It took a while, but B2B and heavy industrial marketers now Like social media. You might even say they’re in a relationship!
While more traditional B2C marketers have a head-start in social, industrial marketers have now jumped into the race. Whether it’s an enterprise-grade network, heavy construction equipment, or messy consumer services like septic systems and waste management, these marketers are finding their place on the social graph.
Here are four “unsexy” marketers killing it in social media:
1. Bowen’s Septic Tank on Pinterest.
Bowen’s Septic Tank in Atlanta is through with the Yellow Pages. “It’s not just about driving phone calls – it’s about driving community.” says Stevie Bowen, the company’s CEO.
He continued, “That’s why we leverage Pinterest Boards to engage our consumers. Most users see Pinterest as a way to curate beauty, so we use it to remind the customer how much more beautiful her life is with reliable septic services.”
“Our ‘Septic Tank FAIL’ Board highlights the whimsy of the human waste removal business. The Pins are pretty disgusting, but they do drive measurable intent.” Bowen said.
Pinterest’s Director of Monetization, Tim Kendall, commented on Bowen’s strategy by saying, “Yeah, man. Whatever.”
Lesson: Leverage your owned media. Those septic pumper trucks aren’t just sucking human feces and sludge out of the ground – they’re building Bowen’s connections. He spent just $1500 affixing “Follow us on Pinterest” sign on each of his trucks and has grown his Boards’ followers to 142 (in aggregate).
2. Raytheon’s Myspace re-launch partnership:
Representatives from Raytheon are tight-lipped about much of their business, but not their partnership with the recently re-launched Myspace.
“We love the music-centric strategy they’re going with,” said Raytheon EVP, Col. Everett “Tex” Harrison, USAF (Retired) who runs marketing and communications for the defense behemoth. “Plus, my grand-daughter got to meet Justin Timberlake, so that was pretty neat.”
The Colonel defended their foray into new territory, “Hey now, Raytheon doesn’t just produce missile and integrated defense systems. We build community – especially among Pentagon officials and the dilettante wives of Saudi princes.”
“Plus, we’ve learned a lot. We used to run ads on Myspace targeted to the armed forces, but found that many of the clickers weren’t arms-systems decision makers – they were just frisky soldiers looking to ‘hook-up.'” said Colonel Harrison.
“However, we love the integrated sponsorships, like the one we’re doing on Myspace Radio’s One Direction channel in Q1 of next year,” he continued. “I negotiated category exclusivity, so you won’t be seeing any other major arms manufacturers anywhere near that space.”
Lesson: Use social media to augment traditional sales strategies. “If you want to sell missile systems to foreign governments, you’ve got to target and engage your buyer in relevant ways.” Col. Harrison said. “Also, bribe them. Bribe them with huge quantities of un-traceable cash.”
Buzzfeed’s native ads are a great solution for banner-weary marketers. With these integrated placements, brands can tell stories and create emotion in a way that just isn’t possible with a 468×60.
Whether it’s Dow telling the story of how they limit animal testing, Hostess doing some well-timed union-busting (“10 Ways the Bakers Union Makes Twinkies More Expensive”) or big tobacco making its case to the government (“42 Whackiest Lung Cancer Myths”), native ads do more than just get a click to a white paper.
Think your brand doesn’t have a logical connection to feline-themed slideshows? Think again. Buzzfeed now has a full in-house creative staff that will help your industrial brand tie into the kind of viral, social-friendly content that drives Buzzfeed’s crazy popularity.
“Buzzfeed is doing for the web what America’s Funniest Home Videos did for TV in the 1990’s.” said Buzzfeed CEO, Jonah Peretti. “Imagine doing product placement in one of those hilarious videos. That’s how we think about our native ads – we’re putting the Louisville Slugger logo on the bat that inevitably hits dad in the nuts.”
(because I don’t want you to think I’m an eco-terrorist, see Dow’s statement on animal testing here)
4. Cisco on Pinterest:
“If you aren’t following Cisco on Pinterest, you are missing out on the latest in super-cute enterprise networking equipment.” declares San Jose-based Social-Media-Expert/Luxury-Travel-Publicist/Cosmetic-Counter-Attendant, Rachel Goldstein-Goldstein, who manages Cisco’s social media presence.
According to Ms. Goldstein-Goldstein’s website, her clients include Cisco, Oracle (pending) and the Orange Julius at Westgate Center.
When pressed for details on the Cisco relationship, she reported reluctantly, “Well, it’s not an official engagement, like in a retainer-type way. My uncle is the CMO, and he paid me $250 from his T&E budget to put up their Pinterest Boards as a test. He also told me not to tell anyone, but I think that’s going to change now that we have several dozen followers.”
Ms. Goldstein-Goldstein is a big believer in the power of social for B2B. She reported, “I have a ton of great ideas – like I’m trying to convince Oracle’s channel-marketing team to incentivize VAR’s with a Groupon for a free makeover at another one of my other prospective clients, Tan-Fastic in Redwood City.”
Lesson: Engage Facebook and Twitter followers with rhetorical questions like “What’s better than a sunny summer day and reliable IT infrastructure?” Also, don’t fret over measurement. Your social media consultant may be young, but she was an Anthro-/Sociology major with a minor in Communications and a half-semester in Finance, so she’s got a pretty firm grasp on your long term business needs.