Technology

Can business-to-business brands succeed on social media?

Fi Bendall /

Many commentators say not every brand should be on social media, and many don’t believe it’s a place for business-to-business (B2B) companies. Well, think again. This mattress company proves the naysayers wrong.

Yes, Leggett & Platt makes springs for mattresses. And no, you would not imagine a company who makes springs for mattresses to be a likely contender on social media. But here we have a success story.

The company’s website is sparingly (some would say boringly) spring-manufacturer orientated – probably exciting if you are really into springs! In addition, they have been under pressure with competitors, like Tempur-Pedic actively lobbying against spring mattresses, as the old-fashioned, uncomfortable option.

Leggett & Platt not only used social media effectively, they did what all companies should do: they applied innovative thinking, were happy to step outside the norm and even get a little sexy! With a rap music YouTube video, the company introduced the term now widely used in the industry “Hybrid mattresses”, and its web presence started to look like this:

Keeping the momentum going, they built a www.sleep-geek.com website, a community for mattress sales people, with learning areas that are fun.

Leggett & Platt’s vice-president of marketing Mark Kinsley has been out sharing their success during February. You can follow his full presentation here. Humour, fun, education and some sex research has really worked for them.

There are, of course, the B2B big boys doing social media well, such as IBM, GE and Microsoft, and Maersk. There are surprising companies doing a good job in a discreet way, like Monroe Shock Absorbers Australia, its Facebook site is alive with content.

Things you should consider for social media B2B success

  1. Followers are not everything. Your biggest advocates have less volume and higher-quality connections;
  2. Visual content beats long form;
  3. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your brand norm, social media attracts humour, humility and passion;
  4. Want to get your content moving? Most re-tweets happen at night time. And be happy to share share share!
  5. Timing: Tuesday and Wednesday are great eDM days, Friday is happy Facebook day;
  6. The big networks drive the most traffic, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter;
  7. All the big networks have a strong business social media play and you should check out their offerings on their business blogs
    1. Facebook
    2. Instagram
    3. LinkedIn (business)
    4. LinkedIn (marketing)
    5. Twitter
  8. Be timely with your responses, as you would by phone or email;
  9. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you can build up an audience and learn from their engagement with you; and
  10. Participation breeds trust. Watching from the sidelines doesn’t. So get involved!

Fi Bendall is the managing director of Bendalls Group, a team of highly trained digital specialists, i-media subject matter experts and developers.

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Fi Bendall

Fi Bendall is chief executive of The Bendalls Group and a Westpac/AFR 2015 100 Women of Influence, who was described by CEO Magazine as 'The CEO's Secret Weapon'. An expert and pioneer in digital strategy, she has over 23 years’ experience in the digital and tech sectors.

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