I’ve been asked quite a few times over the past couple of weeks for examples of social media marketing being used in a B2B context.

This is actually more prevalent than a lot of marketers appear to realise – and is certainly something that’s not new to the marketplace. 

Here’s some great examples of B2B organisations using social media with commercial purpose. Some are old, some new, some you might be familiar with, others perhaps not. 

1. American Express

OPEN Forum and Facebook campaigns

AmEx does a lot to support business customers, from the long-standing OPEN Forum, through to running related campaigns across its Facebook Page.

One of note was the recent “Big Break” campaign which was a contest for SME’s, the five winners of which received an all-expense paid trip to Facebook HQ, for a one-on-one business makeover and $20,000 to aid their existing social media strategy.

2. Archer Technology 

Online communities and marketplaces  

Echoing American Express, Archer has a whole online community dedicated to enterprise governance, risk, and compliance software.

It’s often held up as a 101 case study in B2B social communities - especially the Idea Exchange - having more than 7,000 users actively communicating and collaborating. As an extension of this, Archer also has a marketplace where users can download applications that have been developed by other users. 

3. Avanade 

Twitter and YouTube combo

Taking a lesson from Old Spice, business technology company Avanade, used YouTube to answer questions submitted by Twitter users. Straightforward, but effective, proving that these channels are not only for B2C companies. 

4. BT 


Tradespace claims to be the first UK business social networking site and this may well be true. Set up at the beginning of 2007, it now has more than 350,000 members. Arguably, it has B2C connotations, but it’s roots lie firmly in the B2B camp

5. Business Week 

Business Exchange

The weekly US-based business magazine created a specific network site, Business Exchange, to engage with readers  and increase online communication. As a result, it is proving to be extremely successful, having more than 40,000 users contributing over 1 million article links. 

6. Cisco

Trailblazing the way 

Cisco has long been engaged in social media activity, often running campaigns alongide its ongoing engagement strategy. To demonstrate the extent to which this has impacted the company, it recently launched a new router using only social channels and saved an estimated $100,000 in doing so.

In line with this, the "Future of Shopping" / borderless networks video has had more than 6m views. 

7. Cree 

Social site campaign and participation 

Cree manufactures LED chips, with a large chunk of revenues coming from the B2B space. Given the difficult environment in which their products sit, it cleverly created a unique social site for an ongoing campaign - the Cree LED Revolution.

Users are encouraged to submit their photos of poor lighting and each month, five entrants are selected to receive Cree products. The site was supported by video activity, something Cree seems to do very well, even away from this campaign. My personal favourite is the chocolate bunny

8. Dell 

DellBusiness - Facebook and Youtube 

Dell is an often-cited example of a company who has embraced social media and is reaping the rewards: something that's true across both it’s B2C and B2B divisions. Check out the DellBusiness YouTube channel and Facebook Page as evidence for this... 

9. Doctors.net

Professional network
Doctors.net is a great example of a business network, having around 90% of all UK medical professionals as members and working with pharmaceutical companies, private healthcare companies, public health institutions and charities. 

10. Econsultancy 

Red Friday and select channels 

Unashamedly, Econsultancy deserves to make this list. We’ve dipped our toes in all kinds of things, from photo tagging to social commerce, anyone remember Red Friday?

This was a member-get-member discount offer, with cash prizes to be won. However, we added a gamification / social twist,as we showed a live leaderboard of who had sold what. 

We also try to make sure that social media engagement, collaboration and innovation is top priority, across multiple channels - Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora, YouTube and more - across the company as a whole. 

11. Hinda Incentives 

Blogging and Twitter

Hinda returned to an old favourite within social media, blogging, supported by the somewhat newer platform, Twitter. This was based around the main objective to drive more traffic to their site.

Since beginning this strategy, the company reports that it has won awards, industry recognition and authority, improved search visibility, leads, sales and boosted site traffic considerably. 

12. HP 

Business Answers

Again, echoing a couple of other examples in this list, HP wanted to engage with smaller businesses - and carefully selected to take the approach of creating a custom-built site and blog, supported by external activity across Twitter and LinkedIn, where users could ask direct questions to the company. 

13. HSBC 

Business forum

The “world’s local bank” decided to create a specialist network where business could share information, whether they were HSBC customers, or not. However, this unfortunately now seems to have closed down, redirecting to their main business support area. 

14. Hubspot

Everywhere, all times

Hubspot’s marketing of its software is taken to another level, given its activity across various social channels, alongside having a killer content strategy. 

15. IdeaPaint 

Facebook and Flickr

IdeaPaint sell paint to commercial businesses. It’s a great product, but paint isn’t exactly exciting. However, the company put together a carefully structured strategy, which appears to revolve mainly around Facebook and Flickr - resulting in social media now being the company’s largest source for leads.

16. Indium 


As with IdeaPaint, Indium have a product that’s a hard sell. In answer to this, they turned to blogging - taking an almost mathematical approach to the channel and ultimately turning it into a core part of the overall marketing strategy.

This has helped position the company as a thought-leader, drives sales and deliver extra support to customers. 

17. Kinaxis 

Online entertainment and community

Kinaxis is in the business of supply-chain management and they’ve cleverly built a whole online community around this, with a a major social content strategy at the heart of this.

The company launched a blog a few years ago and are now reaping the rewards. They've expanded this to a home-grown community, which revolves around constant interaction and its own efforts in creating a series of entertaining videos.

The result? Significant increases in site traffic and conversions. 

18. Microsoft 

Community FTW! 

The software and technology giant has a long-standing history of supporting its advertising customers through its community portal, which contains research, insights, educational support and news, with engagement through various social channels at the heart of this. 

19. PayPal 

Business YouTube

PayPal has a great channel on YouTube, which it uses to support its business customers and to act as an extension to its online business centre

20. RICS 

Online community 

A fair number of these B2B social media case studies are centered around online communities and the example from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is no different. Supported by various social channels and even custom forums, this is a great example of a niche B2B environment engaging heavily in social media.

21. RS components

DesignSpark social hub 

The electronic product distribution company created a specific social hub, spanning four different languages, having the purpose of being a collaboration and engagement hub for Electronic Design Engineering.

One of the centrepieces of the site is the free tool store, which includes a free design tool that’s been downloaded more than 60,000 times and the site itself gathered more than 45,000 members within its first 12-month period. 

22. Shipserv 

Social CRM and a focus on content

It’s difficult to imagine the maritime industry getting to grips with social media, but Shipserv, one of the leading industry marketplaces, proves that in can be done very successfully.

As part of a wider marketing strategy and customer engagement strategy, various social approaches were taken, resulting in greater site traffic, alongside increased brand awareness and lead opportunities.

From an initial $30,000 social media marketing investment, it’s estimated the overall results achieved would have cost more than $150,000 through traditional media.

23. Steelmaster Buildings 

Custom Facebook page

Steelmaster has really engaged with Facebook, creating a custom page, where users can get free quotes, access resources and directly subscribe to the newsletter. 

24. UPS 

Social supports wider marketing communications 

The global delivery firm is heavily engaging in social media activity as part of it’s “We ♥ Logisitcs” campaign.

The specially-built custom site is supported by Twitter and Facebook, in an effort to get users to openly discuss the business-changing possibilities of logistics and related solutions. 

25. Virgin Media

Pioneers social site 

Virgin Media set up it’s Pioneers campaign to connect business professionals and young entrepreneurs, in an effort to share skills and ideas.

Supported by other social channels, especially YouTube, the site is a creative example of a specialist business network.

Jake Hird

Published 21 October, 2011 by Jake Hird

Jake Hird is Econsultancy Australia's Director of Research and Education. Follow him on Twitter and Google+, connect with him on LinkedIn or see what he's keeping an eye on via diigo

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Comments (9)

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Doug Kessler

Doug Kessler, Director at VelocitySmall Business Multi-user

Fantastic post.
Great examples that ought to silence B2B SM sceptics.

almost 7 years ago


Peter Johnston

This seems to work on the herd principle. If these companies are doing it, then it must be right.

But we saw the mistakes of this only recently, when most big tech CEOs invested heavily in Marketing Automation, only to have egg on their face when it turned out that success rate was even lower than with the old methods.

What is missing in this piece is any link to strategy, to engagement process or to effectiveness. It seems to say "They have a Facebook Page" therefore it is working for them. The 100,000 Marketers can't be wrong comment reminds me of the "eat faeces - 1 billion flies can't be wrong" on student T-shirts.

Don't think this is a rant from a Luddite. I know a presence on Social Networks is mission critical for businesses. I've proved it. I also know exactly why. But doing things without an understanding of what you're trying to achieve just because Virgin is doing is is a recipe for expensive failure.

almost 7 years ago


Daniel Murphy, Director at Abacus e-Media

Point well made Peter. I'm also a bit shocked that you have overlooked TES (www.tes.co.uk) which has over a million active teachers using the forums and sharing lesson plans and teaching methods. In my experience, genuinely active b2b communities tend to form around public sector or professional vocations who are happy to share and interact, less so with businesses in competitive markets.

almost 7 years ago


Sarah Alder

You're right to say Peter that we shouldn't just do it because others do. But reading how others have used social media - or any other marketing channel - can be informative and sometimes inspirational. It can also be a good way of explaining to colleagues what we are suggesting. Not everyone can visualise a marketing campaign from a powerpoint presentation or a strategy document. I think Jake has given us some good examples to think about, and left us to define our objectives for our own campaigns.

almost 7 years ago


Jeff Taxdahl

This is so great! The issue of B2B social media marketing seems to come up all the time, and there is such a divide among people regarding how to use it or whether it's even worth it. Having some concrete proof that it works is just great. Thanks!

almost 7 years ago


Physics toys

WOW..Fascinating post man. I love TVC of CREE. LOL

almost 7 years ago


Kate, Rose McGrory Social Media Training

Some nice examples here that i've not come across before, such as Shipserv - i love it when we see companies like that who aren't social media "no brainers", not only get involved but can also show great ROI.
I do agree with Peter though that "do it because Virgin are doing it" is a recipe for hype-ridden disaster - everyone working in the online marketing field needs to get a bit more rigorous and explicit about the underlying strategy and logic at least, even if cashable ROI is difficult to show at an early stage.

over 6 years ago


Ian Ralph, Director at the Unlimited Group

Thanks. This is a great article with some really interesting and creative examples of b2b social media campaigns.

I picked out my personal favourites (PayPal, AMEX and the TES example mentioned by Daniel above) and referenced them in my recent blog post on thebreakoutroom.co.uk.

I agree that social media can be very powerful for b2b, if used in the right context for the right brand and delivered in the right way for its intended audience.

over 6 years ago


Harry Turner

There are some really great examples here. Too many people believe that social media marketing can only work in B2C. I particularly like the PayPal example.

over 5 years ago

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