What Is Influencer Marketing and Why Should You Care?


By Kelly Hall

You know about press releases, media relations, and contributed content, but today let’s talk about a less familiar B2B tech marketing strategy: Influencer Marketing.

You’re likely already familiar with influencer marketing. Every time you click on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, or Twitch, you’ll find celebrities who are paid to promote products, from skin care and clothing to vitamins and makeup brands. Why? Because B2C companies know that their buyers trust and are influenced by these celebrities when it comes to purchasing decisions.

So what does any of this mean for B2B tech companies? First, it’s important to understand how B2B influencer marketing differs from B2C. Working with B2B influencers is so much more than pay-to-play. It involves true collaboration rather than just paying an influencer to host a product giveaway or film an unboxing video. B2B influencer marketing involves a back-and-forth online discussion where all parties can benefit from the increased exposure.

B2B Influencer Marketing Benefits

At Offleash, we’ve helped B2B technology companies leverage influencer marketing for years, and we’ve seen the incredible results it yields. By leveraging influencers as part of your marketing strategy, you can: 

1. Grow sales pipeline by identifying and engaging in social conversations with prospects that you might not have had access to beforehand. 

2. Drive customer loyalty by accessing an influencer’s followers, who are already a trusted authority in your industry, which will help extend their loyalty to your brand.

3. Grow brand credibility by building trust and connections with your customers and their networks by establishing your in-house evangelists, brand advocates, and executives as authoritative sources in your industry.

Identify, Engage and Build Your Influencer Relationships 

At Offleash, we use a mix of tools and manual research to identify the right influencers in your industry. And we dig deep. I like to joke that I want to know what they eat for breakfast. We also want to know: are they talking about topics you care about, who is following them, are they the people you need to be in front of, and how many touchpoints do they offer?  Touchpoints examples include: how active the influencer is on LinkedIn and Twitter, do they also host a podcast or have a popular YouTube channel, what sponsored services do they offer to generate demand generation, and do they speak at customer events or user conferences?

Once the research is complete, the Offleash team will work with your in-house evangelists and executives directly to monitor the landscape in near real time, offer suggestions on how to interact with influencers on social platforms, and advise and connect you with the right influencer when you’re interested in paid engagements. 

Measuring the Success of Your Influencer Marketing Program

At Offleash, we measure success in a number of ways. We track all of your social interactions with the influencers that matter to you, manage your relationships with those key influencers, track your in-house evangelists’ follower numbers, and see if influencers, prospects, or customers are now following your evangelists back as a result of these online conversations. 

Every opportunity we bring to you should add value. The ultimate success metric is lead generation. We want to shorten your deal close times and accelerate any direct leads that come from your influencer engagement.

Case in Point: Driving Impact with B2B Tech Influencer Marketing 

In 2017, National Geographic partnered with Microsoft to activate their “Make What’s Next” initiative. 

By combining National Geographic’s expertise in science and storytelling with Microsoft’s technology leadership, they set out to empower girls to change the world and stay in STEM. The strategy was to align to a global moment (International Women’s Day) through a mix of Facebook LIVE, in-person events, and inspirational content.

As a result, their influencer marketing campaign garnered more than 150 million social and digital impressions on National Geographic distribution channels, 4 million social engagements, and 6.4 million video views. On launch day, the International Women’s Day social takeover yielded 67 million social impressions.

I share this example to serve as inspiration to you as it has for me over the years. Not only does it illustrate the benefits of B2B tech influencer marketing, but it also shows the power of influencer marketing to educate, create a groundswell, and inspire current and future B2B tech leaders.

While B2B brands have been slower to adopt influencer marketing than B2C brands, I believe as the B2B tech market becomes more crowded, we will see more influencers emerge and more technology companies take advantage of influencer marketing to reach their customers and prospects, ultimately driving brand loyalty and credibility, while increasing demand generation.

Ready to get started or want to learn more? Email me at kelly@offleashpr.com.

Kelly has 20 years of B2B tech marketing and communications experience, specializing in digital demand generation, field marketing, influencer relations, account based marketing (ABM), and media and analyst relations. As Vice President, Integrated Marketing at Offleash, Kelly helps define marketing and media strategy that drives measurable business results.