The rise of B2B influencers

Vivien Christel Vella
Vivien Christel Vella
4 min read
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This article covers
The difference between a B2B influencer and a B2C influencer
The benefits of using a B2B influencer
Three B2B Influencer Trends for 2024

Brand influencers are no longer just the B2C sector’s secret weapon… Read on to discover the full benefits of making B2B influencers a key part of your B2B marketing strategies – from building brand awareness to creating trust amongst customers. 

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a strategy that uses well-known people (e.g. celebrities or industry figures) to sway consumers’ purchasing decisions. A business may enlist a brand influencer to market one of its products or services, choosing them because of their existing popularity and trustability amongst its target audience.

What is the difference between a B2B influencer and a B2C influencer?

B2C influencer marketing is often associated with celebrities and social media stars with big followings on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. They are often chosen by brands to drive quick sales.

B2B influencer marketing takes a more considered approach. Because of the typically more “corporate” nature of the B2B sector, B2B influencer marketing leans into industry experts and thought leaders, chosen for their authority amongst the target audience. They may be journalists, analysts or well-known industry speakers, and their endorsement is invaluable to B2B brands looking to build credibility within the B2B industry.

These differences between B2C and B2B influencers are reflected in their content type. B2C content is often fun and creative, with the aim of building engagement. B2B marketing content strategies tend to be more formal and designed to provide insights – focusing on white papers, eBooks and webinars.

Whilst B2C influencer marketing has been mainstream for many years, B2B marketing is now gaining momentum, too. In 2023, 85% of B2B marketers incorporated brand influencers into their campaigns – an increase of 34% from 20201.

The benefits of using a B2B influencer

1. Increased brand awareness

B2B businesses can leverage the popularity of already-established figures to raise their brand visibility. By partnering with a B2B influencer with a large following in the target market, the brand will have access to a new audience of highly-engaged prospects.

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2. Enhanced credibility

Consumers often view marketing messages with a degree of scepticism but seeing them endorsed by a trusted and authoritative industry voice can create invaluable credibility. In fact, 63% of consumers trust influencers more than brands(2), emphasizing their important role within B2B marketing strategies.

woman smiling at mobile phone

3. A human connection

Research shows that emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers, as emotions are known to influence decision-making and brand loyalty(3). With many B2B interactions moving online in a post-Covid world, businesses can leverage influencers to give their B2B marketing strategies a human connection.

4. Increased lead generation and sales

72% of B2B businesses believe that the quality of customers from influencer marketing campaigns is better than other marketing types(4). By carefully selecting influencer partners who are closely aligned with their brand values, businesses can reach specific groups of customers who are highly likely to convert.

person counting money

5. Impressive return on investment (ROI)

Done correctly, influencer marketing can be an effective investment for brands. On average, businesses achieve a US$5.2 ROI for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, while the top 13% of businesses enjoy a revenue of US$20+(5).

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6. Industry insights

It’s not just prospects who can benefit from an influencer’s knowledge – 90% of industry marketers said they believe that B2B influencers on social media are an important source of staying up to date with their industry(6). A well-chosen B2B influencer partner will have expert insights about the sector to empower your business, and have direct engagement with customers to gather feedback.

Three B2B Influencer Trends for 2024  

1. AI empowerment

Artificial intelligence is transforming almost every facet of business, and the influencer marketing sector is no exception. One study found that in 2023, 76% of marketing agencies and 52% of influencers used some form of AI to analyze data, find influencer partners, and support content creation7.

For the latter, AI has the power to optimize the content to better mirror what the target audience are actively seeking, ensuring they receive highly personalized messaging that is more likely to convert them.

Another significant benefit of the technology is its ability to help brands track and measure the performance of their influencer marketing campaigns, and take analytics-driven decisions accordingly.

2. TikTok for business influencers

Whilst B2B marketing on LinkedIn is often prioritized, brands may be missing a trick by not considering TikTok, too. The platform’s vast reach (1.5 billion monthly active users and counting8) makes it an attractive prospect for even the most niche of businesses.

The platform’s short-form video format lends itself to streamlined “how-to” guides, allowing B2B businesses the opportunity to engage prospects around the potential of their tools. Furthermore, its largely Millennial and Gen Z audience demographic aligns with the new influx of B2B decision makers.

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3. Employee advocacy

89% of C-Suite marketers said they believe using employees as influencers holds immense value for their businesses9. These employees act as an “organic” brand voice, reaching industry peers and potential customers in a more authentic way. It’s also an extremely cost-effective marketing strategy; businesses can start with something as simple as encouraging their employees to share informative posts on LinkedIn.

The future of B2B influencer marketing

B2B sales have traditionally relied on carefully nurtured relationships with buyers. Looking ahead, as the B2B industry continues to digitalize, influencer marketing will play an increasingly integral role in helping businesses within the sector to maintain the level of trust and authenticity that human connections create, aided by new and exciting innovations in AI.    

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