5 Ways Boring B2B Brands Can Kill It With Content

September 19th, 2016

5 Ways Boring B2B Brands Can Kill It With Content

As a writer, I aspire to get as much engagement on my social media content as Nike does.

However, the engagement that B2B brands receive on social media is rarely in the same range as B2C brands. While Nike might be too unrealistic a goal to work towards, there are quite a few B2B brands that are doing extremely well on social media. According to this report by Forrester, B2B brands are investing more than ever before on social media marketing.

A report published by Brandwatch holds that around 76% of B2B brands they studied had a social media presence on at least one social network. What is even more interesting is that they have a wealth of followers.

On average, the B2B brands on Twitter have more than 47,000 followers and those on Facebook have over 200,000 page likes. And you know what that means: ROI!

In this article, I showcase 5 lessons you can learn from the Nikes and Go Pros of the B2B world:

1. Celebrate Your Employees

You often hear social media gurus advising B2B brands to humanize your brand and make it relatable to your target audiences. What better way to do so than to show the people who work the magic and bring your products (and your brand) to life? You can tell your fans about the amazing things that your employees do at work and outside of it.

Doing this accomplishes two things: One, by introducing your audience to the people who are actively engaged in creating the product adds to the credibility and trust your brand has. Two, it is great for employee morale to be featured in the company’s content. It also communicates to potential employees that working at your company is fun.

ISS does an exceptional job at this. They pay tributes to their employees all over the world—all 515,000 of them. They post amazing facts about the work their employees do. Did you know that out of every 14,333 people on Earth, there is one ISS employee?

In another great example—3M received almost 2500 Reactions and 160 Shares in a Facebook post that featured Joe, a chemist who holds nearly 100 patents and has authored just as many research publications.

“Because of our extraordinary culture of innovation and collaboration, we have many great examples of accomplished men and women using 3M Science to improve lives around the world,’” shares Michele Whyle, 3M brand director.

“We showcased Joe to inspire our fans and give them a peek inside 3M.” Michele continued. “We want the world to see that the science behind our products is created by real people, and helps real people everywhere. 3M employees know this as they live it every day. Sharing their personal stories and accomplishments with the world is a great source of pride for them and for those who know them.”

To take a holistic approach to the storytelling, integrate similar content into your employee advocacy program.  This will allow you to pack a bigger punch in reaching key stakeholders.

2. Celebrate Your End Users (Not Just Your Customers)

In numbers, B2B brands’ customers might not size up to those of B2C brands. You can turn this into a major advantage. When you have fewer customers, you have a handle on who buys what. This aids in knowing who your end users are. And often, this allows you to build a relationship with your customers.

Brands that take a genuine interest in the end-users of their product (and not just the managerial higher-ups) enjoy a lot of goodwill. The most valuable testimony that a brand can get comes from the people who actively use the product. 

By fostering such relationships, you can create a sense of belonging and community.

Content of this sort goes a long way in showing how your product plays a part in your consumers fulfilling their goals. This video Chevron created as part of its ‘#fuelinglife’ campaign is an excellent example. It introduces you to Carrie, who owns a pudding truck. Chevron successfully puts the message across that they are in the business of furthering their customers dreams.

Similarly, Cummins, a diesel engine manufacturer focuses on the people that indirectly use their product, specifically the truckers that have driven over 1 million miles on a Cummins engine.

No one cares about the new electricity project in Egypt, but Siemens makes people care by relating it to Egypt’s future growth, prosperity and plenty of electricity for everyone.

3. Celebrate Holidays on Social Media

Developing creative content that leverages existing holidays can generate a huge amount of engagement.

Brands that do a good job on social media put a lot of effort into their content around major, relevant holidays rather than your run-of-the-mill greeting. Miller Electric Welders pulled off a great Veteran’s Day Post while showing off how creative welding can be:

4. Celebrate Your Technology/Product/Process

If you pause for a minute and think about it, we’ve come to take a lot of mind-boggling things that technology does for granted. Many of the services and products that your company provides are fueled by technology that would have been hard to imagine a few years back.

Social media audiences love watching and reading about the crazy-awesome things that technology can do. GE’s #impossible series will turn anyone into a tech freak. They took a bunch of expressions that we commonly use to describe something impossible, like ‘a snowball’s chance in hell’ and made that possible.

CAT shows off their product in some amazing PR stunts, such as building the biggest sand castle and braving extreme weather conditions.

Sometimes you have to be playful with your content, as Maersk did with this photo. You can so see the love that the brand has for its product. You’d be amazed to know the kind of engagement John Deere gets on both Facebook and Instagram on the photos of their tractors.

5. Celebrate the Wonderful World We Live In

It is an awesome time to be alive. Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings are all part of ‘pop’ culture. Sheldon has actually managed to make a lot of us look better. It pays to be a brand that is in tune with the times and their audience.

Be like IBM and don’t be afraid to tell the world that you secretly read Buzzfeed when you are supposed to be a stuffy corporate giant. In fairness, this is the type of content IBM could have created on their blog and won even more visibility as a result.

Drop some film references to show your end users how cool you are, like Lincoln Electric did with their Star Wars post about welders:

And Throwback Thursday is not just something meant for the ‘youth’ on Instagram, as UPS cleverly showed us. They leveraged their longstanding association with F1 to stand out as a happening brand.

Or you could be like Chevron and celebrate how things have changed with their  #DOERSdoing campaign that highlights the huge inroads women have made in the tech world.

Shell did one better by devoting their efforts to showing us the way forward. As part of their #makethefuture campaign they roped in AKON to unveil the first human and solar powered football pitch. How cool is that?

And if all that doesn’t work, you can simply adopt Shopify & HubSpot’s strategy and promote all your blog content so that it gets massive amounts of engagement.

Before you start working on reaching these levels of greatness, make sure you take your decisions based on data.

As with all things social media, measure, measure and measure. Also, it is important to consider how these tactics will work for your business. There should be a seamless fit between your company culture, business model, strengths and the path you choose on social media.

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