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Traditional advertising has become worn out.
Consumers today just aren’t responding to
advertising that brands are putting out there.
And it’s pretty obvious why.
Let’s face it, traditional advertising exists
because brands want it to exist. If you take a second to step back, you will
realize that everything in traditional advertising is created because brands
want to sell to you.
The purpose of traditional advertising is
But, as I said, that just doesn’t work anymore because consumers are realizing this fact.
So what can advertisers and marketers do to
break from this rut?
Social proof has always had a place in society. Most people can remember a time when they asked a friend, family member, or co-worker for advice about something.
It’s just a comfort to know that someone else is backing an idea or a product. When people are supporting the same idea or product, others tend to think ‘oh, so and so is using it so it must be good’.
And the want for social proof is only growing.
Thanks to the growth of social media, social
proof has only increased in status. 90% of consumers say that authenticity is
important when deciding on which brands they like.
It’s easier than ever today to join a social
community and leave feedback on a product.
There are even products that have been created specifically for feedback. Apps like Yelp have become common and if you’re in tech, you’ve probably heard of review platforms like G2 and Capterra. Most brands nowadays also include reviews on their website.
Social proof is now essential for building
your brand, and that’s thanks to the ease of means to acquire social proof.
While it’s probably obvious that social proof
plays an important role in consumer decisions, it’s not always easy to acquire.
Even more so, not all social proof is created equally. A face-to-face interaction might be worth more than a video, which might be worth more than an image, which might be worth more than a plain text review with a white outline of a person with it.
Obviously most brands would prefer to have
great word of mouth where each customer tells 10 of their friends and family to
go purchase a product.
But if you can’t have that, the next best
thing is user-generated content (UGC).
Getting UGC starts with working directly with your biggest product users and advocates.
They can be created by any brand customer,
whether it’s an influencer with a big audience, a creator who’s an expert at
creating high-quality content, or just an everyday customer.
All UGC types share a common thread – they are
proven to be highly influential in the purchasing decisions of potential
In fact, 79% of consumers believe that UGC
highly impacts their purchase decision. Another 86% of millennials also say
that UGC is a good indicator of brand quality.
Acquiring user-generated content starts by
going straight to your product users.
But before you start engaging your users, you
might want to check on whether you already have UGC.
You might already have a treasure trove of UGC sitting in your tagged posts on Instagram for marketing. This is a good first step to follow as most image or video UGC for brands is created on Instagram.
I also recommend checking other social
platforms as well. Platforms like Twitter and Pinterest are great too.
If you are trying to optimize your time, I
recommend only using platforms that users use a tagging feature on like
Instagram or Twitter. Otherwise, you’ll spend hours looking through feeds that
don’t have any content you need.
Once you find tagged posts that you like, it’s
time to start reaching out to these users to ask for licensing rights.
Asking for permission is a key step. If you
don’t ask for permission, you could be putting your business at risk.
If you’re working with influencers, Trend is a great platform for finding influencers and creators with licensing and distribution rights already packed in. But more on that later…
If you’ve already checked for existing UGC and
are still hungry for more, you can start engaging your product users.
Start encouraging customers to share photos of your products through emails after purchase.
You can also run contests or giveaways and ask customers to share photos to win.
If you really want to get in the weeds for UGC marketing, I recommend commenting, liking, and sharing their content. Surprising your customers can be a great way to let them know they are heard and valued.
By letting your customers know you are excited
about their content and hearing their experiences, they will be more likely to
Instagram is already being used as a platform
to share UGC by both influencers with big audiences and smaller accounts.
So why not use this platform to your advantage.
By using influencers, you control the narrative of when and where UGC gets produced. Instead of it being a random occurrence, you decide when the content is produced.
So how do you start using influencers?
Finding a scalable process to work with influencers can be difficult. If you’re doing it in-house, you might find yourself being bogged down in spreadsheets and DMs.
Luckily, this has led to the rise of influencer marketing platforms that help you find and connect with influencers with ease so you don’t have to spend hours in spreadsheets.
I will say, most of these platforms are
databases. That means once you find the influencers you want to connect with,
you still have to message and negotiate with them.
That’s why I recommend using a platform like Trend.
Instead of having to message with influencers
and negotiate payments, they pay the influencers and have them apply to your
campaigns. You get a curated list of influencers to approve or reject for your
campaign, which is easier than hunting down influencers.
They also give you the full licensing and
distribution rights to the content to reuse for any other marketing efforts.
The best part about using Trend to generate user-generated content is that it is scalable.
Instead of spending hours finding and
negotiating with influencers, you just let them know how many influencers you
want to work with.
This makes it so much easier to manage
influencer campaigns and get them completed in a few short weeks instead of
Even better, their platform only charges per
influencer. This means you don’t have to pay a monthly fee. You just pay for
the influencers they use.
Trend also takes care of payments to
influencers, so you truly just pay a fixed price per influencer (they have two
payment tiers standard and VIP influencers) and that’s it.
A case study with a new brand called Moon Ultra has some pretty incredible results.
Moon Ultra used Trend when they launched their
brand and worked with almost 50 influencers to produce over 370,000
Talk about a big lightning strike for your
Those results are great but I know the question you may still be asking is how does this produce money for my business?
Producing an ROI from influencer marketing
starts by making sure you’re setting up your campaign properly and reusing the
content you receive from your campaign.
You can start driving sales for influencer
marketing by telling influencers to include an affiliate marketing link so you
can track purchases made by customers. This can also work to reward the content
publisher if you want to offer a commission on each sale.
Discount codes are also an effective strategy
to track sales. By having your influencers provide a discount code to their
audience, you can see how many sales were driven through your influencer
Another great way to produce an ROI from
influencer marketing is to use the content you generate on all of your owned
While this doesn’t directly drive sales it
displays strong brand identity.
When UGC is used on websites, there is a 90% increase in time spent on a site.
They say content is king and it truly is. The
more of it you create and the more of it you share, the higher chance you have
of engaging with more target customers.
Even though it’s not directly driving sales,
it’s a well-known fact that the more a consumer is exposed to a message, the
more likely they are to have purchase intent.
If you’re looking for the most surefire way of
driving sales with influencer marketing, it’s return on ad spend.
As I said earlier, consumers have grown tired
of traditional advertising. But they are converting on UGC ads.
86% of Gen Z’ers are more likely to trust an ad if it uses real people and the click-through rate for UGC compared to professionally generated content is four times higher!
Need more convincing?
Trend, who I mentioned earlier, has a client Kettle + Fire that used UGC created on Trend in their ads and saw a 61% improvement on their return on ad spend when using UGC against their previously highest performing ad creative.
Many marketers have also reported seeing a 5
to 1 return on ad spend when using UGC in their ads.
I have given you the inside scoop on how to
acquire and leverage UGC to grow your business. Traditional advertising is
definitely seeing a downtick which will make UGC all the more important.
Now you have a guide on how to use UGC for marketing and create another strong ROI tool for your business. If you want help generating content and strategizing how to best leverage it, I would recommend giving Trend a try.
Guest author: Jay Desai is the Head of Growth at Trend.io, a software company that enables brands to source high-quality user-generated content and targeted exposure with social media influencers. He’s an experienced marketer with a passion for sports and travel.
The vast majority of content and industry news coverage around influencer marketing is focused on those who engage consumer audiences: Instagramers, YouTubers, and as of late TikTokers. Of course the world of influence is not limited to consumer products and services. Influencers play an important role in businesses marketing to other businesses as well, whether it’s on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
So what’s the difference between B2C and B2B influencer marketing? We’ve covered B2B influencer marketing here in depth already with case studies, strategy and best practices, what makes a great B2B influencer, key statistics and more. After 7 plus years of focusing on B2B influencer marketing for some of the top B2B brands in the world, we’ve learned a few things about the practice. From that experience, I’ll focus on what makes for good B2B influencer engagement as a way to understand the difference from B2C.
The most important steps for launching a B2B Influencer Marketing Program: Influence plays a role across the entire business customer lifecycle from awareness to advocacy so it follows that the best approach to collaborating with B2B influencers also spans the spectrum of customer engagement.
Regardless of the desired outcome from building brand awareness to increasing sales, best practices influencer marketing programs start with understanding the relevant topics of influence that both represent what customers care about and what the brand stands for.
It’s important to look at B2B influencers as partners not just content creators or distribution channels.
Much of B2C influencer engagement is managed like an advertising buy. With B2B, it’s important to look at B2B influencers as partners not just content creators or distribution channels. That means finding, engaging and activating influencers with expertise and audiences that will resonate with the objectives of the business. Using topics of influence, you can identify, qualify and recruit influencer partners to collaborate. You can certainly pay a B2B influencer, but it is most often for the craft of creation not just because they are well known.
The output of B2B influencer collaboration can be in any form that the brand is currently publishing content: text, video, visual, audio, interactive and even VR.
B2B influencers are different than B2C in that they must be subject matter experts. But it is often the case that they do not have the broad social media skills or reach as their B2C counterparts. Also, B2B influencer marketing is less about a transaction or advertising buy than it is about developing relationships with influencers that can add credibility to a brand and even advocate for purchases that have an extended sales cycles and run millions of dollars.
Successful B2B influencer relationships take time to build and require time to maintain.
Matching topically relevant influencers with content collaboration opportunities that deliver mutual value for the influencer, the audience you’re after and your brand is both art and science. successful relationships take time to build and require time to maintain. It is no different when working with B2B influencer partners, so brands should invest the time and resources to keep those relationships strong. That can mean software like the enterprise platform we use, Traackr, as well as the expertise of an influencer marketing agency that has many years of experience and established relationships with influencers in your industry.
What does effective B2B influencer marketing look like in action? Tech giant SAP wanted to raise awareness of their brand and establish thought leadership with their target audience of CTOs, CIOs, and technology managers. With B2B decision makers (and consumers in general) craving more inspiring and on-demand content, a podcast was the ideal channel to reach that target audience and spark in-depth engagement.
To Turn SAP’s vision for C-suite thought leadership into reality, they worked with TopRank Marketing to produce six episodes of Season 1, Tech Unknown Podcast. Each episode featured a long-form interview with an industry thought leader and was hosted by tech expert, Tamara McCleary. TopRank Marketing identified influencers for each episode with reach, relevance, and insight that would appeal to technology leaders.
The agency conducted live interviews with Tamara and the featured influencer guests to encourage in-depth exploration of the subject matter. The first season of the Tech Unknown podcast beat industry benchmarks for average downloads within 30 days, activated influencers that were important to the brand and the CTO/IO audience, earned millions of impressions, and opened the door for unique content repurposing opportunities.
Season 2 of the SAP Tech Unknown Podcast has now started to publish and is already breaking new performance records. By combining an understanding of brand objectives and audience interests with the expertise and audience of specific influencers, SAP has been able to drive conversations, activate relationships and move the needle on their marketing objectives.
Where to start with B2B influencers: In B2C, many influencers are inventory in a marketplace with detailed info on audience, performance and content creation capabilities where you can purchase services not unlike buying a sponsorship or advertising.
In B2B, there are no such marketplaces. Influencer Marketing platforms that algorithmically sort vast amounts of data are used to identify influencers that might be a match based on topical relevance, resonance with their audience and reach.
Once a B2B influencer has been identified as having the right mix of relevance, resonance and reach, B2B marketers can check to see if there is already a relationship with the influencer directly or through a first level connection. Engaging an experienced influencer that is already in your network is much different than starting a conversation with someone new.
It’s also important to check to see if the B2B influencer is accustomed to “being an influencer” in terms of public speaking or writing and creating content.
Many B2C influencers are already familiar with what it means to “be” a social media influencer, but in B2B, such self assigned influencer status and behavior is less common. In B2C the goal is often transactional (drive product sales) and the brand might just present a project and have the influencer pitch a creative idea on how to implement. With B2B influencers that’s possible but less likely. More often the B2B brand will have a campaign or program in mind with a narrative and structured content collaboration opportunities that influencers can take part in according to their specific areas of expertise and audience engagement.
For example, a B2B influencer program might have elements focused on top of funnel awareness, middle funnel engagement and end of funnel decision making. Each stage would involve different types of influencers (TOFU – brandividuals), (MOFU – industry experts), (BOFU – customers).
Relationship building with B2B influencers is key. A new contact will often be engaged with subtly on relevant social networks. You can look for signals that can be an open door to inviting a conversation. Then, as you engage online, you might feature the influencer in content or invite them to contribute something very easy, but that gives them great exposure. That basic interaction opens doors to more robust engagement.
If the influencer is clearly a pro and being an influencer is their business model, you can approach them directly as you would any other consultant.
While there is advancing consumerization within the B2B world from software user experiences to the types of influencer content being co-created (server unboxing videos, tech “hauls”) B2C and B2B influencer marketing are distinctly different. Viewing B2B influencers simply as content distribution channels or advocates for hire is a misplaced B2C-centric expectation. B2B influencers are industry experts that may or may not have advanced content creation skills. They have the attention and respect of their peers and that kind of influence is very powerful for brands that want to recapture buyer attention lost to dropping trust in brand advertising and communications.
If you have experience working with B2B and B2C influencers, what are some of the key differences you’ve experienced?
The post B2C vs. B2B Influencer Marketing – What’s the Difference? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.
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