Despite the proven strength of video content, B2B marketers still find showing return on investment (ROI) in social a huge feat, according to B2B Marketing’s Social Media Benchmarking Report. But recent findings from VMware show that social is a critical component of an effective video marketing strategy.
Using Google+ Hangouts, the global IT-solutions company garnered a 1,600 percent ROI, according to a recent case study by research firm MarketingSherpa.
In an effort to promote its virtual desktop infrastructure, VMware created a Google+ Hangout that featured a panel of VMware experts and customers, an official hashtag for users to ask questions, and a promoted white-paper download that users could access through a lead-generation form. It was a composite of three social media competencies: the abilities to produce quality content, promote high engagement, and include calls to action.
“It did create true opportunities for us,” said Amy Wagman, senior marketing manager at VMware. “I was seeing how [the panelists] were interacting with each other during it—they loved talking about this stuff. . . . You don’t get that feeling from a [webcast] where you’re watching a slide presentation or from a prerecorded video.”
The quality content came from a panel comprised of a moderator, two vExperts, and two VMware customers. Each of these parties brought real-life experience and expertise to the Hangout, amassing 70 social media mentions and 5,100 total views to date of full replay and video clips. Viewers had the option of using the Twitter hashtag “#VMwareHangout” or the platform on Google+ to pose questions to the panel.
Video is already the top-performing content for B2B marketers. In addition, the Content Standard recently reported increases in video spending among B2B marketers. VMware just included a more engaging video experience in their strategy by incorporating social media through Google+ Hangouts. It wasn’t like a webcast or prerecorded video—it was what Wagman called a “tool that can really engage your audience and continue that conversation in a different way.”
The biggest goals of the Hangout were to generate engagement while converting attendees into sales leads. The event produced over 400 sales leads, a 1,600 percent ROI considering the combined costs of an agency, tools, and paid promotions.
Wagman and her team at VMware already had an idea of the importance of their video marketing strategy and the role social served in the larger company goals. With a customer base of half a million, VMware’s audiences surpass 100,000 on each of its social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Many of its social media channels featured virtual events like webcasts—a practice the team found to be effective.
“We know having our customers and our experts speak for us is much more powerful than us pushing out a message,” Wagman said. “So that’s why we thought this would really be a nice platform to at least test and see what the responses would be.”
As the industry continues to seek validation that social media efforts are not in vain, VMware’s case speaks to the findings of B2B Marketing’s report, confirming that social has the potential to add more return.
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