A new brand identity that underscores our approach to B2B marketing — always customized, never templated
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2014 was a coming out party for B2B Chicago tech companies. According to the Built in Chicago Annual Report 2014, 32 startups were acquired and two had IPOs. Most striking: 2014 had more startup exits than any previous year.
There’s no sign of the tech scene slowing down. B2B companies in Chicago are quickly learning that if they want to compete, they need to get the word out on their brand quickly.
Here are our nominees of companies who are excelling on social:
Sprout Insights is a must-read for social media marketers. It posts great high-level content on an almost daily basis.
But it doesn’t stop there.
All blog posts are tweeted out to the startup’s 55,000 followers with a great mix of other resources, including third-party articles. Since its software is so widely used, the company has a Twitter handle dedicated to customer support.
Sprout is also extremely effective on Facebook and LinkedIn, with content that is catered to the audience of each channel. For instance, almost all of its posts on LinkedIn are resources for how brands can better use that channel to accomplish its marketing objectives while Facebook has content unique to that audience.
Finally, Sprout Social does an exceptional job of connecting online and offline marketing efforts together. It co-hosted Community Manager Appreciation Day with Social Media Club Chicago on January 26, which included a whiskey tasting, ice cream sundae bar, free massages and more.
That event translated into a significant bump in conversations towards the end of January.
Marketing automation doesn’t have to be a boring topic. Luckily, Ifbyphone is a company isn’t afraid to have fun on social.
Whether it’s a creative meme, a “Geek of the Week” post that teases its own employees or content that ties in pop culture, Ifbyphone strikes the perfect balance between entertainment and information. Much of its creativity stems from engaging blog posts, which are lighter in tone.
Its YouTube channel follows the same model, with 28 videos ranging from client success stories to a Harlem Shake video. Ifbyphone has a great understanding of brand advocacy as well, asking for customer reviews on Facebook and G2 Crowd (full disclosure: I’m a former employee) to collect customer reviews.
While generating a lot of buzz is nice, it means nothing without real results. In September 2014, Ifbyphone raised $30 million, allowing it to buy a call analytics company, and is expecting 50-100 percent employee growth year-over-year for the next three years.
With those kinds of results, it’s a surprise more marketing automation companies aren’t doing the Harlem Shake.
Intermodal shipping, transportation management and less-than-truckload freight aren’t always exciting to talk about on social media.
However, Coyote Logistics stands out as not only one of the top B2B Chicago tech companies on social, but as a leader among other 3PLs. Its philosophy of social innovation, “Coyote Cares” campaign and corporate social responsibility are staples of its social media strategy.
Coyote faced a two-prong challenge: In addition to gaining clients, it also needs to recruit several account managers year-round to keep up with growing business.
As a result, Coyote made a strategic decision to sponsor the Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field, featuring the country’s top college hockey teams. Its sponsorship helps raise brand awareness among potential new hires and helps Coyote stand out among the competition.
On its social channels, almost all of its posts are videos and pictures about its hockey sponsorship or other initiatives that promote the brand, but have nothing to do with logistics. While this strategy won’t work for all B2B companies, this strategy allows Coyote to accomplish its business objectives without coming off as boring or dry.
In eight years, the company grew to $1.04 billion in revenue and expects to hire 500 additional employees.
As you can see from these examples, B2B does not have to mean boring-to-boring. Social media is playing an increasingly strategic role in the Chicago tech industry.
Here are a few tips brands can take away from these examples:
Social media can no longer be an after-thought for Chicago B2B tech companies. As B2B audiences start to have more in common with B2C audiences, businesses need a strong social presence to connect with potential customers.
Rather than leaving social channels to the intern, brands should have someone familiar with their messaging run social in order to ensure followers are engaging with their content.
Which Chicago tech company do you think is the best on social media? Share your thoughts below or tweet @WalkerSands.