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Modern Marketers Drive Revenue & Retention Through Post-Sale Nurturing, Customer Communities

One of the best resources available to marketers today is a healthy list of engaged, happy customers. Research from Demand Gen Report shows that nearly two-thirds (65%) of B2B buyers will turn to peer review sites when selecting and evaluating new technology. Customer success is paramount to both maintaining current revenue streams and attracting new business.

5 B2B Brands That Show Us How Social Media Should Be Used

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 Mixes Eye-Catching Visuals & Humor On Instagram

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 Drives Customer Engagement, Service Via Twitter

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.

 

HubSpot Continues Post-Event Conversations Over Facebook 

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.  

 

Oracle Humanizes B2B Marketing On LinkedIn

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.

 

Adobe Fuels Instagram Feed With Customer Content

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.

 

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Podcast: HubSpot’s Scott Brinker Discusses Traversing The SaaS Explosion With Efficient Partner Ecosystems

In a quick interview at INBOUND 2018, hosted by HubSpot earlier this September in Boston, Demand Gen Report’s Brian Anderson sat down with Scott Brinker, HubSpot’s VP of Platform Ecosystem. Brinker is also notoriously known for mapping out the martech landscape on the Chief Marketing Technologist blog.

During the interview, Brinker shared how he has seen HubSpot’s partner ecosystem grow during his first year at HubSpot. He also discussed how the need for easily integrated solutions has grown evermore important over the past couple of years, as well as where he thinks partner ecosystems need to continue evolving to meet the needs of tech adopters in the space.

Listen to the full podcast to hear more of Scott's insights:

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INBOUND 2018: HubSpot Unveils Flywheel Framework To Better Attract, Engage & Delight Buyers

In the early days of demand generation, the traditional funnel excelled at helping businesses streamline their processes to move prospective customers from the top of the funnel to closed business. However, there has been a movement within the B2B marketplace toward breaking down the traditional sales funnel that the industry has come to adopt. You can see that in examples such as the #FlipMyFunnel movement and other analysts’ interpretations of the customer journey.

Why GDPR Will Force Marketers To Be Better At Their Jobs

Contently Jordan Teicher headshotI received 41 emails about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May. For some, 41 may sound modest. Every brand, publisher and tech company has to send these notifications explaining their new privacy policies. As we’ve seen over the last few weeks, these emails are painfully bland. Most people I’ve spoken to weren’t reading them. But they’re also incredibly important — and not just for legal reasons. For some companies, GDPR may actually be the creative catalyst they need to get ahead.

Let me explain.

At its core, GDPR is about protecting user privacy and limiting data sharing. But the subtext has to do with an unequal exchange of value. Users were handing over their names, email addresses and phone numbers (plus more personal details in some cases), and not getting enough in return. These days, companies gate as much content as possible with lead forms and ask consumers to share their contact information in order to access any old webinar, E-book or infographic. These exchanges emphasize the form of the content rather than its quality.

These same companies are also sending too many emails. By the end of 2017, people received an average of 121 emails at work every day, according to Templafy. If my inbox is like yours, that number is going to be a lot higher by the end of 2018. Some of those are urgent messages from colleagues, sure, but dozens probably fall under the umbrella of email subscriptions and spam. A few years ago, HubSpot reported that 78% of consumers unsubscribed from communicating with a brand because they received too many emails. So, the GDPR email purge of 2018 is like a giant reset button for anyone creating content.

Until now, it seemed like a lot of marketers were just going through the motions posting their content and sending their newsletters. Everyone still hoped to drive more audience engagement, yet there wasn’t a sense of urgency. Regardless of whether people read the fine print in the new privacy policies, expect them to at least be more discerning when it comes to engaging with your messaging. The impetus has shifted from the individual to the enterprise.

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For content creators, the mission is clear: be better. Be more creative. Develop a strategy that leads to differentiation. Ask the audience questions to figure out what’s working and what could be improved. Don’t just expect people to opt-in to email communication with your company because you have a blog and a newsletter.

Email is such a powerful channel for reaching an audience because it offers a direct line that sidesteps the tricky nature of social and search algorithms. But maintaining and growing that list has become a real challenge now that everyone is relying on the same tactic. According to a 2018 B2B report from SuperOffice, 64% of subscribers open an email based on who sends it, while only 47% open based on the topic or subject line. Those two factors are certainly linked to some degree, but they paint an interesting picture about the current state of email marketing. Building trust and earning a good reputation with an audience over time outranks the short-term impact of catchy copy or a trending topic.

As you’re moving the collection of GDPR emails to the trash now that May 25 has come and gone, think about what can be done to take advantage of this opportunity. Marketers don’t always get the chance to step back and evaluate their approach, but these new regulations have an upside. New research out of the UK from DMA and Acxiom suggests that a majority of people may actually be more willing to share some personal data due to the GDPR laws.

This window won’t last forever, though. It’s only a matter of time before businesses fall back into the status quo. So, make an effort to create breakthrough content that’ll compel your audience to stick around for more. If you address the pain points, skill gaps and buyer needs, people will be much more likely to see you as a valuable resource.


Jordan Teicher is the Editor-in-Chief at Contently, where he manages the company’s two digital publications: The Content Strategist and The Freelancer. Jordan also freelances about technology, business and sports in his spare time. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal and Wired.

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