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Cheeseburgers Or Electron Microscopes: Social Media Is Still An Essential Strategy (Part 2)

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This is the second part of a two-part post written by Ben Leftwich of Anvil Media. Part 1 is located here.

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Which B2B Companies Are Doing Great Social Media Campaigns Today?

To be honest, the pickings are slim, but there are a few standouts.  First off: Cisco.  Cisco has embraced social media across nearly every major platform, from YouTube to Facebook.  Each channel is completely customized for the Cisco brand, and features engaging content that is meant to start a conversation, not just a re-post of their latest press release.

Cisco uses YouTube to highlight how specific products can help businesses succeed by giving them the tools they need to connect.  Highly tied to the Cisco brand and relevant to businesses interested in Cisco products.

Facebook on the other hand is much less formal for Cisco.  They use a conversational tone that makes it sound like it’s coming from an actual person, not a marketing team trying to sell you a product.  The aim of the Cisco Facebook profile is to be filled with useful information for fans, and it’s working.  At the time this article was written, Cisco’s Facebook page had nearly 140,000 fans.

Second: Marketo, a B2B lead-automation company.  Marketo has embraced Twitter and LinkedIn, customizing both and providing useful content for its target audience.

Marketo’s Twitter feed, like Cisco’s Facebook wall, isn’t about selling directly.  Instead, Marketo provides a lot of highly relevant information to its target audience, giving them a reason to follow Marketo on Twitter.  Marketo’s Twitter account has become the profile to follow for B2B marketers (with over 10,000 followers to date), exactly the folks that would purchase Marketo if they haven’t already.

Marketo also knows where most B2B social media businesses decisions are happening today: LinkedIn.  With that in mind, Marketo has taken advantage of LinkedIn’s product advertising to place banner ads on Marketo’s product page, providing a highly immersive experience when a business decision maker arrives.  They have also leveraged the use of video and incorporated it into their LinkedIn company profile, further engaging visitors.

Does Social Media Work for B2B Companies?

Absolutely.  And not just in that squishy “look how cool we are because we’re on Facebook!” sort of way, but in real dollars.  In 2009 Cisco decided to launch their new ASR router with an integrated social media campaign instead of the way they had done it traditionally: through expensive flights and static press releases.  The campaign included online video, integration with online games, Facebook, custom widgets, and blog outreach.  The results?  They speak for themselves:

  • 9,000 people attended the social media product launch event – 90 times more attendees than in the past
  • Saved 42,000 gallons of gas
  • Nearly three times as many press articles as with traditional outreach methods
  • More than 1,000 blog posts and 40 million online impressions
  • A Leading Lights award for Best Marketing
  • One-sixth the cost of a traditional launch

All considering, Cisco estimated they saved over $100,000 on this single product launch alone by embracing social media, and helped to get internal acceptance to fully embrace social media.

Wrapping Up

Although social media campaigns need to be designed differently for B2B companies as compared to B2C or retail, B2B decision makers are already embracing social media, and are hungry for business-level social media engagement.  However, before diving in to choosing which tool to use, B2B companies need to take the time and figure out their goals and which social media platforms their target audience is already using.  If they take the time to answer these two questions, and devote the necessary staff time to make the campaign a success, social media can be a powerful tool for B2B companies’ bottom line.

Which B2B companies have you seen doing amazing social media work?

About the Author

Ben Leftwich is an Account Executive with Anvil Media, Inc., a leading search engine marketing company. Ben helps Anvil’s clients increase ROI through social media marketing, PPC management, and search engine optimization.

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