Total brand spending on influencer marketing was $81 billion in 2016 and is projected to reach $101 billion by 2020, according to a 2017 study from the Association of National Advertisers and PQ Media. It’s not stated how much of that investment will come from consumer or B2B brands, but it’s clear that influencer marketing has become an integral piece of marketing programs today.
For consumer companies, if you have a product or service with mass consumer appeal, there are thousands of influential consumers (called creators) that you can “hire” and activate through paid campaigns. Companies like OpenInfluence and Clever have access to thousands of influencers as a part of their opt-in influencer network. All you need is an idea or campaign and a sizeable budget. And the great thing is, you can start tracking your program instantly.
How B2B is different For B2B brands, it’s not that easy. Technology and business influencers can’t take a video of your SaaS (software as a service) platform or snap a photo of your data center and drive sales any time soon. It just doesn’t happen that way. Also, an influencer with a large following on Snapchat or Instagram doesn’t have much credibility with B2B buyers, unless they happen to work in IT themselves — which isn’t a typical scenario. Also, B2B buyers don’t typically click on a link from an Instagram post, go to a corporate website and purchase software.