Why is it so hard to find the right B2B Influencers and Creators?

December 20, 2023 0 Comments

Why is it so hard to find the right B2B Influencers and Creators?

6 June 2023

Influencer and creator marketing has become an integral part of raising brand awareness and driving demand. When it comes to B2B, though, finding suitable influencers can be an arduous task. Here we’ll dive into the challenges faced while seeking B2B influencers and shed some light on why the hunt is more complicated than it may seem.

Limited B2B Influencer Marketing Platforms & Databases:

Finding B2B influencers can be challenging due to the limited availability of influencer marketing platforms and comprehensive databases that are B2B specific. One significant factor contributing to this challenge is the restricted API access of LinkedIn, one of the most prominent platforms for business professionals. Without an open API, LinkedIn does not integrate with influencer marketing platforms, making it difficult to automate the process of sourcing B2B influencers.

Marketers must rely on other means — like good old industry experience and manual research. This can be v-e-r-y time consuming and is one of the reasons Custom Influence exists. We are continuously building out our own B2B creator database that runs across all major social and self publishing platforms. That isn’t to say that Influencer Marketing Platforms like Grin or Onalytica can’t still be hugely helpful, as well as creator marketplaces like those hosted directly on TikTok. But for finding creators that are active across multiple social channels as well as those specific to places like LinkedIn and Youtube, it isn’t out of the ordinary for sourcing creators to take days or even weeks.

The Evolution of the ‘Keynote Speaker’:

While the concept of business professionals being influential is not new, the rise of B2B influencer marketing brings a fresh perspective to the field. It introduces a framework and measurement around sponsored content and posts that may require a different skill set compared to traditional thought leaders and keynote speakers who have primarily focused on events. From our experience, there are many qualified and inspirational thought leaders across B2B industry verticals who are no stranger to the conference circuit IRL, but getting this same crowd to understand social engagement metrics, take ownership of their personal brand online, and create compelling digital content – well, it just isn’t the same thing. Compared to the B2C space where influencers are for the most part digitally native, voices of authority and creators in B2B are still learning as they go.

The New-ness of B2B influencer marketing:

Many professionals that B2B brands want to partner with have spent literal decades building their reputation and credibility. It should come as no surprise, then, that some have a healthy level of skepticism in engaging in brand or content partnerships. There is also a surprisingly large amount of B2B creators who have never even pondered the thought of monetising their platform. They simply write, film and create out of a passion for their career. (….I know, right?) Both factors can make it difficult to source the right talent at times. We believe this will change in the next 2-3 years as the space matures and partnerships become more widely run and accepted. For now though, B2B marketers should not expect a 100% response rate from the influencers they’d like to work with.

Complex Decision-Making Structures:

Navigating organisational dynamics In the B2B space, purchasing decisions are often made by a group of stakeholders within an organisation rather than a single individual. This complex decision-making structure poses an additional challenge for B2B influencer marketing campaigns. Agencies, influencer marketing managers as well as the influencers themselves need to carefully consider this when designing programs and partnerships. Do not expect B2C influencers to adapt their approach for a B2B audience without guidance. And expect some not to be able to do it at all!

Course-Pushers, Coaches Coaching Coaches, & ‘Solopreneurs’:

There is a certain amount of due diligence that is required for researching and vetting influencers. Without a deep understanding of the B2B creator economy, you can end up in all the wrong corners of the internet. That’s right – I’m talking about the Chat-gpt grifters selling lists of prompts to get the best prompts, ex “Founders” selling a £10k course about building your own course or ‘solopreneurs’ that highjack tech trends as a means to make fast money online. THESE.ARE.NOT.YOUR.PEOPLE! Sure, some are influential and may look the part, but it does not mean they are trustworthy, experienced, or even successful in any other capacity than hype creation. It is crucial to evaluate influencers’ motivations, track record, and alignment with the brand’s values and objectives. Proceed with caution.

While B2B influencer marketing poses unique challenges, these obstacles can be overcome with a strategic, considered approach. At this stage in Custom Influence’s journey, I can honestly say there’s only been one brief that we were unable to find suitable creators for. And trust it was the niche-est of niche B2B briefs. Email us if you’re just dying to know who it was, or to discuss more on sourcing the right B2B influencers.