I don't know about you, but I tend to feel a bit pensive and sentimental at the beginning of each year. The plethora of posts about "The Best of This..." and "The Biggest Fails of That..." from the previous year really make me want to take a look back and make sure I didn't miss a thing. I suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) all year, actually.
Without a doubt, more companies are embracing the concept of "being social," but with mixed results. According to Steve Olenski in a recent contribution to Forbes, "Other Than LinkedIn, Why Are B2B Marketers Still Unsure About Social Media," many B2B marketers are still wary about being too personal online. Olenski reminds us that all marketing, whether B2B or B2C, involves people on both ends. Successful B2B social media marketing engages people as much as possible, regardless of the platforms they use.
I found five B2B social media marketing examples from companies that put their audiences first - and they do it very well.
B2B social media marketing with Pinterest
A well-known email marketing provider for SMBs, Constant Contact, proved that B2B marketers can - and should - market their "intangible" solutions on this visual platform by tapping into their creativity. As of mid-January, 2014, over 20,000 Pinterest users follow Constant Contact's 104 boards.
B2B social media marketing with Facebook
A visit to the Salesforce Facebook business page shows an active and engaged community. Tabs are set up which allow visitors to explore and learn about the company's offerings, such as their CRM (customer relationship management) solutions, without a single high-pressure sales message. Their posts, which average one per day, ask thought-provoking questions and share their own and others' blog posts.
B2B social media marketing with Twitter
Many B2B companies still treat Twitter as a broadcasting platform rather than a social one. Businesses should utilize Twitter to distribute their content, but need to ensure they do so without blasting their audiences. HubSpot, which provides inbound marketing software solutions, succeeds in wowing its audience (of 354,440 in mid-January, 2014). Along with finding a good balance between tweeting content and audience engagement, their social media team asks questions and engages in conversations on Twitter with the company's followers.
B2B social media marketing with YouTube
YouTube may seem an unlikely choice for B2B marketers, but Cisco Systems Inc. and its 65,175 subscribers (as of mid-January, 2014) beg to differ. Cisco, which is known for its IT, networking and communication solutions, shares videos which engage, educate and inform without overtly selling themselves.
B2B social media marketing with LinkedIn
As the preferred B2B social media marketing platform for many B2B's, LinkedIn delivers several excellent examples. Technology solutions provider Dell Inc. offers its 666,579 (as of mid-January, 2014) a LinkedIn company page which stands out as one of the best. Along with posting regular company and job updates on their page, they offer the opportunity for more discussions through their featured groups.
Which B2Bs do you follow on social media and why do they appeal to you?
* This article originally appeared on the Social Media Club website and has been republished with permission: [http://socialmediaclub.org/blogs/from-the-clubhouse/5-fantastic-examples-b2b-social-media-marketing-2013]