Whether it’s among B2C consumers or B2B audiences, there’s one universal truth – people trust influencers. So it’s no surprise that influencer marketing is booming among B2B companies.
According to the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Report from TopRank Marketing, 96% of surveyed brands are confident about influencer marketing. Many of these brands have been able to increase brand credibility, gain new leads, and expand their reach with the help of influencers.
That said, there’s still much room for growth in B2B influencer marketing since it’s still in the process of evolving. But several companies have found success nonetheless and now serve as leading examples of B2B influencer marketing.
We talked to B2B marketers and executives who shared their favourite examples of B2B influencer marketing in action – from reputable brands like IBM and Microsoft to small startups/brands.
Based on their responses, here are 17 of the best B2B influencer marketing example to inform and inspire your next campaign:
4. IBM Watson
11. Point Blank SEO
14. Pixel Storm
As leaders in B2B marketing, it’s only natural that TopRank Marketing tops this list. The agency wanted to create high-value eBooks on content marketing to share with their audience. For this, they partnered with a bunch of influential experts from reputable brands like Copyblogger, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
These experts each contributed their advice, which was then turned into four eBooks that served as a repository of content marketing resources.
According to Joel Almazar, Administrative Assistant at Upgrow, some influencers also participated in long-form interviews, which the TopRank Marketing team published alongside the eBooks.
“They received 200,000+ views for the eBooks, 4,000+ downloads for the eBooks and generated more than 1,000 leads. By creating a value-packed piece of content with the help of influencers, they were able to garner more attention and gain tons of leads,” said Grant Aldrich, CEO of Online Degree.
SAP’s B2B influencer marketing campaign for the 2016 SAPPHIRE NOW conference was another favourite among our experts. The annual business and tech conference attracts thousands of participants worldwide.
In 2016, SAP invited influential industry leaders as keynote speakers for its live video chats. “Interviews with influencers who shared their knowledge and skills on pertinent topics were featured in the videos,” explained Joel Almazar.
This allowed viewers to participate in the event from the comfort of their own homes, asking questions and getting the answers they need from top experts.
According to Andrew Martins, Senior Associate at LV Bet, “There were 80,000 viewers altogether, which was considered a huge success. SAP has done everything right here. They reached out to their viewers, let them get information in a convenient way, and got key influencers to speak on topics that the audience wanted to know about the most.”
According to Brack Nelson, Marketing Director of Incrementors, “Microsoft is both a B2B and a B2C company because of its broad reach.” Microsoft has put together a few exceptional B2B influencer marketing campaigns over the past few years.
On one of those campaigns, Microsoft wanted to promote women in STEM careers with the goal to encourage more girls to pursue this field. They worked with National Geographic photographers to put a spotlight on women scientists and their stories.
“The result was a phenomenal response that resulted in Microsoft reaching more than 91 million people,” explained Olivia Tan, co-founder of CocoFax.
Microsoft has also collaborated with some incredible adventure photography micro and macro-influencers on Instagram. As Bishal Biswas, a digital marketer at Word Finder elaborated, the campaign also included a select team of professional rowers who rowed the length of Amur River and crossed the Onon River in North Magnolia. “Cameras were set up at checkpoints to observe how the river's characteristics changed as the team travelled down further,” he explained.
“The results of this campaign are outstanding because the photos received 3.5 million likes in a day, and it reached 91 million people,” added Eden Cheng, Founder of WeInvoice.
The influencer marketing campaign for IBM Watson was another popular mention among our experts. The IBM team collaborated with designer Gaurav Gupta, who created an AI-inspired saree using IBM Watson.
“The saree was outfitted with color-changing LED lights, which, when paired with IBM's technology, changed colour based on each winner's personality,” explained Diksha Sharma, a marketing consultant at Glyph.
Besides the IBM Watson campaign, IBM also runs an always-on influencer marketing that leverages employees.
“Because they serve a very diverse set of industries it would be hard to find just the right influencer. So, instead of looking externally, they use employees to advocate for the products,” explained Francesca Nicasio, a content marketer at Payment Depot.
“The tech giant believes, and truly so, that there’s no one who knows your products better than the people who manufacture and sell them. So the company encouraged employees to tweet about their products on their social media to attract customers,” added Paula Glynn, Business Coach, and Director of Search Marketing & Digital Strategy for Pixel Storm.
The Cisco Champions campaign is another excellent example of B2B influencer marketing in action. The campaign connected top experts from the IT industry, enabling them to make an appearance on their podcast, radio, or video. The “champions” also get to enjoy other perks like early access to new products, which they can test and give feedback.
Jacek Żmudziński, Senior Marketing Specialist with Future Processing, said, “Making an appearance on one of Cisco's digital media was a good enough incentive, and combined with additional training as well as early access to products, it became one of the best campaigns ever.”
Informative and helpful “how-to” content is perfect for influencer marketing campaigns that involve B2B products that require a bit of time to understand.
That’s why InVideo incorporates a lot of “how-to” and “use case” content in their influencer marketing. Sanket Shah, CEO of InVideo, contributed their B2B influencer marketing case study as an example.
He explained that the InVideo tool simplifies video creation and editing. But for novice users using the tool for the first time, there may be a few challenges.
“In order to establish our USP and create the right impression, we firstly maintain a YouTube channel where we cast a famous vlogger to explain the steps of video editing with InVideo step-by-step,” he said.
InVideo also displays examples of their most important and famous clients as well as videographers to demonstrate the usages of the software. “This has helped us to a great extent to get more businesses interested in our software tool with reassurance from known faces,” Sanket said.
Like InVideo, Okta also leverages testimonials from reputable brands in their B2B influencer marketing. “People were convinced because there are testimonials from previous customers, making this campaign a huge hit,” said Caroline Lee, co-founder of CocoSign.
“One particularly popular example is that of 20th Century Fox which explains how they used Okta to create a seamless experience on multiple cloud-based applications,” added Olivia Tan from CocoFax.
Marcin Stryjecki, SEO Product Manager of Booksy, contributed an interesting B2B influencer marketing example from Introhive. He explained how the company managed to enter new markets with the help of influencer marketing.
Realizing the reluctance of the legal community to adopt CRM systems, Introhive released a playbook with answers to the biggest problems faced by professionals in the industry. The playbook was widely promoted by keynote speakers at events such as the Legal Marketing Association conference.
“The industry wanted solutions, and they provided them in a clear-cut way. Identifying the pitfalls of legal marketing was key to their success here,” Marcin explained.
“Introhive knew exactly what the issues were and what to do to mitigate them. As such, the playbook noted more downloads in the first month than the history of all their reports combined,” he added.
“An influencer does not always have to be a person; it can also be a powerful publisher, blog, or website,” explained Joel Almazar of Upgrow.
This held true for Videofruit, which gained visibility and traffic through a well-known website, OkDork. Back in 2014, Bryan Harris, the founder of Video Fruit, wrote a guest post for OkDork. In just two days since the post was published, he got 215 new subscribers to his site and saw a 12% conversion rate.
Similarly, Jon Cooper's link-building blog, Point Blank SEO also enhanced site traffic and received more subscribers by guest posting on Moz and YouMoz.
“He authored an educational essay on link building on YouMoz, which was later pushed on Moz,” explained Joel Almazar. “The article continues to drive visitors to his blog on a regular basis, demonstrating the value of advertising your material on a well-known website.”
“The number of visitors to his blog expanded to 400, in just 24 hours of being promoted as a guest blogger on Moz,” added Shiv Gupta who leads the SEO and Marketing team at Incrementors.
For this event, they invited top industry influencers and experts to speak (including Rand Fishkin, Nathan Latka, Wes Bush, and April Dunford). “The speakers were more than willing to invite their audience to the summit and we generated 2000+ leads for user.com,” she explained.
“The best part is that speakers of this level agreed to speak and promote the summit for free. Why? Because relations are everything and you should have something to give in return beyond money – maybe help with their own event promotion or something else.”
Another interesting B2B influencer marketing case study came from Dimitris Tsapis, Head of Marketing at Coara. The Coara team recently partnered with a few niche-specific micro-influencers.
“Before doing so, we explored their engagement KPI's, amongst other analytics. From our experience usually, at least 4-5% of the average of the influencers' engagement numbers have the possibility to lead into product purchases,” Dimitris said.
This speaks volumes about the value of influencer marketing to drive sales even in the B2B landscape.
Paula Glynn from Pixel Storm also shared their own experience executing a B2B influencer marketing campaign like that of IBM. But they added a little twist – in addition to their employees, they also brought in their loyal customers and business partners to advocate for the company in the B2B marketing sphere.
“The experience was extraordinary and better than we had expected. We got a huge number of new leads and clients by the end of the first month of the beginning of our marketing campaign. I believe nothing would have worked this better for our B2B influencer marketing campaign,” she said.
The LiveHelpNow team is another great example of a company that’s successfully implemented B2B influencer marketing. Natalya Bucuy, a content marketing writer for LiveHelpNow shared how the company worked with influencers to create collaborative campaigns, including a live webinar on the topic of customer experience.
“During our last webinar campaign, we actively engaged with professionals such as Shep Hyken, Jeff Toister, and Nate Brown as well as others,” she explained.
“This strategy alone provided a boost in our website traffic, social media engagement with our audiences, and overall online engagement and connections,” Natalya elaborated. “Our readers and customers enjoyed the value these customer experience professionals added to our content and engaged with it more actively.”
The LiveHelpNow team did a great job of combining influencer marketing with their content strategy. At the end of the summer, they held a virtual summit, #SmallBizCX2019. The one-day live event featured eight customer experience influencers over video conferences and discussed all things customer service. Participants could watch all sessions live on YouTube and ask questions to the experts.
After the summit, the team used the valuable insights gathered through the sessions and took it even further through their content. They created detailed blog posts with each professional’s insights and also created webinars for their website visitors to view.
“Overall our influencer campaign was a success. We received another boost in traffic prior, during, and after the virtual summit that resulted in increased brand awareness, readership, and engagement from our customers,” Natalya said.
In addition to sharing her favourite B2B influencer marketing example from Okta, Caroline Lee of CocoSign also shared her own experience working with influencers.
She explained that sponsored media content has been the most effective for her team. “Since there are many users of social media, it has been a perfect opportunity to promote CocoSign. After the sponsored media content, users of our platform increased,” she said.
IBM isn’t alone in leveraging employee advocates in their influencer marketing campaign. WeInvoice’s Eden Cheng explained how Landis+Gyr started a pilot operation to build employee advocates who remain active on social media.
“So, their primary focus was to utilize these social channels of employees to outspread the word about their creative spirit and customer-centric values. The consequences of such a marketing campaign were great as it yielded over 1,500 engagements and over 1,800 content shares,” she said.
These brilliant B2B marketing examples can serve as an inspiration for your future campaigns. They also show you how it’s important to keep your target audience in mind when selecting influencers or deciding on a campaign approach.
According to Natalie Luneva, B2B influencer marketing is less about hiring influencers for direct product/service promotions and more about connecting with the influencer audience by providing real value.
“Nowadays, more and more companies are starting to use podcasts and webinars as a growth tool and invite industry influencers as guests. Influencers share the podcast/webinar info with their audience, teach them something, and mention the organizer as well. It’s not a direct promotion but a better and more natural way to connect with an influencer’s audience,” she said.
Now that you’ve seen some of the best B2B influencer marketing examples, it’s time to start creating your own. Download the comprehensive and relevant B2B influencer marketing guide for free.