While fun, creative social media campaigns in the B2C space always seem to get most of the attention, it turns out that a large number of B2B companies are not only using, but also succeeding, with social media campaigns and smart digital marketing tactics.
What some marketers forget is that while B2B companies may be marketing themselves to businesses, that does not mean they have to boring. At the end of the day, your customer is just another consumer, and they are influenced, share and engage with much of the same types of content that propels B2C social media campaigns.
Here are a few things to keep in mind on how B2B social media can help drive marketing intiatives:
- Increase brand awareness
- Humanize B2B companies
- Establish as thought leader
- Connect with customers, prospects and industry influencers
Here us a look at five B2B companies who are doing a great job with social and content marketing campaigns (and who are breaking out of the boring B2B mold):
1. Dell – DellBusiness Campaign
Dell has been noted for many of it’s social campaigns – in both the B2C and the B2B space and as being one of the leaders in developing social media command centers to listen to consumers and provide customer support.
Turns out the computer company has also launched a few successful B2B campaigns, including their DellBusiness focused YouTube channel and Facebook page, both of which get impressive engagement numbers despite the “dry” B2B content. Dell’s YouTube channel has playlists on “Manage my IT,” “Trends,” “Data security and storage,” and more pertinent and useful information for their B2B customer base.
Dell proves once again that content is king – and developing quality content for their customer base that’s social and shareable has proven to be successful.
2. Owens-Illinois – Glass is Life
The company has just launched a global marketing push with a new logo and tagline “Glass Is Life,” all highlighted on a new website as the anchor of an integrated campaign.
The media plan includes print ads (in 12 countries and seven languages) and supported by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, where inspirational interviews play up the importance of glass.
Owens-Illinois is also using Postano to aggregate and moderate the best content from their Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo channels and displaying it in a visually engaging page on their campaign microsite.
>>See how Owens-Illinois integrated social media into their website
While consumers who see the campaign will be a bonus, the real target is business leaders. “We aim to influence the food and beverage industry’s packaging decisions by showing the power of glass,” said Al Stroucken, Chairman and CEO of O-I. “As the leading maker of the purest and most sustainable packaging, O-I is excited to spearhead a movement that demonstrates the unique attributes of glass packaging and brings brands back into glass.”
3. Hubspot – Content Marketing Genius
If you work in the digital marketing or social media marketing space, you’ve bound to have not only have read, but also shared, an article from the HubSpot blog. Offering B2B software solutions for businesses of all sizes, Hubspot has become a model for other businesses in how to effectively use high-quality, engaging and original content to help fuel their marketing efforts.
HubSpot uses its blog, social media and free tools to attract prospects to lead-generation content such as webinars. HubSpot’s marketing strategy has been so successful it has been used as an example for LinkedIn company pages, press releases made for Twitter, content marketing success stories and viral videos. The company focuses its customer acquisition strategy on providing educational material that customers will value.
The Guiness Book of World Records also awarded Dan Zarrella (HubSpot’s “social media scientist”) a world record for the largest online marketing seminar, after 10,899 attended his “The Science of Social Media” presentation on August 23, 2011.
When you manage marketing for a supply chain management software company, the opportunity for success in the social media world may seem dismal at best. But the CEO at Kinaxis saw things differently, coming to his team back in 2007 and asking them to look into the opportunities that might exist in social.
Five years later, and Kinaxis has become a case-study for successful social and digital marketing campaigns. In fact, the firm now gets 35-40% of its leads from web. The key to success according to the company’s VP of Marketing? Patience and a dedicated, sustained effort over time – it took Kinaxis several years before they started to see measurable returns on their social media marketing investment.
5. Paypal – Using social media to help drive a better product for business owners and developers
I saw Sudha Jamthe, social commerce director at Ebay (parent company of PayPal) speak earlier this year at the All Facebook Conference in San Francisco. During her presentation, Jamthe emphasized that for Paypal, the real power of social media is getting real-time feedback from your potential customer base.
PayPal is used by millions of consumers worldwide – including many small businesses and developers, which are considered partners. Jamthe believes that a lot of B2B marketers are using social media simply as a broadcast platform, when its real value is in making customers your partner.
Her example was the PayPal developer platform. She says that PayPal simply can’t know all of the potential APIs and feature requests its developer community wants and needs in order for them to build applications and products on its platform. The company has two primary options for getting feedback from them: market research or social media. The problem with market research is its drastically high costs, while social media offers the company real-time feedback at a fraction of the cost.