When I joined Orca Social, I had my moments of doubt about focusing purely on social media for (boring) B2B companies. Would it be as exciting as seeing social media work for the well known consumer world? After more than a year working closely with various B2B companies I found the answer: It is even more exciting; B2B content is bound for virality! Let me explain why.
The success of social networks is based on sharing emotional stories. People love to read about people, who address topics they care about. Just think a second about the amount of likes and comments on pics from your wedding, your newly-born offspring, your university graduation or Emily’s story about meeting Patrick, which got an impressive 320k likes and over 15k comments … on LinkedIn.
Apart from the fact that LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook want to earn money themselves, they want to keep content relevant, which led to restricted visibility of promotional content and the entire paid media concept. The good news is that B2Bs do have that relevant content.
Now what is it that puts a “relevant” tag onto content? If we think about why we do what we do, most of us get to the conclusion that the “why” behind our actions is to be happy (1). For us to lead a happy life we care about being healthy, so healthy food and wellbeing are important. We care about a sustainable environment for our loved ones, so the planet is important. We care about a stable society to live in, so security and equal wealth is important. Let me give you some examples of B2B companies being highly relevant in all of those areas.
Royal DSM is a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. The company’s activities and brand promise “Bright Science. Brighter Living.” are very much aligned with 3 global megatrends (2), which do nicely map onto the three categories we came up with, especially health. If prepared in an easy to consume format, wouldn’t you give your like without any second thoughts to their story?
Saint-Gobain Ecophon develops, manufactures and markets acoustic products and systems that contribute to a good working environment by enhancing people’s wellbeing and performance (3). I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t aware of the fact that acoustics done the right way can make employees perform better, patients get well quicker and pupils learn faster. Told the right way, I would willingly participate in making such content viral.
Atlas Copco are a world-leading provider of sustainable productivity solutions in the space of innovative compressors, vacuum solutions and air treatment systems, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems. Ok, let’s stop here. What on earth is sustainable productivity? To Atlas Copco it means their people do everything they can to ensure reliable, lasting results with responsible use of resources – human, natural and capital (4). Quite cool, isn’t it?
Wärtsilä is a global leader in advanced technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. Sounds quite boring, doesn’t it? But did you know that Wärtsilä has an important role in meeting the world’s increased demand for energy in a sustainable way? Climate change and scarcity of natural resources call for innovative and creative solutions, which Wärtsilä provides (5). Still boring?
If I tell you that AECOM is in the business for civil engineering you probably couldn’t care less. But let’s take a look at how they describe their mission: Delivering clean water and energy. Building iconic skyscrapers. Planning new cities. Restoring damaged environments. Connecting people and economies with roads, bridges, tunnels and transit systems. Designing parks where children play. Helping governments maintain stability and security (6). Who is the first one to react with a heart on their Facebook content?
I guess the quintessence of what I want to say is best summarised by the following: B2Bs are not boring. What they do is highly relevant, but simply unknown to the average Joe. With a well-defined content and storytelling strategy social media have the power to give visibility to those companies and make their purpose go viral. A purpose many people care about and are willing to share.
(1) Tony Hsieh, “Delivering Happiness”, 2010