How B2B Marketers are Benefiting from Facebook

social media case studiesThe story of Apollo 13 astronauts trying desperately to get back to Earth after a failed mission has a lesson for B2B marketers.

Astronauts used the moon’s gravitational pull to slingshot them so they had enough power left to get back to Earth.

B2B marketers: Facebook is your moon.

In the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, B2B marketers reported that they were far more likely to increase their use of LinkedIn and blogging than Facebook in the coming year.

But while Facebook may not be your final destination for marketing to B2B customers, it has incredible gravitational pull. Savvy marketers, like the astronauts aboard the Apollo 13 mission, can leverage that pull to take them where they want to go.

Here’s how one scrappy new B2B services company is doing just that.

The three-stage approach

Y Scouts, a small executive search firm that started in 2012 in the Phoenix area, needs to foster brand recall in a crowded field in an industry that frankly isn’t very sexy.

They’re meeting that challenge with a three-stage approach: 1) getting out of their seats, 2) leveraging with Facebook and 3) building relationships.

Organization: Y Scouts

Social Media Handles & Stats:

Highlights:

  • Daily website traffic increased 500% during the first month of the “What’s Your Why?” tour
  • Number of talent community applications up 500% during the first month of the “What’s Your Why?” tour
  • Total hours expended on the “What’s Your Why?” tour over four months: 100
  • Top three drivers of website traffic: 1) Google, 2) Facebook, 3) LinkedIn
  • Average time spent on the website from LinkedIn visitors is more than the average of Facebook and Twitter visitors combined

Less than a third of people who get up in the morning and go to work are enjoying their work and putting their heart, body and soul into it,” said Brian Mohr, co-founder and vice president of Y Scouts, citing a Gallup employee engagement survey. The survey showed that only 29% of American workers are engaged in and enthusiastic about their work.

Y Scouts believes in a purpose-based approach that matches the values and beliefs of companies and potential employees, rather than focusing on keyword commonality between résumés and job descriptions.

y scouts purpose based message

The Y Scouts purpose-based message.

“We believe that is the only way to recruit,” said Mohr. “Engagement comes from believing in what you do.”

The challenge: spread their purpose-based message and foster brand recall amidst hundreds of other local staffing companies.

Stage 1: Getting Out of Their Seats

In September 2012, four months after launching their website, Y Scouts launched the “What’s Your Why” tour, conceived by co-founder and marketing advisor Brett Farmiloe.

“My idea was to ask people, What’s your ‘Why’?—Why do you work at the job that you do? and to have them write that statement down on a piece of paper, and we’ll come in and photograph them and have some very powerful imagery around the reasons why people work,” said Farmiloe.

Over the next four months, Y Scouts visited over 40 companies in the greater Phoenix area and took photos of employees holding up their Why statements.

Farmiloe started by approaching a few local purpose-driven businesses they knew of, such as Infusionsoft. At each stop on the tour, they asked for referrals to other companies to approach. Y Scouts also collaborated with organizations such as Local First Arizona for other referrals.

peter koury infusionsoft

Peter Koury of Infusionsoft, one of the first stops on the “What’s Your Why?” tour.

In addition, they invited companies they met as potential clients to be a tour stop as a way to further their relationship.

By the end of December 2012, over 40 companies had participated in the tour. “Best of all, we have about 300 pictures of local ‘models’ (the employees at tour stops) who visually display the Y Scouts value proposition,” said Farmiloe.

The tour was the first stage that got them out of their seats and in front of their target audience; the next stage was to harness Facebook’s gravitational pull.

Stage 2: Leveraging With Facebook

After each tour stop, Farmiloe posted the photos to the Y Scouts website and social media accounts, most notably to Facebook.

Posting to Facebook was a no-brainer for Farmiloe. “Facebook is such a visual platform, and it’s the biggest photo-sharing site in the world,” he said.

The company went from zero fans to a high of 650 over the course of the four-month tour, becoming the second-highest driver of website traffic after Google. But the biggest benefit was leveraging the personal networks of people and companies who were tagged.

“When you tag someone on Facebook with a photo, the reach you get from that tag is so much greater … from people who are willing to tag and share in their personal streams,” Farmiloe said.

why statement uber

Y Scouts posts the “Why?” statement from Uber on their Facebook page.

gabe williams shares photo

Uber’s Gabe Williams shares the photo in his own Facebook stream.

“When you can connect with someone in a very personal way about what’s important to them, and you give the ability to share it with their friends and family, it really helps to spread this message,” said Mohr.

The next stage: keeping the momentum going outside of Facebook.

Stage 3: Building Relationships

“We’re not expecting to start a Facebook Page and take a bunch of photographs of employees and the next day or the next week get those people to work with us,” said Farmiloe.

In their industry, marketing is all about the long-term view and building relationships. To do that, Y Scouts focuses on LinkedIn, email marketing and speaking opportunities.

“LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool,” said Mohr. While it is behind Facebook in driving website traffic, visitors from LinkedIn spend considerably more time on the site.

Y Scouts invested in the LinkedIn Recruiter premium account and made sure their company page looks professional. Y Scouts employees join groups and keep tabs on what executives and leaders are talking about. “It’s as much about opening your ears and paying attention to what’s happening as being a contributor,” Mohr said.

Another way they develop relationships is by using email. “Going forward, we will put a lot of focus on email marketing and tools that let our talent community interact with each other, rather than putting all the emphasis on us,” Farmiloe said.

Members who submit their résumés using the Talent Portal will be able request help from other members in addition to receiving news and updates from Y Scouts.

Y Scouts also looks for speaking opportunities. Mohr recently gave a keynote address to Generation Next at the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation.

brian mohr speaking

Y Scouts shares photos of co-founder Brian Mohr at a speaking engagement.

Although the “What’s Your Why?” tour officially ended in December 2012, Y Scouts will continue to collect photos from companies they work with and use the three-stage process to take them where they want to go.

Have you used Facebook to leverage your reach to potential B2B customers? How can you use Y Scouts’ tactics to fit your business? Post your comments and questions in the space below.

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About the Author, Louise Julig

Louise is Social Media Examiner’s case study writer. A freelance writer and former engineer, she has a passion for telling compelling true stories. Follow Louise on Twitter @LouiseJulig. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.facebook.com/WillWiggle Will Wiggle

    Inspiring post. I would love to know more about how V Scouts continues to build relationships.

  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Interesting post Louise! A lot of B2B companies will certainly benefit from this case study. Do you think this 3 stage approach will also be applicable to a podcast like EntrepreneurOnFire in order to reach out to more potential listeners?

    Thanks for your answer in advance!

    ~John Lee Dumas

  • Yvette

    What a creative marketing plan and use of Facebook and social media. I’ll have to come up with something creative like that for our business! Thanks.

  • Jeanne

    Nice tutorial on using Facebook. I picked up a few pointers.

  • http://elizabethhorlemann.com Elizabeth Horlemann

    Very informative and effective marketing plan and calls for one to take immediate action.

  • Y Scouts

    Will – we love building relationships through our Talent Community. Every week we send out an email asking our community, “What can Y Scouts help you with this week?” We collate all of our requests into a single email, and connect anyone in our community who can assist another member with their request. It’s free to join, and has been great in developing relationships because we try to add value with every Y Scouts interaction.

  • Louise Julig

    John, one of the things that helped the Y Scouts strategy to work so well is that they focused on their immediate local market. That’s why Stage 1 – getting out of their seats, was so beneficial. People sometimes forget the social part of social media, so if you can reach out to real people in your local area I’m sure you could use some version of this same approach.

  • http://writtent.com/ Sergey

    Great example. People run b2b’s, so in order to make b2b more alive and interesting these people should be engaged; it is still necessary to remember that it’s all about business at the end of the day, so just the right balance between personalizing (making it fun and engaging) and spreading a word about your services sounds like a perfect plan.

  • Todd_Rivalhost

    Great article Louise!! Do you have any tips on how we can break the mold with our FB page? We have been trying new and interesting things lately but would love your tips or tricks. Check us out!

  • Taswir Haider

    Interesting post ! I would love to know more about how V Scouts continues to build relationships.

  • Michael Stetina

    Hi Louise – Thanks for the case study. I find it so much easier to implement when there is a concrete example to follow.

  • Bruce Maria

    Very interest in Y Scouts…What to do to join the group?…Gratitude, Love & Blessings!!!

  • Christiane Erwin

    Loved this article, Louise! Lots of great food for thought here!

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  • Louise Julig

    Yes, I agree. That’s what I love about writing case studies :)

  • Louise Julig

    Thank you for the kind words! I’m glad you found the article useful. It’s nice to hear from a former case study subject – I hope all is well at Crestview Doors :-)

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/mdyoder Michael D. Yoder

    Interesting post. The problem I see with it is that Y Scouts is not strictly a B2B company. While some aspects of Y Scout’s business are B2B, many aspects are also B2C. They are B2B when it comes to getting companies/employers to hire them to do executive search work. But, they are B2C when it comes to recruiting and engaging with candidates and prospective candidates. I’d like to see more examples of B2B companies that are successfully using Facebook in the manner you described.

  • http://www.danielmelbye.com/ Daniel Melbye

    If as you say you selected Facebook beacuase it is the largest photo sharing site in the world and photography was the main medium you wanted to sue how come you did not use a platform like instagram or flickr in combination with either Facebook or a skinned Tumblr website?

  • Louise Julig

    This is true that it is actually a hybrid of B2B and B2C. I would also love to find some examples of 100% B2B companies who are using Facebook and other social sites in creative ways. If I do I will certainly profile them here. Meanwhile you might be interested in a B2B content marketing case study I did recently at http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/business-blogging-case-study/

  • Oisin O’Connor

    Great Post. Makes sense that Y Scouts Facebook marketing works its a very emotional sales proposition. With clients who are successful on Facebook we see the same thing if they have an emotional product. If their service is more of a utility like dishwasher sales it doesn’t work.

  • Y Scouts

    Daniel, Y Scouts is on Instagram (@YScouts) and all of our photos are on Flickr – http://www.flickr.com/photos/yscouts.

  • Y Scouts

    Bruce, you can apply to join the Y Scouts Talent Community at http://yscouts.com.

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  • http://www.callboxinc.com/ Belinda Summers

    I too can see this as a great opportunity for marketers. Louise, love what you said. As much as possible you, personally will reach out your customers. No one can beat the power of human interaction especially if is done in a face to face set up.

  • http://www.socialbakers.com/ Michal Smetana

    @twitter-18233178:disqus: This is an excellent article with some very insightful and thoughtful ideas in it. I think that what they’ve done is brilliant. I mean that with this strategy they achieved that by the end of December 2012, over 40 companies had participated in the tour. It’s amazing.

  • http://www.buzzedup.co.uk/ Mick Dickinson

    Like it. I can apply that to an account today — thanks.

  • http://makeextraincomeathome.com/ Felipe Kurpiel

    Here are examples we can apply in our own businesses.
    I like to borrow these ideas and see how I can implement them to get better results!
    Really cool tips!! Thank you!!

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  • Jess Holmes

    Inspiring article. The Y Scouts could be well on their way to becoming one of the top executive search firms.

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  • Almari Thomas

    soooo inspiring!

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  • http://www.consultancymarketing.co.uk/ Ian Smith

    Article does not deliver on the title. I agree with a number of other people – Y Scouts bears almost zero in common with most B2Bs.
    Disappointing.

  • Louise Julig

    Sorry you were disappointed with the article, @DrIanSmith:disqus. I agree that Y Scouts is not 100 percent B2B, since their “product” so to speak, is people, but I thought the way they approached other businesses in their community was innovative and their story might help other businesses. You might like to look at another B2B case study from last summer, 4 Blogging Tips to Double Your Site Traffic. Great B2B case studies are harder to come by than B2C, but we are always looking, so please keep your eye on the case studies in the future.

  • http://www.consultancymarketing.co.uk/ Ian Smith

    Thanks Louise. THE big challenge is using Facebook for B2B.

    Maybe one has to concede it will never work very well, and that one’s time might be better spent on other social media – in particular Twitter and LinkedIn.

  • rcaiazzo

    Hi Louise! Quick Q for you ~ Is it still true that if your biz page tags another biz page, the only way for that post to appear in both newsfeeds is if the other company comments on the post you tagged them in? I’ve been trying to find this specifically on the web all morning to confirm & haven’t been able to, but I’m pretty sure it’s true! I’d love to get your thoughts on this – thanks!







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