B2B marketing can be extremely tricky. Since traditional marketing methods don’t really work when you’re marketing to those with the technical knowledge and expertise to assess the product, there is a need to reevaluate the campaigns that most B2Bs run in light of the current technological platforms they are using.
Another factor that governs B2B marketing is that a purchase isn’t ultimately the decision of one individual but rather that of a team put together to assess features and added value in order to arrive at a buying decision. According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 9% of B2B brands are “very satisfied” with their content marketing efforts.
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3 Successful B2B Social Media Case Studies and learn why they worked so well.
The Current Numbers
Statistics revealed that about 62% of businesses were implementing social media as an effective marketing tool and that the number is only increasing every day. The three primary reasons for B2Bs having a presence on social media were:
- Brand awareness (83%)
- Encouragement of social shares (56%)
- Gaining followers and trust (55%)
Marketers in the B2B game, however, cannot just be placated with social shares, likes, and posts. Since the success metrics differ greatly from traditional advertising, what they’re looking for are high click-through rates, effective lead generation, and most importantly, conversions.
Marketers require information that will allow them to gain insight into their customers and their buying behaviors and enable them to modify their strategies as a result.
Brands Winning at Social B2B Marketing
There are more failed B2B campaigns out here than one can count. Within this mire of uncertainty, however, are a few gems that have managed to find the perfect balance. Before you embark on your own marketing journey, it’s best to take a look at a few of these and determine what you can stand to learn from their implemented strategies.
1. Maersk Line
To gain a better understanding of how B2B organizations ahead of the curve think and act in terms of designing their social media campaigns, let us turn to the example of Maersk Line’s use of social media.
Maersk’s Strategy and why it worked?
The company utilizes just about each and every social media tool available and has a significant presence across social media platforms. From intriguing photos on Instagram to catchy videos on Vimeo, Maersk has truly embraced conventional B2B platforms.
The company’s head of social media management revealed that its ultimate goal through these B2B campaigns is to gain useful insight into the current market, get closer to its customers and boost employee satisfaction.
To achieve these goals, it shifted its focus inwards to deliver stories on how it operates on a daily basis. This included information on the booming sale of Kenyan avocados and where staff members are from.
In an effort to build an internal audience, it expanded efforts that led to a gain of 700,000 fans on Facebook. This was in addition to the 172,000 unique interactions and the birth of a total of 12 social media channels, each with a functional presence interacting with customers and employees on a daily basis.
The strategy included asking the new audience what it wanted and delivering that. Once social media team members knew what their audience wanted to see posted, they delivered it in the form of blogs, stories from those within the industry, and the initiation of a photo contest that increased customer engagement.
The social media manager was abundantly clear that the purpose of the social media page of the brand wasn’t to increase sales but rather to increase engagement with customers and to leverage employee expertise to create value.
The primary reason Maersk’s social media strategy works is because it does not consider social media as a means to garner more sales but to reach out to its customers and employees. By approaching social media in a distinctive manner, the company has revolutionized social media.
“Social media is about communication, not marketing. It’s about engaging, not pushing. And social media is definitely not just about the media side. For a company like ours, social media creates more value when it challenges the way we think and interact. In fact, social media is a mindset, a way of thinking and working together. It’s based on the fact that we are social animals, and that means we can only benefit from sharing our thoughts and ideas with each other.”
This global agricultural firm owns a wide range of brands, including Massey Ferguson, Valtra, and Challenger, and these brands deal in the delivery and manufacture of farm machinery used around the world.
Agco’s Strategy and why it worked?
The global agriculture manufacturer can attribute much of its $10 billion in sales to its social media strategy, which was aimed at connecting the business to farmers and dealers.
Most of this sales amount was achieved through effective advance planning before jumping into the proverbial social pool. It analyzed its target audience and observed their social behaviors to see what was already being posted on social media and YouTube.
Most of these YouTube clips included farmers making use of the equipment within the videos. Once this valuable information was at hand, it started reaching out to customers through various social media platforms.
Today, the company has managed to attract more than 180,000 fans on Facebook, 3,000 YouTube subscribers, and 10,000 Twitter followers.
Additionally, it often partners with dealers to offer marketing tools and training to farmers. This collaborated promotion helps increase engagement. One good example of such a strategy is the widget that allows dealers to curate and host original content without having to create it from scratch.
3. American Express OPEN
American Express has been harnessing the power of social media for a long time now. What really pushed it forward in the initial stages of its foray into social media was the OPEN forum where it provides advice to small business owners.
OPEN Forum is AmEx’s “latest and greatest example of a loyalty service, a program designed to help small business owners grow their businesses by providing both insights and resources online.”
American Express’s Strategy and why it worked?
The frequent content updates, blog posts, and videos continue today and are still a good place to obtain valuable information. The open forum doesn’t only allow users to gain knowledge but also facilitates a network of small business owners that interact with each other on the forum.
This increase in conversation on their page allows the company to roar through numbers (fans and followers on social media), as it managed to gain 1 million unique visitors. Apart from the creation of its own social network, AmEx managed to enhance connectivity to it through other mediums such as Facebook.
The launch of “Big Break for Small Business,” an annual US-based competition that enables small businesses to better communicate and engage with their online audiences in 2011 on Facebook, was yet another achievement.
In fact, through these efforts, it managed to report a 30% boost in sales. This can be attributed to the 11,000 entries – not that it received them on its Facebook business page. This yearly competition is now a staple of AmEx’s social media strategy and continues to bring in valuable leads.
One thing that can be observed through these above-mentioned campaigns is that before starting with social media, each of these brands did a copious amount of prior research, which allowed them to gain insight into their target market and deliver what they demanded.
Another factor to consider is that not only did they have a plan in mind but the objectives of their marketing were also clearly identified, which helped them achieve success and enabled them to stand out.