Business to Business brands face some major challenges when it comes to leveraging social media – many B2B companies don’t have a tangible product to sell, which makes it tough to build a successful social media marketing campaign, or develop communities around their brands with the same level of success Business to Consumer brands have had.

Although it’s been tough for B2B companies to dive into social media and see the same ROI as B2C, here are a few ways smart B2B brands are leading the way with social media – and seeing results.

Become an Industry Thought Leader

Maersk Line has embarked on a highly effective content marketing strategy to establish thought leadership and credibility in their industry. They leverage the expertise of their employees to develop actionable and valuable content for their customers on their corporate blog. To garner feedback to better communicate and serve their customers through their social channels, they also have a platform for their community to submit ideas for Maersk Line to improve their social presence.

B2B Brands

Use Humor

Kinaxis use a learn, laugh, share, connect strategy on social media. They use humor to hook and engage customers and prospects through their social presence. They’ve done the impossible, they’ve humanized a supply chain brand – and found a way to create compelling content that resonates and entices their community –  even in a “boring” industry.

Their video series, Suitemates, starring Kevin Pollak and Ray Wise, has had thousands of views on each episode. Additionally, their Late, Late Night Supply Chain Show takes a humorous, David Lettermanesque approach to providing relevant company and industry information and creating a community around their brand.

Give Your Community an Online Platform

Since 2007, AMEX OPEN  has used the OPEN Forum as a platform to provide business advice and insights to small business owners. The site also includes a blog with consistently updated content and shareable videos. In the site’s “Idea Hub,” forum members are able to network with industry experts and customize topics to their specific interests. Open Forum has given AMEX OPEN the opportunity to listen to their customers and community, gather company and product feedback, as well as create brand awareness while developing a huge online community around their brand.

Open Forum has increased unique visitors 525% over the past year from 160,000 in December 2008 to nearly 1 million in December 2009.

B2B Brands