While social media is becoming a great channel for both B2C and B2B companies, in most case we associate great social media campaigns with "interesting" companies and "cool" industries.
Fast food, apparel, entertainment, and even software companies are using social media in creative and interesting ways. But what about companies that operate in seemingly boring industries? Can social media be an effective marketing channel for those companies?
Some "boring" companies have proven that even the boring can become fascinating when smart people are at the helm. Here are five examples of how "boring" companies take full advantage of social media with great social strategy.
Is there anything more boring than taxes?
Tax giant H&R Block has a strong social presence on multiple social networks, but the most impressive one is their work on Facebook. With almost 380,000 fans, the company sees an average of over 500 engagements per post with a 28.3 percent of fans engaged.
Comparing H&R Block Facebook activity to that of their two biggest competitors – TurboTax (Intuit) and TaxACT – H&R Block leads on every single category (with the exception of fans).
Diving deeper into the data we find that H&R Block connects daily events that on the surface should have nothing to do with taxes, with their brand experience and message. And the result is impressive.
For example, for Valentine's Day, the company created an IRS (Internal Romance Services) form to guide people through the process of buying a Valentine's Day present.
The post generated more than 3,000 likes and almost 5,000 total engagements.
Maersk Line's social strategy has been covered and congratulated pretty frequently in the last year or so, but it's still worth mentioning. After all, this is a container shipping company that embraced social media in ways that even sophisticated social companies should envy.
It starts with a website dedicated to social media, continues with their presence across 10 (!) different social networks, and is rounded out with their impressive engagement numbers.
More than anything, their consistency is impressive. In the last two weeks, they have published branded posts on every one of their active social networks at least once a day. In addition, they have completely adopted the visual content approach and are seeing great engagement because of their stunning photography.
You could argue that GE isn't a boring company, but I include it here because of its product diversity. Trying to create a consistent and intelligent social presence for such a diverse company is no small feat.
Just look at their Products page. The same company manufactures drilling motors and dishwashers. Even with such a wide diversity of products, the company has an impressive and cohesive social presence across more than eight social networks.
GE creates an experience and connect emotionally to their unique audience on each of the different networks. They highlight the "cool" factor in their products and the stories that they are featured in.
Their Tumblr page on Badass Machines is one of the coolest I've seen. I never imagined I could stare at machine parts for so long.
As a commercial real estate services and investment company, CBRE is a B2B company that could have decided to completely ignore social media. They have been successful before social media and could have continued their market dominance without it.
CBRE decided to adopt social media as a way to stay ahead of the competition. Of all the social networks that would make sense for a B2B company, they've seen great success on Instagram.
What makes them unique? In the words of their CMO, Paul Suchman:
Instagram presents an opportunity for CBRE to demonstrate the elasticity of our brand. Real estate plays such a huge part in all of our lives, both professionally and personally. Instagram enables us to transcend the traditional B2B conversation and become meaningful in the consumer space.
My last example is of a smaller company, and possibly the most "boring" of them all – a paper company. Neenah Paper has more than 23,000 followers on Twitter, but they tweet frequently and they have realized the power of images on social media.
What makes Neenah Paper unique is the fact that their retweet to original tweet ratio is one of the highest I've seen. In the last 10 days they have tweeted a total of 57 times, from which they have retweeted 52 times. That's a 91 percent of their total sent tweets.
In addition, almost half of their Tweets are photos with the vast majority of those are photos of their product being used by customers.
Share Your Examples!
Do you have other examples of boring companies with a fascinating social strategy? Share them here. If you'd like to get more details on their results, let me know in the comments.
Optimising Digital Marketing Campaigns with Search, Social and Analytics
At SES London (9-11 Feb) you'll get an overview of the latest tools, tips, and tactics in Paid, Owned, Earned, Integrated Media and Business Intelligence to streamline your marketing campaigns in 2015. Register by 5 December to take advantage of Early Bird Rates.