In the world of B2B, social media should be king. However, that’s still rarely the case.
Admittedly, in recent years a good number of large B2B companies have begun to leverage the value of not least LinkedIn. But overall, B2Bs are still nowhere near a full understanding and optimal usage of social technologies. And they are missing out.
So how to go about it? Luckily, some B2B companies out there have taken the bull by the horns and figured out what that magic formula is. Below we will give you the rundown of the best social media success stories the world has ever seen.
These great B2B social media case study examples cover many different strategies and tactics. Everything from creating brand awareness, over sales efforts, customer service and recruiting, to optimising internal workflows.
American Express has long been harnessing the power of social media. The best example is American Express OPEN, the division that focuses on small businesses.
All the way back in 2007, they launched their own OPEN Forum, where small businesses can get advice and insight on a variety of topics. There’s a blog included on the site which is updated regularly, and the site also features a great number of shareable videos.
On the site, there’s also an “Idea Hub” where members are able to connect with other members as well as experts in a variety of industries. There are over 1 million members on this site.
It goes to prove that if you have something offer, and you’re in it for the long term, you might as well build your own customer facing community.
The Danish shipping giant was a pioneer in this space and build a massive and inspiring presence back in 2011.
Their formula? To focus on visual storytelling and being extremely transparent and down-to-earth. They even shared negative news from time to time. Jonathan Wichmann, their then Head of Social Media, is quoted saying: “Social media is about communication, not marketing.”
Maersk Line’s Facebook page has over 1.1 million page likes, and they are very strong on Twitter and Instagram too.
General Electric is another huge B2B brand who was an early mover on the social media platforms. And right from the beginning they’ve been impressive to watch.
Similar to Maersk Line, GE has focused on storytelling, making things visually interesting, and engaging their audiences with valuable, high quality content. The GE Reports website is a good example of their approach and savviness.
GE has a market leader approach to social media. They are not going for direct sales via social. The sales efforts take place elsewhere. Social media is used to remain top-of-mind and to dust off this company founded back in the 19th century.
While Maersk Line and GE have resisted the temptation to use social media to sell, HubSpot has done the opposite. HubSpot, founded in 2006, is a developer of inbound marketing sales software, and right from the beginning they’ve used social media to grow their sales.
The result? Explosive growth, to say the least. In 2008, they hit $2.2 million in sales. And in 2012, just 4 years later, they hit $52 million.
How? Because they use social media to “get in early” in the sales funnel with their prospects. They reach their prospects before the prospects are even aware that they need or want to buy.
HubSpot help those prospects through social media and content, and that eventually triggers interest, the need to buy and eventually customer loyalty too.
An example is how HubSpot is always among the first to release the guidebooks that their target group needs. Whenever something changes in online marketing, HubSpot is there to help.
Cisco is a great example of how social media can be used effectively for customer care.
Similar to e.g. Dell, they’ve establish a social media listening center. From there, they actively monitor all relevant conversations around the brand, and their team is ready to reach out proactively to both service existing customers and to capture sales opportunities.
The listening center is also an integral part of how they work with insights. It’s a way to ensure that the company doesn’t run astray and leave touch of their end-users. In turn, these insights also inform their product innovation.
Cisco has strong presence on both Facebook and Twitter, and their content programme is equally impressive.
For a number of years, IBM has mastered the area of social selling. They’ve empowering their employees to start conversations via social media and content in order to nurture leads to drive sales.
At the heart of their approach is what they call “intelligent listening” within social media. Using social media monitoring and analytics to learn what conversations were going on within relevant topics. Whenever opportunities are identified, the right sales reps are notified about it and assisted to help start conversations using existing in-house content.
Right from the beginning, IBM has achieved great results with social selling. The pilot of their social selling programme saw an increase of 400% in sales.
ABB is an example of the potential power of an internal social media platform.
As global leaders in power and automation technologies, ABB has committed to their long term vision to break down silos and enhance collaboration across 100 countries. They understood early on that the power of their global impact lay in internal alignment within the organisation.
In 2015, over 75,000 employees were using their internal platform, collaborating across the organisation in ways unimaginable just a few years ago.
The US arm of French B2B company Sodexo, who specialise in ‘quality of life’ services, provide a great example of how social media can be used effectively for employer branding and recruiting.
With their dedicated career site as the hub, Sodexo use a variety of social platforms as part of their broader digital recruitment strategy, focusing on the human side of their business.
Through Facebook, Sodexo share natural photos of their employees in their day to day job and build up a picture of the passion of the people in the company. Their careers Twitter account shares job opportunities but more importantly engages people in discussions and answers questions. They are similarly active on LinkedIn and even have an active YouTube channel which again highlights the people working within their company.
Their successful interplay of social media channels has led to greatly reduced recruitment costs. And since launching their social media strategy, Sodexo has also reported an increase of 182% of traffic to their careers site.