Measurable and effective influence involves advocacy, and Advocacy breeds influence.
The difference between influence work and advocacy is the level of commitment and ongoing support an “expert” shows the related person, business or brand.
That’s not to say that B2C influencers aren’t committed, many of these individuals firmly believe in the product and brand they are working with, but more often than not, budget plays a major part in the descision to continue those relationships.
Everyone needs to pay the bills.
In B2B, the influencers, advocates or “experts” as they often prefer to be called, have a basis in a trained area (University degrees) and have made decade long strides to show they are leaders in their fields.
The relationships that are encouraged and built upon in the Businees-to-business sector are widely quid-pro-quo and involve a budget centred around content creation between the parties involved and sharing said creations.
The B2B influencer marketing approach, or advocacy marketing is largely encompassed within a group or community.
These experts are identifiable through their actions, rather than their analytics, their investment in the betterment of any given project or program can be seen in the depth of the content they share.
B2B content revolves around whitepapers, ebooks, blog series and more.
These are substantially time-consuming.
For an investment such as these, an understanding and agreement must take place between the business and persons involved.
An arrangement that accepts that you are working to better each other and for a extended period of time.
Advocacy is Support
You can easily see the level of active support a b2b influencer or expert is showing through effective use of strategies and methods that clarify the degree of involvement everyone must take.
To know what each side must offer and what each other will receive, conversations and alignment are the bedrock of this relationship.
We say that, because these activations aren’t a day, a week or even a month long – they require research, phone calls, honesty – with an average b2b program starting from a year in duration and often much longer.
To take part in a relationship of this length, we need trust.
The benefits of advocacy
Brand advocacy can easily set your brand apart from the rest of B2B businesses.
It makes expanding your brands’ reach easier and brand authenticity substantially less expensive.
Here are a few of the bullet point reasons to take the b2b, advocacy dive.
- Positive prospect referral – enhance the perception of your brand with new clients/customers.
- Expand your audience and open the doors to a potentially new and interested group.
- Build trust in your company and showcase customer credibility.
- Promote your brand’s positive image and increase overall brand awareness.
- New and valued expert insights, with independent opinions – not bought and paid for.
How to encourage Brand Advocacy
To increase positive engagement and involvement with you brand, we can consider a number of benefits for potential brand advocates.
- The launch of a new product might mean early access or substantial discounts for advocates?
- Exclusive training opportunities.
- Exlusive access to C-suite members.
- Involvement in new product or new feature developement – a chance to the brand’s direction based on expertise and experience.
- Exclusive networking events, promotion (paid throught social media) or speaking opportunities at company events.
Brand advocacy is an automatic affiliation with the influencer/expert.
As such, your brand is often seen as a partner.
So know who you are working with, believe in them, trust them and together, you could very well create a partnership that will bear fruits and stand the test of time.
If b2b brand advocacy or influencer marketing is of interest, contact Wing Digital Marketing today.