These days, you can’t read a marketing blog, attend an industry event or even open a newspaper without learning of another B2B social media success story.
While they may not always be as loudly touted as B2C, B2B companies have been just as successful at conquering social media.
Here at Marketo, we’ve had our own fair share of B2B social media marketing success. Our Modern B2B Marketing Blog today has more than 7,000 subscribers and is highly ranked in AdAge’s Powder150 list. In fact, our blog is one of our most successful marketing tactics for demand generation. We also have more than 6,000 followers on Twitter.
Clearly it’s not just B2C companies that can succeed on the social web. Many B2B companies are leveraging the social web for lead nurturing and engagement, to build brand awareness and to drive traffic to their websites.
Study these 5 B2B social media success stories and take your own organization’s social strategy to the next level.
SAP, leveraging B2B social media to open its platform to outside developers, encourages users to contribute to its blogs.
SAP entered the world of B2B social media as a way to open its platform to developers outside its own walls. So in 2005, it introduced the SAP Developer Network (SDN) to open the company’s content, strategy and technical information to a global audience.
SAP’s social strategy was tiered: In the beginning, the SDN was populated with content from internal sources (i.e., case studies and demos). Next, a blog was introduced, which first was contributed to only by employees. Soon the doors were opened to outsiders, and today 60% of blog contributors are non-employees (see image above).
Because of the success of the SDN, SAP introduced a second network a year later to target business process management. That network went from 50,000 members to 100,000 members in its first year alone.
UnitedLinen leverages a blog to publish how-to and informational posts and videos for customers.
Not all B2B social media success stories come from large, global companies. UnitedLinen, a professional uniform and linen laundry services in Oklahoma, is effectively using social media to grow its business and interact with customers.
The company leverages a blog on its website to provide customers with posts and videos on everything from ordering linens for major holidays to the company’s winter delivery schedule (see image above).
UnitedLinen is also extremely active on Twitter, posting several tweets throughout the day to promote new blog content, retweet others’ relevant content and engage with followers. The small B2B company boasts more than 1,000 followers to date.
The Facebook fan page of Forrester Research is a constant source of interaction for its fans.
3. Forrester Research
Forrester Research is another shining star in the world of B2B social media, which seems natural since part of its business is to follow the latest social media trends and predict the growth of the social web.
The research firm actively maintains a network of blogs spanning marketing, technology, IT and more. Forrester CEO, George Colony, even maintains his own blog to share his insight with such posts as “Beyond iPad Yadda Yadda” and “Would Henry Ford Have Been a Blogger?”
But the research firm’s social media activity isn’t limited to its blogs. The Forrester Research Facebook fan page boasts more than 3,000 fans. There’s plenty of interaction taking place in the form of commenting on its wall, as shown above. Forrester Research posts a variety of resourceful content, including articles, videos, information about upcoming events and photos of past events.
Its Facebook efforts are complemented by its Twitter efforts. With nearly 37,000 followers, Forrester Research provides a rich mix of tweets promoting Forrester events and content, and retweeting other relevant content.
The Supply Chain Expert Community from Kinaxis boasts more than 2,200 members.
Supply chain management solution provider Kinaxis leverages its blog to position itself as the thought leader in its space. Here, the company provides its customers with tips and trend information via posts, videos and inspiring graphics.
Clearly the blog is a community that inspires discussion, evident through the regular commenting on blog posts.
Kinaxis has also developed its own B2B social media community, which currently has more than 2,200 members (see image above). Here, members can participate in forum discussions, create their own profiles, receive rapid customer support and access industry thought leader blogs.
5. Expert Laser Services
Expert Laser Services, which provides printer and copier sales and service, has put the fun in B2B social media marketing. This past summer, the “Destroy Your Printer Video Contest” was launched via social channels to create buzz and build brand awareness for the East Coast company.
Customers were encouraged to post a humorous video of them destroying a printer, fax machine or copier on Expert Laser Services’ blog, Adventures in Office Imaging. The contest was promoted on the blog and other social channels.
The contest efforts weren’t just successful at creating buzz. The company also increased traffic to its site and built inbound links. It even directly attributed new business due to the contest, according to a recent interview with Expert Laser Services’ Nathan Dube on Grow Blog.