009, Onalytica and aims to help B2B brands strategically identify, activate, and measure influencer partnerships to drive measurable business impact.

The platform provides robust capabilities to streamline influencer marketing operations, from discovery and relationship building to program analysis. Its breadth of functionality allows brands to scale influencer efforts efficiently while maintaining compliance and capitalizing on data insights.

Key Features

  • Influencer Discovery and Profile Management – Onalytica grants access to a database of over 500K influencer profiles spanning major social platforms. Users can search and filter potential partners by key criteria like demographics, topics and content focus, engagement metrics, and audience quality. Comprehensive influencer profiles provide the background details necessary for vetting and relationship building. This enables brands to hone in on the most relevant voices aligned to their goals.
  • CRM-Style Relationship Management – The platform centralizes influencer communications to streamline outreach and nurture connections over time. Users can directly interface with influencers, send briefing materials, track responses, and manage permissions and negotiations – all from a single dashboard. This consolidated view allows brands to cultivate relationships with precision and consistency.
  • End-to-End Campaign Workflow Automation – For executing campaigns, Onalytica supports planning campaign specifics, establishing goals, managing content requirements, routing assets for approval, tracking deliverables, and dispersing compensation. Integrated workflows automate administrative tasks to improve efficiency at scale.
  • Analytics for Performance Measurement – The platform provides multilayered reporting on campaign results across reach, engagement, amplification, and conversion metrics. These data-driven insights enable brands to pinpoint what’s working and optimize ongoing influencer initiatives for greater impact.
  • Proactive Brand Protection – Onalytica helps ensure brand safety through tools to detect fraudulent or inauthentic influencer followers and monitor controversies. This proactive monitoring mitigates potential compliance risks.
  • White Labelling to Build Influencer Trust – The platform can be white labeled and rebranded to build influencer confidence and trust as their dedicated partner. This transparency helps nurture productive relationships.
Comprehensive end-to-end influencer marketing capabilitiesExpensive for small businesses or individuals
Powerful influencer discovery and deep influencer insightsSteep learning curve to master the platform
Helps drive authenticity in influencer relationshipsLack of self-serve engagement features
Robust analytics for data-driven optimizationLimited integration capabilities
Used by leading global brands and agencies

3. Tagger Media

Tagger offers an end-to-end influencer marketing platform enabling brands to optimize influencer relationship management and campaign execution. Founded in 2015, Tagger aims to help brands discover relevant influencers, activate high-impact campaigns, manage partnerships, and precisely track performance. Sprout Social recently acquired Tagger.

The platform consolidates the core capabilities needed to operationalize influencer marketing across the customer journey. This includes identifying target influencers, building authentic connections, orchestrating multiphased initiatives, and deriving data-driven insights for continual optimization. Tagger’s comprehensive functionality allows brands to gain greater efficiency, transparency, and business value.

Key Features

  • Influencer Discovery and Profile Management – Tagger grants access to an extensive database of over 6 million influencer profiles across major social platforms. Users can filter by audience demographics, interests, content types, engagement metrics, and more. In-depth influencer profiles provide the necessary information to assess potential partnerships. This enables brands to precisely target influencers that align to their goals.
  • Relationship Management CRM – The platform centralizes all influencer communications and brand interactions. Users can directly interface with influencers, share briefing materials, track responses, and manage permissions and negotiations from a unified dashboard. This consolidated view helps nurture influencer relationships over time.
  • End-to-End Campaign Orchestration – Tagger provides workflow automation to streamline campaign management at scale. Brands can easily brief influencers, establish goals, track deliverables, manage approvals, and handle compensation. Integrated workflows enhance operational efficiency.
  • Performance Monitoring and Optimization – Detailed analytics offer visibility into campaign results across multiple metrics tied to reach, engagement, amplification, conversions, and ROI. These data-driven insights enable optimization of ongoing efforts for greater impact.
  • Competitive Listening – The platform also facilitates monitoring brand mentions, analyzing competitors, identifying emerging trends, and discovering new potential influencer partners through broad listening capabilities.
Comprehensive end-to-end influencer marketing capabilitiesExpensive for small businesses or individuals
Powerful influencer discovery and deep influencer insightsSteep learning curve to master the platform
Helps drive authenticity in influencer relationshipsLimited integration capabilities
Robust analytics for data-driven optimizationInfluencer outreach features could be improved
Award-winning platform used by leading global brands

Understanding The Differences Between B2B and B2C Influencer Programs

Influencer marketing shares common principles between B2C and B2B brands, yet optimized execution requires tailored strategies for each. Several fundamental factors differentiate B2B technology influencer programs from broader consumer initiatives.

The economics of B2B influencer efforts can prove more costly and time-intensive. Extensive research is required to identify a niche, highly targeted network of influencers discussing complex industry topics. Partnership activation also involves prolonged relationship building to nurture trust and establish thought leadership positioning. Meanwhile, consumer programs leverage micro-influencers to create high-volume social content rapidly.

Measuring impact presents another divergence. B2B purchases follow lengthy sales cycles across multiple touchpoints. This complicates attribution modeling and determining influencer content ROI. Consumer brands emphasize vanity metrics like impressions, engagement, and click-throughs directly tied to conversions. For B2B brands, value stems from shaping perception across buyer journeys versus short-term sales.

FactorConsumer BrandsB2B Brands
CostExpensive. Must pay influencers, agencies, percentage of spendAlso expensive. More time intensive for research and activation
MeasurementFairly easy to measure campaign performanceDifficult to measure given complex B2B journeys
StrategyAlways activate campaigns for immediate resultsCan focus just on research and listening for insights
InfluencersEveryday consumers, micro-influencers, social media creatorsAnalysts, journalists, bloggers, industry experts
PlatformsInstagram, Snapchat, TikTok primarilyLinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, contributed articles
ManagementTypically use influencer agenciesIn-house or marketing/PR agencies, using Traackr/Onalytica
ComplianceMust follow FTC disclosure guidelinesFTC less applicable. Brand safety less of an issue
FraudRisk of influencers buying fake followersLess common, but some risk

The types of influencers also vary between sectors. B2B engages analysts, journalists, bloggers, and subject matter experts focused on enterprise challenges. Consumer programs target celebrities, athletes, and everyday social media personalities as their advocates. This impacts partnership mechanics and brand safety considerations.

Ultimately, B2B influencer marketing must align with lengthy decision-making processes and complex customer journeys. While some foundational elements crossover from B2C, success requires brands to tailor strategy, execution, and measurement to the unique B2B landscape. Influencers, economics, results, and risk management diverge. Customization is mandatory to realize the potential value.


What is B2B Influencer Marketing?

B2B Influencer Marketing is a strategy for hiring individuals or groups to participate in a marketing campaign. It’s a value exchange of money for influence. The influencers are credible; their content ranks high in Google, and the media shares and references it. These are all touchpoints within the customer journey.

Who are B2B Influencers?

B2B influencers are thought leaders and industry experts in technology, business, and innovation. Many are subject matter experts and have worked as enterprise companies’ executives, engineers, or data scientists. They focus on creating thought leadership content in articles, blog posts, videos, and other social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn.

How does B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy Drive the Buyer Journey?

B2B Influencer Marketing Strategy drives the buyer journey by boosting brand awareness by reaching the influencer’s audience, driving website traffic and follower growth on social media, building a brand reputation across new audiences, and increasing brand awareness among new community groups.

What is the difference between Influencer Relations and Influencer Marketing?

Influencer relations is a different way of saying media relations. It’s when a PR professional treats industry influencers the same way they would treat a journalist. There is no money exchange for any services rendered or stories written. It’s 100% earned media and all about influencer relationships. Influencer relations is a critical function that falls within the public relations team.

How to measure influence the right way?

Measuring influence is subjective. Most platforms use three data points to measure influence: Reach (the size of their social community), Relevance (how often they talk about a topic), and Resonance (the engagement they get from posting and creating content). The last step in measuring influence is reference, which measures how often the media or other influencers reference the individual.

How to identify the right influencers?

The 1:9:90 Model of Influence is a valuable model that can inform a B2B influencer marketing strategy. The 1% creates new models, ideas, and innovations and tells compelling stories. The 9% repackages influencer content, provides context, and shares it with their social communities. The 90% are referred to as lurkers or, in some cases, the “general market.” All they do is consume content and information.

How to integrate influencers into an influencer marketing campaign and program?

There are several ways to integrate influencers into an influencer marketing campaign and program, such as starting with Organic Influencer Engagement, Real-time Influencer Content Engine, Paid B2B Influencer Marketing, and The Integration of Employee Advocacy & B2B Influencer Marketing.

How to use influencer analytics to inform a content strategy?

Influencer analytics can be used to identify the most influential people talking about a specific topic. It can help spot older trends and predict new ones. Influencer intelligence can surface several actionable insights like conversational trends, conversation analysis, sentiment analysis, etc.

How to choose the right B2B Influencer Marketing Platform?

Choosing the right B2B Influencer Marketing Platform depends on your business requirements and how you plan to scale your program. Most social media monitoring tools can do this. Once you find the top influencers, you add the social handles to a dashboard and use filtering to mine the data. This methodology is also effective for real-time content marketing and audience analysis.

Michael Brito

Michael Brito is a Digital OG. He’s been building brands online since Al Gore invented the Internet. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.