A B2B social media strategy doesn't have to be boring. In fact, it should be the opposite to help your company stand out. Learn from some great B2C campaigns of the past.
B2B marketing has rules: don’t push the boundaries, stay within the corporate colour palette and your message should always be about growth. If you’re a B2B marketer focusing on B2B social media strategy, then it’s important to stay in the safe zone. And, whatever you do, don’t muddy the waters by going anywhere near the digital channels that are reserved for consumer activity. However, the problem is that B2B marketing is getting diluted in a sea of homogenous activity. How are you going to break through the noise and get noticed if your message, offering and brand are so similar to that of your competitors and others in your industry?
The answer is quite simple. Make your B2B social media strategy stand out by taking inspiration from B2C digital activity: the vibrancy, the creativity, the humour, the impactfulness, the problem solving, the empathy. Ultimately, whether you’re a key decision-maker within your business or you’re ‘just’ a consumer-like any other outside of work, people buy from people and we generally buy from people that engage us.
We have already seen successes and they provide an exciting blueprint for how to engage with your prospective customer base in new ways. Here’s a round-up of some of our favourite B2B social media strategy.
What digital channels should you be targeting?
Firstly, I’m not saying to step away from the traditional B2B digital social channels such as LinkedIn or Twitter: there are many great opportunities here to have conversations with both new and established audiences. However, there are other digital channels that you should consider as part of your B2B social media strategy.
Facebook might be known as a traditional B2C advertising platform, but with an impressive 2.38 billion users, 74% of these users also say that they are online for professional purposes. Coupled with this, research has found that business decision-makers are 74% more likely to spend more time on Facebook than the average user. With Facebook’s targeting ability, especially around demographics and even job titles, it is a surprise that only 65% of B2B marketers use Facebook ads.
There are now more than 1.9 billion active users on YouTube each and every month, closing the gap on Facebook’s 2.38 billion users. In fact, YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google. With both being owned by Google, there are many similarities between the two, especially the detailed and expansive audience targeting options, which make this platform perfect for B2B marketing.
Whilst YouTube is considered a platform for young users (Generation Z), 50-65 year olds (Baby Boomers) and 36-49 year olds (Generation X) are the fastest-growing demographics with the fastest growing video watch times.
Video for all platforms
If you want to really drive success and cut through the noise of B2B marketing, video is a must. Marketers should take inspiration from their B2C counterparts and create something that is memorable.
Blendtec embarked on their YouTube campaign in 2006 with their ‘Will it blend?’ series. As the name suggests, this relatively simple campaign was based around putting things in food blenders that the average user wouldn’t usually be blending, such as an iPhone or Amazon Echo. What better way to show your product’s ability than to put it to the test? In the first six days, it received six million views: more than 150 videos later, it has received more than 60 million views. Fourteen years later, it is known as the most successful internet campaign ever, which all started with a modest 50 dollar budget.
Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club created their ‘Our blades are f****** great!’ video in 2012 with a three thousand dollar budget. In the first two days, they received 212,000 customers – a very good return on investment.
These two examples show that some of the best ideas aren’t the most expensive and a great idea can generate incredible awareness. The key when in the creation phase of video is the laser focus on the first five seconds. Video for ads is very different from traditional ads for television where the ad builds to the finale. With digital-focused video, the first five seconds are critical to capturing the users’ attention, just like the two examples mentioned above.
Three Great B2B Examples
But what about B2B marketing examples? Here are a few of my favourite brands who are redefining B2B messaging.
Monday.com pushes the B2B marketing boundaries and the results are fantastic. Their videos resonate with their target market and are attention-grabbing within seconds. Humour, emotion, fun and the clear benefits-led explanation of their platform all take place within 32 seconds. Although the commercial results are unknown, the 9 million-plus views is a telling sign.
Upwork focused their integrated marketing campaign on short but funny, relatable content. Their series of ‘hey world’ videos and billboard advertising certainly raises a smile, especially the ‘Hey Comic Sans user’. The video animation is simple but very effective and the overall feel is most definitely harmless humour, with other videos singling out companies or celebrities.
Last, but not least is Klarna. I have been tracking the progress of Klarna since 2013 when I was reading the Metro stuck on a train. They had received a big round of investment. Klarna has had an incredible journey partnering with some of the biggest online retailers, as well as small SMEs. But it is their marketing that is certainly impressive!
Klarna has broken all the rules with their B2B social media strategy efforts. All you have to do is take a look at their website, which more closely resembles a high-end luxury fashion retailer than a payment gateway – nevermind the fact that they partnered with Snoop Dogg or that they give away jelly beans and phone selfie lights at B2B trade shows. Klarna has positioned themselves as being relatable, ‘cool’ experts in their field because they know that the audience that they target would be their customers whether they happen to be in or out of work.
Some advice. . .
Not convinced? Just think: if a target customer is faced with ten companies, all with the same grey, green and blue marketing, all saying that same message, how can they begin to find the subtle nuances between companies? If, out of those ten, there’s a great marketing offering that does something out of the ordinary, do you think they will dismiss it? This is why you must break out of your current B2B social media strategy.
So, what are the three top takeaways?
- Find your inspiration. Don’t be afraid to take risks and to look at what other companies in different sectors are doing.
- Video, video, video: if you’re not using it, you’re missing out. Video must become a vital part of your digital strategy.
- Ultimately, people stay the same; what we find engaging doesn’t change the minute we step inside the office. Whether your marketing is aimed at B2C or B2B, people are still people.