Influencers are the pillars of success for several brands and products we see out in the market. B2B Influencer marketing has been a buzzword, we’ve listened for a while now. Some of you might still be wondering what exactly is influencer marketing? 

Is it just getting an influencer on board to promote your products on social media? Posting once in a while or is it a big marketing strategy we’re missing out on?

The answer to all these questions lies in Episode #4 of #EventTalks podcast powered by Hubilo. We have got a special guest Mariska Kesteloo who is a renowned international speaker and a thought leader on B2B influencer marketing in the events industry. 

Mariska Kesteloo is a founder of the Word of MICE which she established in the year of 2017. Founder, President, and public speaker; with more than 15 years of working experience in tourism and the MICE sector, she’s an authority in the industry. 

Her company connects the MICE industry with the right social media influencer, to tell the story of the suppliers in an authentic and fun way within the right target audience.

We got some interesting insights from her on the topic of B2B influencer marketing campaigns and how it has affected the current scenario of our events industry with the ongoing trend of virtual events.

So our first question was, what’s the correct explanation of B2B Influencer Marketing?

To stay and to remain top of mind in your desired target audience. B2B influencer marketing a lot of misperception as people think it is the same as B2C marketing. B2B are people with people having a pool of experience. We look less to the less amount of followers they have but is relevant to your brand or company. 

So it’s a combination of the correct influencer who has the expertise and is relevant to your brand. The lead time in B2B is much more than B2C so you need time and patience, it’s not like posting on Instagram or just one blog post with your brand.

The perception that people have is quite wrong. People now are much online and connected online. You want people you can trust and your brand can align with. It’s not just directly focus on sales and revenue. We need trust. 

TRUST is a keyword that is of utmost essential for B2B influencer marketing. Because Influencers are not just money-making machines. It’s about building long-lasting relationships.

Our second question was, how can event professionals and companies in the meetings & events industry extract the maximum potential of influencer marketing campaigns?

First of all, Influencer marketing is not on the agenda for a lot of companies and that’s a pity. Now since the brands have gone online because of the current crisis and we have to see our customers and network with them online, the influencer’s role comes into a big play. 

Also to continue your communication online, these Influencers can help your businesses creating content, help you create visibility and awareness, and to remain top of the mind within your target audience. 

We influencers have to more online in the coming future or as we say it’s embedded in our DNA now so, therefore, people need to think about what we can do with our current budget that we used to spend on offline marketing. Can we shift that budget on online marketing and use that on influencers?

But every event campaign/company is different. How to create a new campaign in a shoestring budget, how to gather your target audience which is more likely to be present on TikTok or Youtube, there are multiple possibilities with which influencers can help you out in your marketing strategies. 

There are so many creative ways to work around in the events industry with a limited budget and B2B influencer marketing. You don’t need millions but a good strategy to execute a successful campaign.

How Do You Choose the RIGHT Influencers for Your Brand?

The most important thing is starting with a good strategy. Let’s say there are 3 companies in the events industry, they won’t work with the same influencers because they have a different target audience in different countries and varied age groups. 

Therefore, as soon as you have got a good strategy focusing on a goal let’s say your focus is event planners from India who have a background in organizing events with a blend of technology. Also, what would you like to get out of a campaign and have a good briefing prepared? All these items help in finding the right influencer

For some companies it might be their employees, for some it may be their clients/speakers or partners and for the others, it may be external paid influencers or a combination of all of them.

To choose correct influencers B2B companies need Proper Strategy, Defined Goals, Good Briefing of the campaign, and Target audience. 

Never forget the influencer knows their audience and followers and what time they should post and what’s working. Influencers are experts so engage with them.

Given our current scenario, can influencer marketing give virtual events a boost?

The majority of offline events are now converting into virtual and online events. You can search for speakers and influencers and attendees who’ve been to your previous events and ask them to be a part of your strategy. 

You can create a podcast channel before going live with your virtual event and ask speakers or industry leaders to be a part of that and helo create a target audience and maximize your reach. There are many ways to create engagement before and during an online event. Here’s an interesting blog on virtual engagement: 13 Best Practices for Virtual Meeting Engagement in 2020 and Beyond

Lots of people think it’s difficult but sometimes you should not look outside of the box but also look inside the box and also don’t forget to engage with your partners. Create visibility with them. Share the cost of the influencer campaign while creating a combined campaign with partners. If it’s their first event online, you can ask for an update on social media. Ask your fanbase to share some content on their social media platforms. 

B2b influencers’ marketing campaigns are about human connections and not dictating what influencers/audiences have to do. Just don’t spam or harm their relationship.

Engage with your partners and speakers while hosting a virtual event, create a combined influencers campaign and gain the most out of it

The last question was, how do we measure the ROI in terms of the influencer campaign?

Not all the campaigns are directly connected with getting more leads. Here’s how to measure the ROI of B2B Influencer Marketing Campaigns; First is by setting goals, then to create a different form of evergreen content (blogs, graphics, videos, interviews, podcasts, etc) and utilize google analytics, track posts of the influencers with UTM’s and the last one being Dark Social.

Dark Social as explained is not all the content is read by the decision-makers but optimizes your campaign in a way that it comes up within a meeting with a CEO or one of the decision-makers.

It’s difficult for companies in the current pandemic situation to go for long-term influencer marketing campaigns but for sure it will yield positive results and help grow in the events industry.

We are now very challenging and uncertain times so we are here for you. To the readers and listeners, you can always reach out to Mariska here, to know more about B2B influencer Marketing or collaborate in any form.

Have any suggestions on the topic, guest, video interview, or on the podcast? Mail us at social@hubilo.com.

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