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Marketing Agency Leadership B2B Marketing

LinkedIn influencing is staying put, here’s how to get it right in B2B

By Emily Lowes | Content Writer

Earnest

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June 26, 2023 | 9 min read

Influencing has gone corporate. Here to make sense of it all, Emily Lowes of content agency Earnest insists the channel is here to stay – and no industry needs it more than B2B.

Audience at a business conference

If you can’t beat them, join them: influencing on LinkedIn isn’t going anywhere according to Earnest’s Emily Lowes / Headway via Unsplash

Picture this: It’s 2010. You unlock your iPhone 4 and load up YouTube, where you’re greeted by the semi-famous faces of Zoella, PewDiePie and Jenna Marbles. Former nobodies who’ve made a name for themselves by simply talking about things they like to a camera.

A lot of millennials share a similar (although ultimately less lucrative) experience. A generation of former wannabe child stars, they were no stranger to hitting record and even less shy of the ‘Upload’ button. After all, those iconic Vines had to come from somewhere.

In 2023, the average influencer has progressed slightly, with many forging careers by not only posting online but also promoting goods and services. With Twitter teetering on the brink of its demise, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at how brands can capitalize on LinkedIn’s recent surge in popularity.

The corporate-fication of the influencer?

YouTubers walked so LinkedIn influencers could run. We’ve come a long way since the dark ages of the internet, and influencing is no longer just a string for the bows of everyday folk – it’s for the business people, too.

But while the LinkedIn leaders of today look a little different from the Vine stars of days gone by, the end goal is the same: rack up those engagement metrics.

No matter what your profession, you’ll likely see the same few accounts pop up right at the top of your LinkedIn feed as soon as you log in. Their posts tend to include at least three of the following: the classic cutoff headline, a bulleted checklist, some sort of gif, a request for thoughts, and a link to their blog or website.

At worst, it’s template content that doesn’t say much about anything. At best, it simply does what it’s supposed to. It gets people liking, sharing and commenting. Why? Well, because it’s no task to digest, and it’s even easier to share.

Finding the missing link

Evidence suggests that people will go to LinkedIn for trustworthy content related to their industry, or organizations they’re interested in. As well as this, 94% of marketers believe influencer marketing is a successful strategy for B2B businesses. Yet, only 24% of businesses include this type of marketing in their business plan.

It seems that there’s a disconnect between what marketers know to be true about LinkedIn influencing, and putting that insight into action when it comes to their own campaigns.

There are aspects of B2B influencer marketing that some would like to see improvements in, such as being able to better measure ROI, more accurately vetting prospective ambassadors and more easily managing influencers.

But with a platform like LinkedIn, users gain access to behind-the-scenes post-engagement metrics that can prove useful in demonstrating value added.

How does influencing on LinkedIn work?

LinkedIn allows you to track several valuable metrics, including lead, follower, visitor and competitor analytics. The most important (and interesting) analytics for LinkedIn influencers to track is the post-engagement rate.

Brand ambassadors and influencers typically use their profiles to publish posts, articles and updates about a given service or product. So, knowing how well this is being received by the audience is critical to understanding what the program is contributing to the success of the overall campaign.

The LinkedIn analytics dashboard shows users how much engagement they’re getting on their posts. This covers just about everything from clicks and new followers to impressions and social actions.

Users can also explore the performance of individual posts, able to see who is interacting with content from different industries and companies.

Getting started – the right way

Influencer marketing isn’t suitable for every B2B campaign, so you need to know how and when is best to pitch an ambassador program.

Some top tips for getting it right:

  1. Ensure this tactic is right for your campaign – this type of marketing is best suited to projects that aim to tackle brand building and raising awareness.

  2. It’s not always about the size of a profile’s audience, but rather the suitability. Always pay attention to who is connected to your influencer, rather than how many people.

  3. Focus more on the engagement rate than the follower count. After all, an influencer program is all about getting your brand seen, not your influencer followed.

By partnering with the right people and getting the right content out there at the right time, businesses can be well on their way to building some serious awareness and brand authority.

The future of B2B influencer marketing

Of course, influencer marketing for B2B businesses isn’t limited to the confines of LinkedIn. With more and more businesses getting comfortable with platforms like Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, there’s no telling how far businesses will run with it. Plus, there’s no doubt that the rise of AI and virtual influencers will surely have a part to play in shaping the future of B2B marketing.

Marketing Agency Leadership B2B Marketing

Content by The Drum Network member:

Earnest

Earnest is the award-winning B2B marketing agency that’s chasing out the humdrum in London and New York.

Why is B2B treated like the poor cousin to B2C? Business people are still people, after all – they just happen to be at work.

Since we opened for business in 2009, we’ve built brands, shaped strategies, produced content programmes, created experiences and developed campaigns that not only deliver results, but engage and delight their audiences too.

Our story

B2B marketing is tough. There are hard-to-reach audiences. Difficult-to-please internal stakeholders. And very often complex, intangible products.

That’s why B2B deserves just as much attention, passion and intellectual energy as B2C. And it’s why Earnest is on a mission to raise standards in B2B, creatively and strategically. Chasing out the humdrum, and ushering in the unexpected.

We positively relish the unique challenges that B2B marketing presents. Since we started the agency in 2009, we’ve earned a reputation for devising solutions that go beyond the obvious, often delivering far more than the client’s original objectives.

The agency offers an unusually broad mix of disciplines – including branding, campaigns, strategic planning, content, and experiential – and we’ve won awards for them all. That’s testament to the fact that we approach every challenge, of every size and every shape, in the same way – with high standards and open minds.

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