How can business to business (B2B) companies use social media most effectively? Case studies and examples are always my favourite way of practically demonstrating how social media plays an effective role in a B2B digital marketing campaign.
I find it frustrating that many B2B social media case studies focus on companies that are in computing or high-tech, or are providing a digital marketing service to businesses, or are in some way part of the social marketing scene
Instead, I want to give you some examples of manufacturers, industrials, and in particular “not sexy” sectors that it can be difficult to find practical examples of best practice in the use of B2B techniques.
And so, here are some of my favourite examples I use in my social media workshops that I hope you find useful.
Maersk: defining a B2B social media strategy
“At first, we didn’t expect to sell shipping containers through social, though we’re learning now that in fact we can.”
What might be perceived as a reserved and conservative shipping container and energy company has embraced social media, and indeed created their own website that outlines their strategic focus:
The Maersk social media story is well documented, and some of my key takeaway messages for B2B marketers include:
- authenticity and credibility are essential, so use your own internal subject matter experts.
- use story telling: the best social media tells engaging stories. Find the angle that shows your passion for your business.
- social media is really about listening, and communicating. It’s not “marketing” and broadcasting.
LinkedIn B2B Marketing Case Studies
Of course the most popular social media marketing channel for B2B marketers remains LinkedIn. The IAB have published the excellent B2B Content Marketing Benchmarking data for this year (PDF) and 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn in some way to distribute their content:
Content marketing is an essential part of the marketing mix, but LinkedIn also has much more to offer.
The following case study documents how Vestas targeted key prospects using LinkedIn banner ads and partner messages. It was a highly personalised campaign that required significant marketing and technical resource, but smaller businesses can certainly leverage specific elements of the campaign.
You may or may not want to do advertising on LinkedIn.
If you’re not sure how your business should be using LinkedIn then here are some practical and inspiring examples of how Vestas is using it:
- A well designed and engaging LinkedIn company page: http://www.linkedin.com/company/vestas
- A powerful LinkedIn Careers page: http://www.linkedin.com/company/vestas/careers?trk=top_nav_careers
- A set of products pages that are actively generating recommendations: http://www.linkedin.com/company/vestas/products?trk=top_nav_products
- A private LinkedIn group with over 8,000 members: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Vestas-48630/about
- A Linkedin Showcase Page, one of the more recent LinkedIn offerings for businesses: http://www.linkedin.com/company/4993846
Guttridge Materials Handling: Google+
Guttridge Ltd appreciate the impact social media has on the search rankings, and a company’s appearance in the search results. Their use of Google+ means they are successfully positioning key marketing messages for their branded Google searches. See their Google+ post promoting their most successful product below:
Guttridge’s social media strategy successfully integrates a content marketing strategy that is amplified by the social channels. If you’re not sure about social and SEO, then here is an article explaining the impact of Google+ on the search results.
PIAB: YouTube Social Strategy
Piab designs innovative vacuum solutions. They have developed a strong YouTube strategy that demonstrates the wide range of content B2B marketers should consider: educational product videos, trade show videos, company innovation videos, product applications and demonstrations.
There are a number of good things happening on this channel:
- well branded, with a strong visual look and feel
- search engine optimised descriptive text for each video to ensure videos can also be found in both the Google and YouTube search results
- well organised play lists to help users discover content
- well executed video content, which doesn’t mean expensive, just the kind of quality their customers expect