Social media isn’t just one of the most important tools for modern businesses, it’s also one of the most multifaceted. Some other channels are used for a singular purpose, but a company’s social media presence impacts brand awareness, customer service, product promotion, website traffic, and many more factors that contribute to business growth.
However, creating a perfect B2B social media strategy is easier said than done. We’ve all seen what “bad” B2B social media strategies look like — we’re referring to the brands that rarely engage with their audience, don’t offer any unique or visually captivating content, and use their social media platforms for the sole purpose of promoting their own company and products.
Fortunately, there are many amazing B2B brands who get social media right. These brands show that no matter what your company does or what products you sell, you can build an engaging, trusted brand on social media.
In today’s blog post, we take a look at some of the exemplary B2B brands who stand out on social media. Read on, and you’ll be sure to learn a few tips to implement in your own social media strategy!
Salesforce is one of the most well-known and successful companies in the B2B world, and they more than live up to that distinction with their brilliant use of social media. Scroll through Salesforce’s Twitter and Facebook pages, and you’ll see a number of exemplary qualities.
They consistently interact with their followers, sharing helpful information and GIF-fueled jokes in equal measure. They post relevant content, both via external links to longform written content and eye-grabbing social graphics. But the most impressive element of Salesforce’s social media profiles is their focus on real people — specifically, their employees.
B2B companies often struggle to humanize their brands, especially when their product offerings are technical and business-oriented. Salesforce doesn’t have this problem, in large part because they go to great lengths to feature their employees in the content they promote on social media. On their Facebook page and Twitter feed, you’ll see a number of posts that highlight their company culture, celebrate their staff’s achievements, and illustrate the ways in which their employees participate in important social causes.
Other B2B brands can learn a valuable lesson from Salesforce: social media is the best tool to show your audience that your brand is made up of real human beings.
IBM is one of the largest technology companies in the world. Founded over 100 years ago, IBM has a rich history of innovation that has made them the company they are today. And, their social media accounts do a great job of explaining this history through storytelling.
It’s common for B2B companies to embrace brand storytelling in longform content like blog posts and videos. But IBM’s feed is a reminder that you can tell a story in a single Tweet.
In addition to exploring their company history, IBM also uses storytelling to illustrate the remarkable feats their technology has helped people and businesses accomplish. Companies have leveraged IBM technology to make major positive impacts on communities all over the world, and IBM does a great job of highlighting these stories on their social media feeds.
Oracle is another great example of brand-building on social media. Oracle excels on social media by sharing multimedia success stories that demonstrate the power of their technology.
When selling technical, multifunctional services like a cloud application solution, it can be difficult for B2B brands to present those products in a grounded, relatable context that their audience can understand. That’s why Oracle’s social media feeds places such a strong emphasis on the real-world application of their tools.
Scroll their Twitter and you’ll find a diverse array of curated stories— for example, a restaurant that used Oracle to improve their dining experience, or a recent property tax conundrum that was solved with the help of Oracle’s infrastructure.
If there’s one thing lacking on the typical B2B social media page, it’s variety. Brands often share worthwhile posts but never bother to stray from one style, voice, content type, color scheme, etc. Those brands can learn a thing or two from MailChimp, the popular marketing automation provider.
If you don’t know what we mean by variety, just take a look at Mailchimp’s Instagram feed. For one, they update the page consistently, whereas many B2B brands consider Instagram an afterthought.
More important, their feed is remarkably diverse. Slideshows, short video clips, fun animations, employee spotlights — Mailchimp features just about every type of content you could imagine. The result? Over 100,000 Instagram followers, impressive engagement numbers, and lasting connections with their customers and followers.
5. General Electric
Everyone recognizes the name General Electric, but most people would be hard-pressed to identify the actual projects the multinational conglomerate is responsible for. Rather than push out overly-complicated technical jargon, GE uses their social media pages to inject humanity and relatability into their complex projects.
Their Instagram page features stunning images and videos of the machinery they help power, as well as photographs and stories about the real people behind their groundbreaking innovation. Your B2B brand might not have the reach and resources of GE, but you can learn from their approach and bring your complex products and solutions to life on social media.
Interaction is the most critical element of social media. A platform like Twitter provides customers with direct access to companies, enabling them to ask questions, make suggestions, and, of course, submit complaints. And, few B2B brands handle interaction better than Slack.
If you’re not familiar, Slack is a business collaboration tool that thousands of companies use for daily interaction between employees. Because of its popularity, Slack receives a lot of Tweets every single day — ranging from minor questions about a certain feature to full-blown rants stemming from a technical issue.
Slack doesn’t just respond to their incoming Tweets in a timely manner — they also respond with specific, helpful feedback that addresses each person’s problems to the best of their abilities. Contrast their social interactions with the boilerplate responses we see from many other brands (“We’re sorry you had an issue, we’ll be in touch”) and you’ll understand how Slack earned its reputation as a company that cares about its users.
Even if you’re familiar with their popular social media management platform, the size of Hootsuite’s audience on Twitter might still shock you. To date, they have 7.9 million followers. Hootsuite has earned their massive following by consistently sharing valuable, engaging content.
From clever Instagram hacks to more in-depth social media strategy advice, Hootsuite’s posts are as entertaining as they are helpful. In addition to sharing content, Hootsuite promotes engagement by asking their audience questions and encouraging anyone on Twitter to join in on the fun conversations.
They also run a separate Twitter account dedicated to customer support, which prevents their main feed from getting bogged down with troubleshooting interactions.
Remember: effective B2B social media relies on substance, not style. There’s nothing flashy or overly unique about Hootsuite’s Twitter feed. They succeed because their posts provide their audience with relevant content and information, every single day.
If you work in the B2B space, you’re familiar with Hubspot and their inbound marketing and sales software. But, you’re missing out if you don’t already follow Hubspot on Instagram.
Like all social media platforms, Instagram constantly adds new features and capabilities, and Hubspot excels at adapting to these changes. For example, Instagram recently added functionality that allowed users to organize their past Stories into groups that live on their main page until removed. Hubspot reacted by grouping their Stories into several distinct categories, including “Community”, “Product”, “Tips”, “Sales”, “Marketing”, and more. As a result, followers can click on Hubspot’s page and immediately find the content that is most relevant to them.
Hubspot’s Instagram is a great example of another key element of social media: repurposed content. Along with original videos and graphics, Hubspot posts repurposed elements of blogs, infographics, news articles, and other content types on their Instagram feed. And unlike some of the more buttoned-up (in other words, boring) B2B brands, Hubspot’s not afraid to make their followers laugh with a well-timed meme.
There’s a common belief that B2C brands get to have all the fun on social media. But, the eight examples above prove that belief to be a total misconception. You might sell technical products to a sophisticated audience, but that doesn’t mean your social media feeds have to be by-the-book, dry, and overly “professional.”
Remember, social media is unique to your other marketing and branding channels. It’s not a place to push your products and generate direct sales. Learn from the B2B brands who get social media right, and start offering valuable information, engaging with your audience, and experimenting with fresh ideas and content types. Above all else, be consistent! Give your followers a reason to visit your social media feeds every single day, and you’ll see your audience grow in no time.
About the Author: Sam Holzman is a Content Marketing Manager at ZoomInfo, a leading B2B contact database that helps organizations accelerate growth and profitability. He regularly covers topics related to sales, marketing, and recruiting and likes to write about sports and travel in his free time.