In the B2B social media environment, collecting followers and likes is not enough to be successful. Modern marketers hunger for CTR, form fills and lead-generating data in order to better-know their customers and build a rapport with them. In this blog, we take a look at five best B2B social media campaigns and the reasons why we love them.
Well known within the shipping, energy and maritime technology industries, Maersk seemed like an unlikely candidate to launch a social media campaign. Despite being an industry leader, the company were considered to be conservative and reserved, and needed to refresh their image in order to attract new talent.
With approximately 25,000 employees working for the company, Social Media Manager Jonathan Wichmann firstly decided to build a strong internal audience, in turn asking them to invite friends and prospective employees to follow their channels, creating additional virality. A year after the campaign was launched, Maersk Line had gained over 700,000 Facebook fans, and over 172,000 unique interactions each month across 12 social media channels.
Maersk used social media as an outlet to succeed in their goal by creating a clear and concise message about what they do. Asking their audience about what type of content they would like to see posted, posting regular blog articles and stories from the industry, along with a photo competition all contributed towards customer engagement. 67% of visitors to the company’s social media channels clicked through to recruitment pages, and the amount of applicants for employment increased by 116%.
Wichmann was particularly clear that social media would not be used as a selling tool, but rather to establish thought leadership by leveraging employee expertise to create value for customers. Today we can see followers answering each other’s customer service issues before an administrator for the company has to get involved – a great example of the way in which social media can create and maintain a positive relationship between brand and customer.
Despite literally obscuring the lines between being a B2B and B2C campaign, TippEx’s ‘Hunter Shoots a Bear’ viral is a noteworthy mention of how social media can catapult a brand into the limelight within just one day.
The video, launched on YouTube, sees a hunter in the forest confronted by a bear that he is supposed to shoot. His sense of humanity takes over however, and he reaches out of the on-screen action to grab a seemingly static TippEx Pocket Mouse from a neighbouring advertisement. The word ‘shoots’ is erased and he instructs the viewer to replace it with whatever text they want – the suggested scenario then being played out before them. After much data analysis of search behaviour, terms and content on YouTube, TippEx experienced global virality from day one: one Tweet per second in the first 10 hours, and one million views after 36 hours. In addition, brand positioning increased by 100% and sales were up by 30% compared to the same time the previous year.
Following the success of this campaign which received more than 50 million views on YouTube, a further campaign ‘Hunter and Bear’s 2012 Birthday Party’ was launched, in which viewers ‘white and rewrite history’. The second episode in the series enjoyed much of the same success as the first, a true testament to the dramatic effects of interactive marketing on a platform that currently reaches almost 25% of the world’s population.
RS Components is the world’s leading high service distributor of electronics and maintenance products. Seeing a gap in the market for a social collaboration and engagement hub for EDE, DesignSpark was born. Hosting a plethora of unique downloadable resources, members of this community can gain full access to the free 2D and 3D CAD model library, tutorial and product demonstration videos, as well as the usual blog articles and forums. The channel gives users the flexibility to network with one another, post and read reviews of design products, and share ideas and expertise. Perhaps the most innovative and successful aspect of the site is the free professional ‘DesignSpark PCB‘ software, which enables users to create schematic designs in 3D, and has been downloaded more than 60,000 times since the launch of the site.
It is clear that RS Components more than achieved their goal, DesignSpark having enjoyed 45,000 members in its first year. Additionally, the channel is targeted across four key languages to attract design engineers from countries that already have a very established presence within the industry, increasing the reach of engaged users on the platform.
Caterpillar, the construction machinery and equipment company, is the first we have mentioned who have grown their online following using their blog. With B2B companies that blog, generating 67% more leads than those that don‘t, it is surprising that more companies aren‘t jumping on the band wagon. In any event, Caterpillar have got the right idea, having established various blogs categorised by industry, such as construction, electric power and oil and gas. Once registered, members are encouraged to contribute to relevant blogs, in order to give and share advice with others in their trade. This is an excellent marketing technique in itself, with user-generated content identifying those who are engaged, and the company rewarding problem-solvers for their advice and ideas. With individuals preferring to build relationships with each other rather than brands, they are invited to bond with the brand by posting their comments on articles written by individuals on behalf of Caterpillar, as well as creating their own user profile. The result: a successful online community that is growing itself based on the reliability of the information provided by industry insiders.
AmEx does a lot to support business customers, from the long-standing Open Forum (an online social network for small business owners looking for practical advice from industry experts), through to running related campaigns across its Facebook page. In 2011 they launched ‘Big Break for Small Business’, an annual US-based contest enabling small businesses to better connect and engage with their online audiences. In the second year of the contest, the winning businesses received extensive marketing and strategy sessions from Facebook and AmEx industry leaders, along with the money to make what they had learned a reality.
Of the five winning businesses of 2012, apparel and skateboarding firm, Hendrick Boards, cited a 30% boost to their sales as a result of the contest.
“We got a lot of new supporters, people stopping by our Facebook page from Australia, Japan, China,“ said owner David Hendrickson.
AmEx achieved their goal, evident from the 12,000+ small businesses that entered the competition, which was up from the 11,000 entries received in 2011.
The success of these campaigns show the ever-increasing need for social media marketing within the B2B environment. In the world of modern marketing where digital has changed the way we do things, customers are now 67% of the way through the buyer journey before they contact sales. Therefore, it is imperative that businesses log-on to social media as a way to get closer to customers, raise brand awareness and loyalty, and ultimately sell!