One of the best influencers that any B2B business can possibly leverage is their CEO. However, with 60% of CEOs having no social media presence, influencer marketing is difficult to accomplish.
The good news is that influencers can help such businesses overcome this problem. B2B influencer marketing campaigns can help B2B businesses reach customers they might not have found otherwise.
B2B influencer marketing has several other benefits compared to traditional marketing:
Influencers drive greater visibility and credibility for B2B companies. With many B2B companies craving credible recognition, influencer marketing is a powerful means of accomplishing such goals. Because influencers bring their genuine opinions and expertise to the table.
Influencers are powerful storytellers. And they can share their stories in a way that resonates with their target audiences. If you can get influencers to create powerful stories around your brand, you already have a winning strategy.
And of course, apart from credibility and visibility, influencers can also drive conversions.
To demonstrate the power of B2B influencer marketing, here are 15 incredible case studies for you to check out.
15 B2B Influencer Marketing Case Studies
With over 500 million professionals, including 61 million influencers and 40 million decision makers, LinkedIn is the largest professional network today. Commonly referred to as the dark horse of social media platforms, LinkedIn connects businesses with professionals.
Their platform can help recruiters attract and engage with talent and can also help businesses attract customers. But how are B2B brands using the voice of influencers to grow and expand their reach?
Here’s an example.
Image via LinkedIn
They’ve created a handy 48-page resource called, “The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn” in collaboration with B2B influencers. These influencers are various experts in the fields of social media marketing and digital marketing.
Every chapter in this guide ends with an “Ask the Expert” section that contains insightful Q&As with these influencers.
Apart from these 10 experts who’ve shared their insights, LinkedIn also mentions 25 social media experts that readers need to know.
Image via LinkedIn
How Does Influencer Marketing Benefit LinkedIn?
The authentic voice of an expert adds credibility to the guide. When they share their personal experiences of using LinkedIn, and how it has helped them, it encourages more people to leverage LinkedIn too.
When these influencers share this content on their networks, it helps LinkedIn with greater visibility and to reach new audiences.
SAP is a market leader in enterprise application software with thousands of corporate customers who benefit from their solutions. So how are they leveraging influencer marketing?
SAP influencers are top corporate executives and industry experts. SAP is known to invite their influencers to events which helps them increase social engagement and brand awareness.
In one of their recent events in Germany, SAP invited 5 influencers to talk about topics like machine learning, data analytics, and IoT. The results of having influencers at the event? The event was uptrending in Germany for 2 days. And these influencers drove 50% of all of the social media mentions about this event.
For another event in Florida, SAP collaborated with 11 influencers. The influencers reached 80,000-100,000 people online via live video streaming.The influencers went live and answered questions from people who could not attend the event. And, later SAP reused that content on their blog and social media profiles.
Image via Facebook
3. TopRank Marketing
TopRank Marketing is a digital marketing agency with expertise in content marketing, social media marketing, and influencer marketing. Their blog is deemed to be one of the most influential blogs and is very popular.
So how did TopRank Marketing leverage influencer marketing? To promote their Content Marketing World conference, TopRank brought together 40 influencers in marketing. These influencers shared insightful advice that aspiring content marketers need to know.
The content was curated into ebooks, slides, and blog posts to be distributed at scale.
The biggest benefit of leveraging influencers for the event was that Content Marketing World was greatly applauded. In terms of numbers, the campaign generated 217,000 ebook views and 145,000 SlideShare views.
4. American Express
American Express is one of the top companies who invest heavily in their marketing - both B2C and B2B marketing. So when it comes to influencer marketing, you know they won’t be far behind in joining the bandwagon.
AmEx has implemented numerous influencer marketing campaigns for acquiring both corporate clients as well as consumers. So how are they leveraging influencer marketing? Here’s an example.
American Express collaborated with influential bloggers, Grace Bonney and Emily Henderson, to reach out to small businesses. The campaign was called “Love My Store.” The objective was to let customers know that even small businesses accept credit cards. And of course, to promote American Express too.
When creativity and intelligence meet, miracles happen. And that’s the best way I can summarize Microsoft’s influencer marketing campaign.
Microsoft partnered with National Geographic’s photography influencers. The purpose of the campaign was to motivate women to participate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). It was launched on International Women’s Day 2017.
Image via Instagram
They called it the #MakeWhatsNext campaign and partnered with National Geographic and 30 women scientists and adventurers.
Image via Instagram
The partnership with the influencers was not just for a single post. These influencers also provided free workshops to interested women in collaboration with Microsoft.
The results of this campaign? Microsoft’s influencer campaign reached 91 million people and earned 3.5 million likes on the same day. The results were amazing and clearly demonstrated the power of influencer partnering.
6. Video Fruit
Video Fruit provides tools and coaching to grow your email lists. Being a startup, they are obviously on the lookout for new customers. But do you know how Video Fruit was able to increase traffic to their website? By leveraging the power of B2B influencer marketing.
Video Fruit’s founder, Bryan Harris thought about writing a guest post on an influential site. And so, he wrote a guest post on Noah Kagan’s blog, OkDork.
This guest post exposed him to audiences which he wouldn’t have reached on his own. Their comments on the post were something like this.
And not just visitors. Within 2 days, 215 people subscribed to his site. So, you can imagine how effective this guest post turned out to be.
The lesson to be learned here? The right influencer can give you incredible results from influencer marketing.
IBM has always been an innovator in their field. And they’ve continued being so in their B2B influencer marketing as well. IBM is one of the pioneers in leveraging employees as influencers in their marketing campaigns.
Employees are obviously the ones who know the products of a business best. While some employees are actively engaged in creating these products, others are engaged in selling them. So if you can get them to talk about your products on social media, imagine how many people you can influence.
IBM enables their employees to promote their products on social media by providing them the content for posting.
We’ve seen how IBM has leveraged employee advocacy in their B2B influencer marketing program. However, another market leader, Salesforce, shows us how the CEO is the finest influencer a company can leverage.
Marc Benioff, the CEO and founder of Salesforce is a well-known personality in his niche. Naturally, his words mean quite a lot. He also has more than 970K followers on Twitter.
You won’t just find him promoting Salesforce on Twitter. Instead, he also shares his views on equality and leadership. His popularity, expertise, and influence levels have made him the most valuable influencer for Salesforce.
What can we learn from this example? If a CEO is able to make his presence felt on social media, there’s nothing like it. This can be a powerful B2B influencer marketing strategy that can help your company grow by leaps and bounds.
If you’ve been searching on Google about SEO, content, or social media related topics, you must have stumbled upon HubSpot. A software company that helps businesses with their marketing and sales, they’re quite well-known for their content too.
Now, you may not have noticed but HubSpot has been leveraging influencer marketing for ages. They’ve partnered with various influencers in sales and marketing niches. These influencers contribute to HubSpot’s blog and talk about their experiences and expertise.
Because they are experts in their fields, their content is valuable and insightful for readers.
Image via HubSpot
And in turn, these influencers benefit from the huge readership that HubSpot has.
When influencers share these posts with their networks, HubSpot is also able to reach a wider audience and potential customers.
Influencers bring in fresh content that helps Hubspot continue to engage their audiences.
And of course, they add more credibility to the HubSpot blog.
We’ve spoken about employees being leveraged as influencers. But what about customers? Can they be influencers too? Absolutely. Your customers too can be greatly influential because they’ve experienced your products or services first-hand. So, their reviews are not only credible but essential for potential customers.
So, how did Okta leverage their customers for influencer marketing? They got their customers to speak about their experiences of using Okta’s products. The CIO of 20th Century Fox, for example, spoke about their success story.
He spoke about the benefits of using Okta and how it has reduced the workload of days to minutes. And how they were able to integrate all the features for their employees seamlessly.
Okta also shared success stories from clients like Adobe and News Corp. These stories included statistics, figures, and real examples of how Okta has helped them. These testimonials were also converted into blog posts and shared on Okta’s social channels.
So what does this teach us? Leveraging customers for influencer marketing can be great for your business. The benefits of customer advocacy are:
Testimonials from customers boost your credibility so your prospects are ready to invest their money in your products.
Having customers as your influencers is way more cost-effective than hiring industry influencers.
And if your customers are industry leaders, sharing their success story is bound to get you more conversions.
InspireBeats helps startups as well as bigger companies with lead generation. They provide outbound email services to their clients.
InspireBeats wanted to use influencer marketing to drive more leads to their site and increase conversions. They had a simple goal. To create 10 guest blogs, 10 podcasts, and 10 blog features with influencers every month. They found bloggers in their niche and connected with them for this campaign.
By bringing in influencers to their podcasts and blog posts, they were able to deliver greater value through authentic content. They targeted podcasts that worked well. For example, the ones with more than 3000 listeners on each episode.
So how did B2B influencer marketing benefit InspireBeats? It increased the number of leads to their website substantially. Apart from that, influencers helped them build credibility among industry leaders. InspireBeats earned B2B leads worth $12 million with their marketing efforts.
We’ve always known PwC as one of the big four auditing firms providing services to corporations across the globe. However, very few people were aware of the role they’ve been playing in the Oscars.
So for the Oscars in 2016, PwC incorporated influencer marketing in one of the coolest ways possible. Their objective was to create brand awareness about their association with the Academy Awards. And to engage with millennials.
How did they do it? Their influencer was a briefcase. Yes, quite literally. They used an actual briefcase which carried the Oscar ballot nominations. The briefcase was promoted like a celebrity on social media by PwC.
126K Instagram impressions and 406 Instagram mentions
12.3M Twitter impressions
Given the potential of millennials as a customer segment, most B2B businesses are trying to get closer to them. HP too had this objective in mind. And so they leveraged influencer marketing for this purpose with a series of influencer videos.
How did they do it? HP partnered with Olympic medalist and influencer, Samantha Peszek. They partnered with an influencer marketing agency, Collectively, to create the video. And the video showed Samantha using the HP Spectre x360 notebook while practicing her gymnastic routine.
Image via YouTube
They also partnered with New York City Ballet dancer Sara Mearns and D.J. LCAW to promote the HP x2 detachable PC.
Image via YouTube
So what were the benefits of this influencer marketing campaign? HP’s influencer campaign had an engagement rate 7 times higher than the average influencer campaigns. They also benefited from numerous shares on social media.
One of the best things that HP did with their influencer marketing campaign was to treat their influencers as partners. They also focused a lot on storytelling in their videos to make them more appealing to millennials.
Cisco is a market leader in B2B communications and networking technology. They took an innovative approach towards influencer marketing and created the Cisco Champions program.
This program gave IT professionals a chance to talk about their expertise and showcase their knowledge of Cisco products. Cisco did quite a lot to build this community of advocates. Here are some of them:
They started an unplugged video series with the Champions.
These influencers were also featured in Cisco’s weekly podcasts.
Influencers were given exclusive access to Cisco’s products.
Cisco Champions were also invited to exclusive events.
So what were the results of this influencer marketing campaign? Cisco received over 8000 social media mentions and 55,000 tweets about their brand. The blog posts also received more than 44,000 hits.
The Cisco Champions program turned out to be a huge success. Even today, it continues to develop as a community of expert professionals.
Aegora is a professional marketplace for finding jobs and talent. Their founders were freelancers who were aware of the drawbacks of traditional freelance marketplaces. As part of their influencer marketing program, they reached out to entrepreneurs, freelancers, and marketers who were also aware of this.
Their idea was to get these influencers to join their first adopter group, try the product, and share their honest reviews. They approached anyone having knowledge in this field who shared their vision.
The results of Aegora’s influencer marketing campaign? In about 90 days, Aegora received 500 sign-ups for their program. Some of the early adopters became their key influencers who helped them to further promote their product.
There’s a lot that you can learn from these 15 amazing B2B influencer marketing examples. What’s most noticeable is that every company has a different way of implementing influencer marketing. There are no set rules or industry standards. So you can be any creative as you want to be.
B2B influencer marketing is more about creating continual engagement through content. The focus is on generating value that will build long-term relationships with your audiences.
I hope these examples will help you get some ideas for implementing influencer marketing for your B2B company. However, make sure that you avoid the common influencer marketing mistakes while you’re at it.
B2B influencer marketing is more focused towards building valuable community, content, and relationships. And it is gaining more popularity with time. We’re not far from the time when businesses might entirely replace traditional marketing with influencer marketing.
Do you have any other interesting B2B influencer marketing examples to share? Let us know in the comments below!
Brian Mechem is COO and Co-Founder of Grin, a software solution for companies who run influencer marketing programs. Grin's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.