With social media still trying to prove its worth to many large corporations, sometimes it can be interesting to take a look at how some of those businesses are approaching the medium. Regular Brandwatch contributor Felicia Baratz-Savage takes a look at how motoring giant Volvo has tackled the opportunity, with particular regard to its B2B ventures.
Volvo has a well-earned reputation as a maker of automobiles, and in many circles it is highly regarded for the quality of its engineering. However, they are much more than just a car manufacturer, and only now is the company developing a reputation befitting the breadth of its products.
As a maker of construction equipment, Volvo has long toiled in the shadow of other equipment producers. Yet in recent years it has reinvented its image in ways that has elevated its image outside of the auto world. The result has been record-breaking sales and profitability for the company.
The center of Volvo’s recent marketing campaigns has been the use of social media to publicize the business and connect with consumers.
Although the company has not publicly attributed its increases in sales to their implementation of social media strategy, there’s no question that social media has contributed in some way to the business’s growth.
Some of these approaches may be relatively new to traditional marketing departments, but as online marketing and social media strategy prove their value, expect businesses to invest heavily into this new form of brand development.
Having a hub for social content
Volvo’s social media strategy has featured a blend of the familiar and the innovative. In addition to promoting its B2B services through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the company also developed a News & Media section on the Volvo Construction Equipment website, consolidating a variety of mediums and promotion tools into one location.
The offerings provided through this home page aim to attract prospective customers in a variety of ways. Press releases, trade show information, a Voices section, image galleries and a Press Contacts section allow visitors to get the latest news on Volvo’s equipment and view introductory videos and images familiarizing viewers with Volvo’s B2B products.
The Trade Shows & Events page, much like the company’s Facebook profile, is designed to be highly interactive to get users involved with the company and encourage connectivity between Volvo and its consumer base.
Making it B2B
Ultimately, the goal of Volvo’s marketing strategy is to get its name out there among a new base of consumers. By switching its marketing focus from individual consumers, as is the case when marketing automobiles, Volvo is now targeting businesses as its primary consumer base.
Although the company has developed a strong reputation as a maker of automobiles, taking on a business-to-business marketing approach means connecting with a new consumer base and competing with better-established businesses for the attention of those customers.
And that consumer base is being increasingly found in a global market, thanks to Volvo’s efforts to expand into new territories. In addition to overhauling its social media efforts to connect with consumers on a digital level, the company also recently added a global social media director to oversee social media efforts as they relate to various regions of the world.
This focus has spurred on growth in key markets, including North America as well as China, where Volvo has managed to increase its market share despite a declining market.
Overall, Volvo was able to increase its first-quarter 2012 sales by 17 percent worldwide compared to 2011’s first-quarter sales. That included a staggering 111 percent increase in sales in North America. In fact, every major region saw sales increase by at least four percent.
Seeking online prestige
With more and more companies investing in developing their social media presence, online prestige is becoming more integral to the success of a business. This online prestige is built at the confluence of branding, reputation and performance, and it can separate one business from its closest competitors.
In an increasingly competitive global market in which many consumers and businesses turn to the Internet in search of needed products and services, Volvo and other businesses are wise to invest in this online prestige in hopes of preserving their future.