Two Best Case Studies on Brands Using Social Media for B2B

According to a study, social media was used by over 64% of businesses as a vital tool for marketing. Over the last two years, this number has increased considerably. Increasing visibility and brand awareness were primary among the most popular reasons to use social media for B2B, measuring in at 83%. To encourage social sharing came in at 56% and to acquire trust and followers measured in at 55%. Here are 2 case studies on some businesses that decided to use social media to propagate their B2B marketing strategies.

Maersk

Maersk first started using social media in 2011 and have since then, raised brand awareness, increased employee satisfaction, gained insight into the market, and gotten closer to its customers. It decided that the best strategy to have for B2B communication was to tell stories that emerged from within the business like how it was responsible for increasing the sale of Kenyan avocados. The company ran a campaign last year which spoke about how its shipping containers navigated the frozen Baltic Sea in the winter. This campaign acquired them 150 unique leads. Users were led from Facebook to a website, where they were given a brochure for download about the company’s anti-freeze services after they filled in their contact details. People that downloaded the brochure were identified as ‘hot leads’ and the company’s sales team were then asked to follow up. Out of Maersk’s 1.5m fans on Facebook, around 15% are customers. They also have 12,000 Twitter followers, and also have active accounts on platforms such as Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Each social platform they are present on has an approach that has been specially tailored for it. Take their Instagram page for instance. Their followers can post pictures of their ships using the hashtag #Maersk, and on LinkedIn, articles about the work culture within the business are published and job vacancies are promoted. According to a recent study, these efforts have paid off, with Maersk being second only to Lego when it comes to engagement on Facebook.

AGCO

AGCI is a global agriculture manufacturer that pegs in at about $10bn in net sales, much of which they can attribute to its social media strategy. The parent company AGCO has many brands such as Challenger, Massey Ferguson, and Valtra under it, all of which deal in farm machinery across the globe. Thought leadership is the primary focus of their social strategy which they use to connect the businesses with machinery dealers and farmers.
How AGCO started, was by acquiring information about what kind of conversations their customers were having online. According to their findings, their customers were posting YouTube clips of themselves using the company’s equipment. These users were then engaged through a mix of educational and informational content like photos of the farming equipment in action and weekly ‘tillage tips’. Due to this hard-hitting, but simple strategy, AGCO managed to win 10,000 Twitter followers, 180,000 Facebook fans, and almost 3,000 YouTube subscribers. AGCO has partnered with their dealers to offer training and marketing tools to help them promote themselves.

How to Make Your B2B White Paper More Effective

Some of the most efficient ways to acquire the clickthroughs you need in a B2B email marketing campaign is to devise whitepapers. Whitepapers are also known as guides or reports and can perform many functions like stimulating high click-through rates (CTRs), capturing essential company and contact information, and resulting in a successful lead generation. But with the number of whitepapers going around, how do you make yours stand out from the rest? Here’s is how you can make an eye-catching white paper that acts as a valuable B2B proposition.

 

It should look great

 

It is important that a whitepaper looks as good as the content that comprises it. You may want to use your whitepaper to generate leads, or to brand your business as a force to contend with, either way, it is critical that you dedicate enough resources, time, effort and energy into designing a white paper that you would a print campaign. Assume your whitepaper to be a magazine that you are creating. You should use ample of images, flowcharts, diagrams to illustrate your point and should also use colour for text headings and graphics. Pulled quotes are another great way of drawing attention to important statements.

The logo of your business should be displayed in an eye-catching manner in your whitepaper and it is a great place to reinforce your website design. Most readers tend to just skim through a white paper and not hold on to every single word written there. If it doesn’t catch your reader’s eye as soon as possible, chances are that it will be trashed. Your whitepaper is a substantive piece of product collateral that should be assumed so.

 

Make sure that it is easy to read

 

When a white paper is easy to read, it is more likely to fulfill its goal. Your whitepaper should be simple, crisp and concise and usually be between 10 and 15 pages. A long and tedious text-heavy whitepaper has very little chance of being read from cover to cover, because people just don’t have the kind of time to do that. Your message should be delivered in billet points, and your copy should be divided into paragraphs and sub-sections to break the monotony. Readers tend to skim through whitepapers, and not read every single word. The title of whitepapers is another very important component. A great title works just as effectively as a great subject line in a message. That is why your title should ideally be a call to action or a teaser.

 

Offer content that is relevant

 

There is a delicate balance that needs to be struck when it comes to the content of a whitepaper. You need to be able to establish yourself as an expert or an authority in your field, but yet not oversell your product. Readers look to whitepapers to solve an existing problem. If the content of your whitepaper provides them with the information they need in the most relevant manner, it is fulfilling its purpose. Your solution to their problem must be both broad and specific so that your reader can gain additional knowledge.

How Businesses Are Being Influenced by Big Data

Big data can help businesses make sense of patterns or they can work in shoving tons of confusing information at them. Today, businesses are poised to have the freedom to measure and track consumer insights, but is it likely that they might get stuck somewhere along the line. Research that appears to be promising, can often lead to a dead end.

Business owners must focus on specific user actions rather than pure analysis. They need to use their data for something other than just analysis. They need to study the behavior of their customers and stress on the trends they see succeeding. Earlier it was thought that access was the key to successfully using big data, but actually, it is the focus that is paramount today. The data efforts of business owners should be connected to two main areas: product development and marketing.

Businesses can use big data efficiently in the following ways:

Understanding marketing investments

Business owners may not be willing to invest in marketing programs. The productivity of social media and digital marketing is not clear and precise like other direct sales channels. The marketing performance data can be made clearer with big data. This can be done by setting up a basic Web analytics software, through which business owners will get instant insights into which marketing tactics are driving leads and sales and what are the sources of traffic to a website.

There is software like Google Analytics that are available for free. All it takes it a simple JavaScript to implement it. With their tracking strategy in place, business owners can use additional data sources to add layers, and to track costs, impressions, and online ad clicks. Disparate data sources should be synthesized by using a marketing data warehouse. Records that are fragmented across various systems are consolidated with the help of these systems. Business owners can also import data from marketing automation tools and Google Analytics into an on-site server or cloud-based.

Integrating data collection into processes

What plays a role in business processes today is data collection, and business owners have started to come to terms with that. Right from advanced tracking and remarketing to customer surveys, they each have their benefits. But when too much of data or too many different types are collected, it can lead to saturation and inefficiency. This leads to a mad scramble among business owners to locate the information they need.
Starting small and then increasing efforts is a competent way to overcome the tendency to collect too much too soon. When your audience is segmented and your data is broken down into smaller time frames, it will be more effective. For instance, track a certain age segment of users for the first 6 weeks of a strategy and then go on to track the next age segment for the following 6 weeks. This will allow your metrics to focus on both the time frame and the age demographics equally, by breaking it up.

B2B Marketing Trends to Keep in Mind

The landscape is changing rapidly and B2B marketers everywhere are finding ways to grapple with the task of keeping up to it. What this means is that businesses who want to engage their employees, customers or competitors through social media have to provide quality content that is viral in nature and must use different multimedia platforms available. Everything needs to be accessible from the mobile platform. To make informed decisions, big data is become more of a must have for marketers. There is also the need to adopt agile B2B marketing and to go beyond just following a marketing plan and to learn how to respond to change instead.

Employee advocacy and social selling

A business’ employees were their best brand ambassadors, before the world of social media came into power and threw that theory out the window. Today, with Twitter, Facebook and other such social media networks, the potential audience of an employee has been increase immensely. Earlier, employees were restricted from communicating online about the brand or business with which they were affiliated, in an effort to control what was being said. But today, marketers have realised the importance of social media conversations that could be capitalised on. Today, employees are encouraged to communicate about the businesses they work for and the brands they handle.

Content marketing

A customer today has his hand in many online pies and is fully aware of what is going on. Customers have access to all kinds of real-time information regarding product features, pricing, and even your competitors. All this content and information that is readily available to your prospective consumer will affect buying decisions at every stage. This is why content that is engaging and useful is the key to wooing customers. Marketers need to start investing their time, energy, strategy and budget on content marketing efforts. Some of the efforts by successful business include focusing on social content hubs that comprise customer and brand-generated content which can be viewed and shared across different social networks regularly and consistently.

Consumerism and mobile

Mobile has shifted from being the third screen to being THE main screen. It is now the chosen way that both employees and consumers want to interact. This could be through apps, tablet devices, social media or cloud services. Mobile is now the main focus of corporate applications, and consumerism of IT today reiterates this change. This change has led to a skew in employees beliefs that their experience with technology at the workplace needs to be as entertaining, fun, simple and engaging as their experience with technology in their personal lives. Employees today are being encouraged to follow a BYOD (bring your own device) system in the workplace. That makes it crucial for marketers to consider mobile as paramount for employees and consumers as a way to share content, to stay informed, and to engage.

While B2B marketers still need to adhere to the principles of strategic marketing, these cues and trends should be considered when devising strategies.

Customer Engagement and Social Media are Paramount for B2B Marketers

Customers and prospects are changing immensely due to social media and it is about time that B2B marketers sit up and take notice. Whatever B2B marketers believed about social media needs to change and it needs to b viewed as the vital tool that it is, that allows brands to connect with customers and prospects efficiently.

It’s time see prospects as people and not just PDFs

B2B prospects are known to be exclusive where their time is concerned. A series of PDFs for each stage of the buying process or a simple datasheet just won’t cut it anymore. They want to know everything there is to know about a company at an intrinsic level and not just from an outer parameter.

Customers want to learn through social media

Till date, there are many top-level business associates who still debate whether investing in social media is profitable and viable or not. This debate is a rather short-sighted one, especially if these associates are leaning more towards ignoring social media altogether. Whether it is in a B2B or a B2C scenario, one absolutely cannot discredit the power of social media and its imminent value. Social media has a measurable effect on the marketing efforts of a business. It is through social media that the current and next generation of B2B customers want to stay ahead on brands that they subscribe to and learn new solutions for old problems. That is why the value of social media needs to be seriously evaluated in a business’ marketing efforts. It might be able to connect them with their customers and spark innovative ideas through sales, marketing, and product development.

Stimulating success for your business in the minds of a customer

There is nothing that adds more value to a company that if we’re making the effort to be the best they could be, with their customers as their main focus. A B2B marketer can gain their customer’s trust if they take the time out to get under their skin and figure out what makes them tick. There may be quite of evidence to the contrary that states that there is not much value for investing in social media in manufacturing and B2B marketing, but customers are choosing to learn quicker and in a more seamless manner through social media.

What this means for businesses is that customers are changing. And they are doing so much faster than most B2B marketers are giving them credit for. It is important that as a business, you view social media not just as a B2C communication platform where you engage consumers, but also as a medium and an opportunity to communicate your B2B goals and earn the respect and trust of a consumer by offering them high-value content that they find useful on a continuous basis. When you recognize the potential of social media, you are pulling out all the stop for your business to meet its B2B goals.

B2B Case Studies on How Brands Used Social Media to Achieve Results

A survey published back in October 2012 revealed that 64% of businesses were using social media as a marketing tool. If this was the case back then, this statistic is likely to have grown considerably today. Among the most popular reasons to use social media for B2B, was to increase brand awareness (83%), encourage social sharing (56%) and acquire trust and followers (55%). Here are some businesses that managed to hit the nail on the social media head.

Maersk

Maersk has been using social since 2011 and their goal was to raise brand awareness, increase employee satisfaction, gain insight into the market, and get closer to its customers. Its social strategy is to tell the stories that emerge from within the business. This could be stories that talk about what it’s like to be responsible for fuelling a boom in the sale of Kenyan avocados. The company managed to acquire 150 150 unique leads from a Facebook campaign it ran last year that spoke about how its shipping containers navigate the frozen Baltic Sea in the winter. The Facebook campaign lead users to a website, where they could fill in their contact details into a form to download a brochure about the company’s anti-freeze services. Whoever downloaded the form was assumed to be a ‘hot lead’ and the company’s sales team were then asked to follow up.

Today, Maersk has more than 1.5m Facebook fans, of which around 15% are customers. They also have 12,000 Twitter followers, and active accounts on platforms such as Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. They have tailored their social presence to match each network. For instance, on Instagram followers are asked to post pictures of their ships using the hashtag #Maersk, and on LinkedIn, job vacancies are promoted and articles about the work culture within the business are published. Due to these efforts, Maersk is second only to Lego when it comes to engagement on Facebook, according to a recent study.

AGCO

AGCI is a global agriculture manufacturer that can attribute much of its $10bn in net sales to its social media strategy. Under the parent company AGCO, there are many brands such as Challenger, Massey Ferguson, and Valtra, all of which deal in farm machinery across the world. This is why their social strategy is focussed on using thought leadership to connecting the businesses with machinery dealers and farmers.

AGCO started by gathering information about the kind of social interactions their customers were having online. They found that customers were posting YouTube clips of themselves using the company’s equipment. The company then engaged these users through a mix of educational and informational content such as photos of the farming equipment in action and weekly ’tillage tips’. This strategy has subsequently managed to attract 10,000 Twitter followers, 180,000 Facebook fans, and almost 3,000 YouTube subscribers. By partnering with their dealers, AGCO also offers training and marketing tools to help them promote themselves.