Posted 12.17.2019 by Josh Krakauer
As we gear up for 2021, it’s more important than ever for B2B brands and companies to leverage the power of social media.
Doing so can help achieve crucial goals such as driving conversions, building leads, and increasing brand awareness.
This isn’t just wishful thinking. 75% of B2B customers use social media to make purchasing decisions.
This means that B2B social media campaigns really help knock goals out of the ballpark — when done right.
That’s why we gathered a list of ten brands that took social media to the bank, to show you what great B2B social media campaigns look like.
The campaigns we gathered include:
Bonus: See 23 more B2B examples in our guide to the best B2B tips and tactics for 2021. 🙌
Let’s jump in.
HubSpot provides some of the most comprehensive resources for social media and digital marketing on the Internet — as well as a suite of products for inbound sales. So it should be no shock that they’re also one of the best success stories for the power of B2B social media marketing.
CEO and co-founder of Hubspot, Brian Halligan, even says that digital marketing was more crucial in their early stages than sales were.
“[We got] the marketing going earlier than the sales,” Halligan said in an interview for Hubspot Academy in 2016.
“Once you get that machine working and you’re pretty sure you can stick a dollar in and get three or five dollars out, then you pour on the gas for sales and marketing and add to them quickly.”
Their focus on providing excellent resources to their consumer directly via their digital marketing campaigns was groundbreaking. The result was explosive growth in sales from $255,000 in revenue in 2007 to $15.6 million in 2010 to earning $513 million in total yearly revenue for 2018.
One example of their great digital marketing campaigns was when Hubspot wanted to target marketers from small- to medium-sized businesses on LinkedIn. To do so, they created sponsored content to appear alongside their target audience’s newsfeed. The initiative allowed them to both inform their clients as well as bring in new leads.
The results were 400% more leads with their target audience than other platforms. They were also able to gain instant insights on what was working and what they needed to tweak for their next campaign.
Drift is a “conversational marketing” platform. That means they use chatbots and customized marketing to help businesses connect with potential customers, gather leads, and convert sales. They want to become the “Amazon of B2B” and it’s easy to see that happening. They’re one of the most successful B2B brands in the tech industry, having raised $47 million in its first three years and another $60 million in 2018.
How did they do it? Simple: Transparent and creative marketing tactics.
For example, Drift doesn’t have a transparency dashboard like other B2B companies that shares insights on revenue and employee work. Instead, they encourage their employees to regularly post about their work on social media — no matter what stage its in.
Another great example of their marketing savvy is their Soofa sign (a brand of electronic signs) campaign outside of Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. Unlike most businesses, they didn’t just create a flashy ad graphic and throw it up on the sign to hope it generates leads. Instead, they blasted their electronic sign campaign on LinkedIn in order to increase impressions and engagement.
The results by the numbers:
Shopify is an e-commerce and point-of-sale platform for brands and businesses to make sales online. While they have a large catalogue of great content to help brands get started with their digital marketing needs, where Shopify really shines is with their video content library. The e-commerce platform has leveraged video marketing for enormous growth and lead generation.
A few numbers as of 2019:
Shopify has also integrated a multichannel approach to their video marketing, increasing their reach through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. They take an intentional approach to their video content too — providing informative and substantive video content to help inform their audience.
They also lean into a culture of experimentation when it comes to their social media marketing efforts. For example, they once tried to publish a video a day for three months on their Facebook page to see what would happen. While the output and workload was immense, it resulted in one of their most successful videos on Facebook with more than 1 million views.
What are you waiting for? Start a t-shirt store on Shopify here >> http://bit.ly/shopify-how-to-tshirt
Posted by Shopify on Monday, May 9, 2016
“It was a three-minute video of how to start a t-shirt store in under ten minutes,” says Shopify’s longtime videographer Matt Wiebe. “And it just killed it. We had so many people watching that video and signing up for the free trial.”
Upwork is a freelancing platform that connects businesses and brands with freelancers of all stripes (copywriters, graphic designers, illustrators, etc.). In 2018, they decided to get bold and cheeky with their “Hey World” marketing campaign. The premise was simple: Create marketing hyper-targeted to real life people.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson got offered help for his 2020 presidential campaign.
Elon Musk got offered help for a personal assistant.
Donald Trump got offered help for a social media strategist.
Using social media as well as traditional ad tactics like billboards and other physical ad placements, Upwork’s “Hey World” campaigned reached millions by tapping into their target audience’s love for pop culture. This resulted in a 10% increase of Fortune 500 companies using Upwork since the campaign launched.
The cloud storage platform partnered with marketing agency Transmission in order to scale up their lead generation efforts, as well as focus on a new target audience (marketers) — and they had their work cut out for them. Marketing to marketers is notoriously difficult. Plus, they knew that marketers had limited knowledge of the benefits Dropbox for Business could provide for them.
However, through good audience research, they also discovered that marketing teams often attributed “personality clashes” and communication hiccups as reasons for project delays.
Dropbox created Marketing Dynamix, a personality assessment tool that helped marketers understand their team and how they can improve processes with the knowledge.
They then took this product and promoted it extensively on YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. They relied on GIFs, videos, and graphics in order to create engagement and build awareness for the product.
The results were phenomenal:
Transmission and Dropbox even won LinkedIn’s 2018 Marketing Award for the “Best Lead Generation (Over 200 Employees)” category for their work.
IDA Ireland is an inward investment promotion agency. They’re focused on bringing foreign investors to establish business in the European country. That’s why they launched the “Ireland, Right Place Right Time” campaign.
The goals of the campaign:
To do so, IDA Ireland leveraged LinkedIn ads to foster engagement with their audience and convert users into leads. LinkedIn employed a range of paid solutions to reach their audience across the platform, including Sponsored Content ads, Conversion Tracking with the LinkedIn Insight Tag, LinkedIn native Lead Gen Forms, and Dynamic Ads.
The results were fantastic. By the end of 2018, the agency saw a 25% increase in social media engagement, and a combined top-of-funnel reach of more than 800,000 prospects.
How about lower in the funnel? Well, the social media campaign directly led to 237 foreign direct investment decisions — not to mention the creation of more than 20,000 jobs. Now THAT’S a B2B social media win.
It’s a bird! No, it’s a plane. Wait, it’s … SuperSmart?
While Cisco’s cyber-defense superhero probably won’t be getting a Marvel movie soon, she’s a great example of how a B2B brand can engage audiences while providing valuable information — all in a unique way.
Cisco’s goal was simple: Teach their audience about the importance of cybersecurity. They could do something typical (e.g. create a blog post, infographic).
Instead, they made a graphic novel that helped show the importance of cybersecurity without being alarmist about it.
They also offered the graphic novel in six different languages. This allowed it to be more easily and widely shared on social media.
— Cisco (@Cisco) February 8, 2016
This is a great example of how a brand can push the boundaries of typical inbound marketing tactics. In doing so, Cisco created something unique that got users to share their material on social media — and bring in more leads as a result.
Airtable is a cloud-based service that’s changing the way people think about and use spreadsheets. The product allows users to collaborate, file, and organize everything in one convenient, aesthetically pleasing place.
It’s no surprise then that their Instagram presence is just as clean and organized.
Airtable recognizes that prospects are more likely to see paid ads than organic posts. Their solution? They use their Instagram profile as a landing page. There are only 10 public posts, but their paid team actively runs ads with the Instagram placement.
When users see their ads and click through to their account, here’s what they find:
What their feed lacks in quantity, it makes up in quality.
Additionally, their organic content reflects the same aesthetic as their paid ads. It’s visually pleasant, cohesive, and cements their creative values in the customer’s mind.
While Airtable keeps the focus on paid ads instead of organic posts, they do publish to Instagram Stories more frequently. They use this channel to share fun behind-the-scenes content about the staff.
In addition to humanizing the brand and connecting with audiences through frequent posting, Airtable also preserves the polished grid on their profile page.
Although Airtable hasn’t shared any metrics relating to the success of their Instagram campaign, their other numbers speak for themselves. Airtable’s CEO has disclosed that they’ve grown 400% in the last year alone and their valuation is $1.1 billion. They’ve also generated quite a bit of buzz in the press.
The accounting software for small businesses, developed and distributed by financial software powerhouse Intuit, is now in the third year of its “Backing You” campaign. Partnering with GIPHY and Danny Devito (yes, we’re serious), the campaign highlights all the ways Quickbooks works to save small business owners money and time.
“Backing You” is a massive, multi-channel awareness effort that Quickbooks rolled out in two parts. The campaign won
First – the videos featuring Devito.
A 30-second anthem video plus several others that spotlight real small business owners launched as commercials online and on television. An additional mini-series called “Danny Teaches,” made up of 15-second videos in which Devito demos the simplicity of the QuickBooks platform, completes the video component of the campaign.
Second – the GIFs.
Partnering with GIPHY, Quickbooks created a searchable library of GIFs, made specifically with their customers in mind – small business owners. Targeting business-related search terms and celebratory words and phrases, the partnership aims to further raise campaign awareness by reaching people who are already talking about the topic of small business solutions.
The Danny Devito GIFs, created when the first leg of the campaign launched, had already generated over 15 million views as of January 2019, when the GIPHY partnership was announced. Since then, they’ve added more GIFs and stickers, which have over 500 million views.
QuickBooks VP of Global Marketing, Dan McCarthy, explained the mission behind using GIFs as such an integral part of the campaign: “Given the popularity of communicating through GIFs, we wanted to bring a sense of community to the self-employed and small business community, which our new campaign with GIPHY provides.”
Of course, you don’t need the comedic stylings of Danny Devito to pull off a campaign like this. Star power and the novelty of GIFs are only part of the equation.
The well-known stock photo site went viral with their Fyrestock video at the beginning of 2019. Racking up over 2 million views in the first week alone, the video parodies the promo video for the PR disaster that was Fyre Festival.
The kicker? They did it all with their own stock footage. Just over $2,000 worth of it, to be exact, earning Shutterstock the award for Best Limited Budget Campaign in The Drum’s 2019 B2B Awards.
Of course, that was the whole point of the video. Leveraging the sensation surrounding Fyre Festival to go viral was just icing on the cake.
The Fyrestock video is part of Shutterstock’s larger, global campaign “It’s not stock, it’s Shutterstock,” the goal of which is to shift perception around stock imagery.
Through a series of promotional videos using other cultural touchstones like Game of Thrones and Stranger Things, the campaign aims to prove that content created with stock footage and imagery can be both low-budget and high-quality. The tongue-in-cheek nature of the videos adds to their entertainment value, making them both more memorable and more shareable.
Shutterstock incorporates the campaign across their website, too, presenting a consistent brand message: high-quality, low-cost, endless creative possibilities.
If you’re getting started with your own B2B social media campaign, be sure to check out our articles on the topic below:
If you’re just getting started — or if you already have a few campaigns under your belt — we’d love to hear from you: Drop us a line if you have any questions or if you just want to show off that sweet campaign you ran. We might feature it in a future article.
read this next
A successful B2B social media campaign follows the same steps as setting an effective social media strategy. Consider the who, where, when, what, and how, starting with intentional business goals.
Discover more tactics for success on our social media lead generation post.
read this next