The answer may surprise you.
Facebook, by its nature, is a more compelling consumer communications channel than it is for business-to-business.
Let's not forget that behind every business are consumers. With 900 million active users, you can bet that your target customer is on Facebook.
Data indicates that B2B marketers are still using Facebook at a lower rate than B2C marketers. No matter what type of business you run, think about Facebook as a complement to, and extension of, your existing communications channels. After all, the more channels you use to reach your audience, the better!
Likes Still Matter, but They Are the Beginning, Not the End
Many marketers have been obsessed with Likes to the exclusion of other important considerations. Looking at the number of Likes on your Facebook Page without analyzing other engagement and conversion metrics is not going to win you more business.
However, it is necessary to have an audience you can communicate with about your company and products. That starts with fans who have liked your Page.
So with that in mind, here are five steps for B2B Facebook success.
- Build your fan base—use proven methods such as fan-gating content, whereby you require visitors to like your Page before they can access content on a tab on your Page. Or consider running a contest or promotion to grow your audience.
- Share engaging content—think about content that is relevant to your business customer, such as an ebook. But also remember to share photos and videos, which drive much greater engagement on your Page and in the newsfeed.
- Capture leads—use every possible opportunity to capture contact information, whether it be opting in to an email list or completing a form to download a white paper.
- Make it personal and fun—even if you are a business selling what may not be an “exciting” product, your customers will connect more with your brand if they can relate to you. You need to remain consistent with your brand image but there is always room to have a little fun and engage in a more personal conversation, as opposed to just pushing your product.
- Amplify through ads—it starts with your fans, but one of the most powerful features of Facebook is the ability to reach friends of fans. Facebook ads offer a variety of ways you can segment and target to ensure you are reaching the right customer profile. Facebook has introduced a number of new ad formats in recent months, but this post is still a useful primer for those new to Facebook advertising.
Here are three examples of B2B companies that are using these five steps effectively.
#1: HubSpot—All-in-One Marketing Solution
They have grown their fan base to more than 350,000 on Facebook and they intelligently link to their Facebook Page from their blog, which is a prominent destination for marketers (i.e., their potential customers).
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HubSpot has a wealth of content on its website to offer to fans on Facebook as well. Posts on the timeline encourage fans to download ebooks and marketing guides, which takes users directly to a lead-capture form.
Once they have captured an email address, they're able to use their marketing automation software to nurture the lead.
In addition to communicating with fans, HubSpot amplifies the distribution of their posts by utilizing Facebook advertising to reach an even wider audience.
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#2: Cvent—Online Solutions for Events and Surveys
Cvent is a meeting and event management company with approximately 12,000 fans on their Facebook Page. The company recently embarked on a more aggressive strategy to grow and engage their audience on Facebook.
One tactic they utilized was launching a contest inviting people to share their stories about how they built a crowd for an event. Cvent is promoting the contest on their Facebook Page and have fan-gated the promotional tab.
They are also cross-promoting on their website and Twitter to reach an even wider audience and potentially convert those people into fans on Facebook as well.
Another tab on the Cvent Page entices users to provide their contact information on a lead form in order to watch a product demo video and receive a $50 gift card. Cvent also shares photos of their team members to provide a more personal experience for customers who engage with their Page.
#3: Intel—Technology That's Changing the World
Intel is the quintessential example of a B2B company that has successfully adopted B2C tactics in its traditional marketing. With the original “Intel Inside” campaign, launched more than 20 years ago, the microchip manufacturer became a household name to consumers who would never buy a product directly from Intel.
The philosophy of connecting with end users has carried over to Intel's Facebook Page as well, where much of the content is geared toward consumers rather than toward the hardware manufacturers that purchase Intel's chips.
The company provides fans with access to interactive games and a quick scan of its timeline reveals many fun and cheeky posts, all with photos (of course) to optimize engagement.
“We get too hung up sometimes on the definition of B2B or B2C. The reality is that on Facebook we are people connecting with people. Facebook is an opportunity for us to connect on a personal level and through that to humanize our brand.
We try to do our best to serve the most appealing content and to engage our customers in various ways. We offer entertaining programs, utilize custom images quite often as our fans love visuals, we share videos, do fun trivia, geek out by posting messages in binary code, ask open-ended questions, say thank you and happy holidays and address any questions or concerns that our fans might have.
We are in this to build long-term relationships and love engaging and growing our passionate community of fans through transparent and fun dialog.”
These are but three examples of many B2B companies that are embracing Facebook marketing, each at a different scale. I believe that any business can achieve its own level of success if they apply the concepts outlined in this article.
What do you think? What examples of B2B success on Facebook have you seen? Please leave your questions and comments in the box below.
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