When you think of “social media marketing” — especially when it comes to certain platforms, like Instagram and Snapchat —
You probably think of brands and industries that are, you know, fun.
Fashion, beauty, travel, fitness, that sort of thing.
Primarily B2C products, things you'd associate with leisure and lifestyle.
But social media isn't just for fun, sexy B2C companies.
You'd be surprised at how a lot of more utilitarian companies have managed to create a vibrant, engaging social media presence.
General Electric comes to mind.
You totally wouldn't think it, but if you check out their Instagram, they've been killing it over the last few years.
A recent blog post from The Content Marketing Institute highlights exactly these kinds of brands.
There are some industries, products, and services where figuring out what to post on social media — especially when it comes to visual content — can leave you kind of stumped.
But with a little creativity, social media is a fantastic place to humanize your brand in industries that most people would find kind of dry and even a little dull.
One great example is Cisco Systems.
This multinational technology conglomerate develops, manufactures, and sells products like networking hardware and telecom equipment.
Sounds kind of boring, right?
Here's how Cisco has used Snapchat — a seemingly unlikely place for a B2B hardware company — to put a human face on their brand and attract young, fresh talent from the Millennial and Gen Z demographics.
Cisco uses Snapchat to woo new employees
Finding great talent is a perennial problem for technology companies, and hiring young technophiles is particularly important to ensure a strong talent pipeline.
Cisco highlights the everyday lives and challenges of young employees – a smart way to entice young professionals to apply to work at the IT and networking giant.
Cisco’s Talent Brand Team’s mission is to make personal connections with future talent, and they do that by showcasing Cisco employee voices and their work with technology across the @WeAreCisco social media channels.
The challenge is: how to stand out?
To connect with university students, new graduates, and Generation Z, Cisco recruited 20 super-ambassador employees (whom they found through social media listening) from several geographies and invited them into a meeting using Cisco’s Webex platform for a launch brainstorming session.
That group was soon dubbed the Kitten Rainbow Unicorns (everything that is awesome about the web), and the social media team launched a pilot Snapchat program that effectively handed over the keys to the #WeAreCisco Snapchat account to these young unicorns.
Each day, one of the employees (the program has now grown to 70+ Snapchatters around the globe) was responsible for creating a Snapchat Story about what it’s like to work inside Cisco.
(To ensure that the project didn’t run off the rails, each member had to sign the Cisco Social Media Policy, promise not to share the password, and go be themselves.)
After three weeks, the pilot was transitioned to an ongoing effort.
The Kitten Rainbow Unicorns get together to share ideas for future takeovers, and compare notes about what works well and what doesn’t.
In just over a year since our pilot program, we’ve doubled our unique views each day, and we average 60-70% completion rate (how many people watch from start to finish on each Snap).
Our research indicates that is 20-30% more than the industry standard,” says Carmen Collins, social media lead for Cisco’s Talent Brand,
In the same way the team found ambassadors for Snapchat, they’ve identified employees posting photos of life at Cisco on Instagram, and through listening on the #WeAreCisco hashtag, they request permission to amplify the photos and stories on the @WeAreCisco Instagram account.
You’ll find a similar strategy on all of their social channels.
“Through employee-generated content, we’ve got authenticity which builds trust.”
“Our Instagram account, for example, has grown organically (no paid followers) from 0-20K followers and double industry engagement rates,” Collins says.
“While it’s not like our takeovers on Snapchat, it’s the same idea, customized for each social media platform.”
You can find more great examples of B2B social media campaigns — plus some actionable advice for stepping up your own campaigns — over at The Content Marketing Institute.