How can B2B brands bring greater personalization to content experiences, and why is personalized content more important than ever?
Personalization has increasingly become one of the most successful methods for creating content that B2B audiences want to engage with, and when context experiences are delivered by industry subject matter experts — or influencers and creators, if you prefer — personal connections occur and more often than not they help drive results.
59 percent of marketing professionals have said that they plan to increase their budget and resource allocation for influencer-created content in 2024, behind only online video and video streaming on the list of media channels expected to grow the most next year, while 59 percent expect greater spending for social media stories, according to newly-published Kantar report data, as we covered in a recent edition of our Elevate B2B Marketing Friday News.
An additional recent survey from Ogilvy paints an even brighter future for B2B influencer marketing, revealing that 75 percent of B2B marketers are investing in influencer marketing, with 93 percent planning to use B2B influencers even more in the coming year.
Influencer marketing spending is also expected to grow by 14 percent this year, while spending on influencer-sponsored social media content in the U.S. is expected to expand some 3.5 times faster than traditional social media advertising spending, according to recently-published forecast data.
Additionally, eight out of ten social media marketers recently indicated that they view influencer marketing as an essential strategy component, with 70 percent having received the most impact from macro-influencers who have between 100,000 and one million followers, while 52 percent of brands noted using a dedicated influencer marketing platform — three of numerous statistics of interest to B2B marketers contained in recently-published Sprout Social influencer marketing report findings.
Let’s take a look at the special power of B2B influencer marketing when it comes to building more personalized interactions both online and in person.
1 — Tap Industry Experts
A fundamental element of B2B influencer marketing is finding and working with the most relevant industry experts in a brand’s particular industry.
B2B brands have increasingly turned to influencer marketing, and a primary reason why has been the ability of expert industry influencers to help promote content that gives audiences the best answers to their most pressing challenges.
With influencer marketing, B2B brands can not only deliver relevant best-answer content, but do so through social media interactions that build trust and instill confidence.
As we explored recently in “B2B Content Revolution: Why Personalization Matters for Engaging Your Audience,” personalization is a great way to create marketing that resonates with your most valuable B2B buyers.
Finding the right B2B influencers is key, and brands that rely primarily or even exclusively on an influencer’s overall follower counts instead of their genuine topical industry relevance are likely to miss out on the hefty benefits of B2B influencer marketing.
Taking the time to find and vet influencers to find just the right ones pays off for B2B brands, and an ideal process often includes both the use of discovery tools and the right kind of human touch to develop a well-researched list of potential influencers.
Automated tools for finding potential influencers can only take you so far, and the real work begins by making the effort to go the extra mile with additional research.
By utilizing relevant industry experts, B2B brands are better equipped to deliver the type of personalized content experiences that B2B consumers desire.
During the second quarter of 2023, marketing research on content personalization increased by 522 percent, with research surrounding real-time personalization up 185 percent, according to newly-published study data.
2 — Harness Content Co-Creation
Brands that publish content without B2B influencers can find themselves at a significant disadvantage right from the start when competing with those that regularly co-create content using industry subject matter experts.
Co-created content melds brand initiatives with one or many B2B influencers, who help deliver it in relevant online communities both with their existing audiences and to the brand’s followers.
B2B consumer expectations have risen, especially when it comes to the desire to personalized content experiences. The fastest-growing expectation among B2B professionals for the next three years was for personalized experiences, according to recent research.
Content co-creation excels at delivering personalized content experiences, while also helping to build reach and boost engagement, as we explore in more detail in “How to Accelerate Reach and Engagement of B2B Content Through Co-Creation.”
3 — Get Personal With Events
Industry events are inherently one of the best channels for making and growing personal connections, and when it comes to B2B influencer marketing they are certainly a prime ingredient.
B2B brands can see industry influencers in-person or at hybrid events and learn firsthand how they deliver keynotes, sessions presentations, and how they interact with their audiences both in the session rooms and afterwards in conference hallways and during post-session gatherings.
B2B influencers can help take some of the magic that happens during in-person events and keep it alive and thriving throughout the rest of the year.
There are more events to choose and learn from, and we covered more than 50 of them in our look at “50+ Top 2023 B2B Marketing Events To Learn From.”
Marketing conferences truly offer a bounty of benefits to marketers looking for the latest learning, new networking opportunities, and recent industry research and insight to help increase brand awareness, and they should not be overlooked as a way to bring more personalization to your B2B marketing efforts.
4 — Use Social Personalization
B2B influencers are often finely tuned in to which social channels are best for specific types of content — and know how each channel works when it comes to personalizing brand messages or co-created content.
Social channels are not only good for publishing personalized content, but can serve as a powerful way to gain insight into the challenges audiences face. Social listening helps B2B influencers personalize content when they are able to take the time to step back and learn the particular pain points an audience has.
“Social listening helps B2B influencers personalize content when they are able to take the time to step back and learn the particular pain points an audience has.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellisClick To Tweet
Knowing these pain points, B2B influencers can present brand content that directly helps solve an audience’s challenges — oftentimes delivered in a personalized way.
It’s often smaller specialist social communities that can deliver the biggest benefits to B2B brands, as micro-communities naturally form in the highly specialized areas where B2B influencer marketing is especially well-suited to thrive and grow. We took a closer look at utilizing these smaller online communities in “How Small Online Communities Are Delivering Big Brand Results With B2B Influencer Marketing.”
5 — Utilize AI & Other Relevant Tools
Generative AI tools have exploded in usage throughout nearly every industry from top to bottom, yet the jury is still out as to whether this revolution has helped provide content that is more personalized, or just more automated.
Indeed some have viewed AI as inherently impersonal, however when wielded carefully, the rapidly growing number of these tools can certainly have a place in crafting best-answer content.
Whether it’s finding potential B2B influencers, gathering and analyzing data on how their content performs, or ideation for unique storytelling experiences, when used wisely AI can help B2B marketers with efforts in numerous areas.
We recently took a look at “Infographic: 30+ Top Generative AI Tools For B2B Marketers,” and have also published a more comprehensive list of more than 100 AI tools in our “BIGLIST: 100+ Generative AI Tools For B2B Marketers.”
The risk with using AI is focusing too much on the artificial and not enough on the relevant intelligence needed to shape the technology with the human touch.
When the right balance is achieved, AI can be a welcome addition to personalized B2B content delivered through relevant influencers and creators.
Harmonize Personalization With B2B Influencer Marketing Partnerships
By tapping industry experts, harnessing content co-creation, getting personal with events and social, and by using generative AI and other relevant tools, B2B marketers can use personalization to elevate their content experiences to new levels.
We hope this brief look into the world of personalizing with B2B influencer marketing will be helpful with your own efforts as we make the push towards 2024 and beyond.
If you’re looking for help with your marketing, contact us and find out why major brands such as LinkedIn, Adobe, Dell, 3M, and others have for more than 22 years turned to TopRank Marketing.
Lane R. Ellis has over 39 years’ experience working with and writing about the Internet. He writes for and manages all of the posts on the award-winning TopRank B2B Marketing Blog. Before joining the team here as Social Media and Content Marketing Manager, Lane spent more than a decade as Lead Editor for the prestigious conference firm Pubcon. When he’s not writing about B2B marketing trends, Lane enjoys distance running (he’s completed 11 marathons including two ultra-marathons so far), genealogical research, cross-country skate skiing, vegetarian cooking, and spending time with his wonderful wife Julie Ahasay and their cats Kukla, Twister, and Arlo in beautiful Duluth, Minnesota.