Despite predictions of its demise, email is not dead. In fact, it continues to be the top channel marketers use to drive demand, according to Demand Gen Report’s 2019 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey. More than half (54%) of respondents ranked email on top, with the company website (48%) and in-person events (47%) trailing closely behind.
Sprout Social, a social media management solutions provider, raised $40.5 million in a Series D funding round led by Goldman Sachs, Future Fund and New Enterprise Associates. The company said the new funds, which bring its total capital raised up to $103.5 million since 2010, will be used to drive platform enhancements and accelerate international expansion.
Although the majority of channel partners disappoint brands they represent by taking a pass on many of the marketing support programs offered to them, participation in social media amplification appears to be on the rise.
Koble is a B2B matchmaking platform that aims to simplify the customer journey by matching prospects with relevant companies, products and people. The Koble platform is designed to spark genuine conversations between buyers and sellers by empowering users to post content, questions, reviews and more.
Progressive B2B brands are taking a note from the B2C playbook and meeting buyers on their preferred platforms, such as on podcasts, through videos and on social media. In fact, the number of buyers using social media to research potential solutions has grown from 20% in 2012 to 54% in 2018, according to the B2B Buyers Survey. Yet, research from the Content Marketing Institute shows that while 80% of B2B marketers have a social media strategy in place, only 32% have documented it.
A winning social media strategy must be documented and expansive. B2B companies should leverage a variety of social media platforms to not only promote their products, but also share relevant content, engage with customers, build brand awareness and more. Here are five B2B brands with a stellar social media presence we can all learn from:
MailChimp is an email marketing platform, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it by looking at their Instagram. The company’s Instagram page is a beautiful blend of bright colors, entertaining videos and a dash of humor — a winning combination that has landed MailChimp over 83,000 Instagram followers. Visit the page for yourself and see if you can resist hitting the follow button.
Slack leverages Twitter as a two-way communication platform to engage with current and prospective customers. On most days, the Slack Twitter is awash with relevant videos, articles and more, and the Slack team is constantly responding to comments from other Twitter users. But on days where Slack is down, the company uses Twitter as an active platform to send out status updates and field individual questions and feedback from users. With Twitter, Slack can provide real-time customer support in an easily accessible and scalable way.
The best brands don’t just have social media pages for their companies, but also their events. HubSpot is a shining example of Facebook use at its finest.
The company has created a separate Facebook page solely for its annual INBOUND event. Although the event takes place in early September, the company is dedicated to building a year-long, sustainable community around it. To do so, HubSpot created an INBOUND Studio page, where it posts video interviews, “dear attendee” tips, quotes and more on a regular basis. The posts help drive engagement long after the event has ended, as well as build excitement around the following year’s event.
LinkedIn is repeatedly named the top social media platform to reach B2B buyers, and Oracle is a prime example of how to best leverage the site. The company is ranked 9th on LinkedIn’s top companies list and has amassed more than three million LinkedIn followers. Beyond just sharing content and relevant news, Oracle makes a point to connect with its followers and showcase the people behind the brand.
Earlier this month, the company opened up about losing 11 employees on 9/11. Then, in the wake of Hurricane Florence, Oracle posted a video of two employees who are delivering supplies and providing aid to those affected by the storm and urged its followers to join them in giving back. In doing so, Oracle humanizes its brand and creates a company image that people will want to support.
Instagram is quickly growing in popularity and is considered the number one platform for engagement. Nevertheless, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many B2B brands using the platform, let alone posting content on a regular basis.
Adobe, which recently acquired Marketo, has a notable Instagram presence on par with MailChimp. The Adobe Instagram feed looks like something straight out of Pinterest, with breathtaking travel photos, inspirational quotes and quirky designs. But don’t be fooled by the professional-looking photos, as they are often created by Adobe users themselves. By crowdsourcing user photos, Adobe always has a steady stream of content available and can showcase the power of its products over social media.
2017 may have been dubbed the "year of video marketing," but video has yet to reach its full potential. In 2018 and beyond, B2B marketers are and will be taking greater steps to deliver authentic and just downright cool video content that engages buyers on a human level.
This special report will dive into new trends in video and share how B2B companies are humanizing their brands by creating unique video experiences for customers, prospects and even general audiences, including:
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Since the introduction of SPIN selling in the early ‘80s, the world of B2B customer engagement has seen steady innovation. Telephone cold calling, voicemail and emails became vital tools used to let prospects know you wanted to talk to them. When you did get a positive response, face-to-face meetings for problem discovery and PowerPoint presentations to drive the impact of your solution home became the standard. B2B selling was ruled by the conventional wisdom of seasoned sales executives who had control of the information. Through vast experience and advanced training in strategic and positional selling, they knew exactly how to win. It was a seller’s market and a game of inches.