Lee Odden

Facebook Pages for B2B Social Media Marketing

b2b facebookYesterday in Auckland, NZ I gave an all day workshop to 150 marketing and communications professionals on Social Media Content Marketing & Strategy at Social Media Junction.  I’m used to giving workshops to 20-30 people so it was an interesting and enjoyable experience with such a large group. (Thanks to Bullet PR staff who are amazing).

One of the questions that came up was whether B2B companies are successfully using Facebook Fan pages.  I shared a few of our client Fan pages like Marketo & McKesson Medical Imaging (forgetting to mention our own completely) but wanted to share a few more examples here.

While it’s true that the most popular Facebook Fan Pages are for consumer products and brands like Coca Cola (18.2m Fans), Starbucks (17.5m Fans) and Oreo (14.1m Fans), there are many B2B companies successfully using Facebook to engage with prospects, customers and employees. Here are a few good examples:

B2B Software: Symantec

B2B Facebook Fan Page Symantec

Symantec has a modest number of fans but does make effective use of a landing page that incorporates video, poll, cross posts from Twitter and news all in the welcome tab. The Wall has a fair amount of engagement as well.  I think what they’re doing with Facebook is what many B2B companies could reasonably do. Especially if they’re active in other social media channels. They Symantec Facebook page makes a good case for the investment in a custom FBML landing page.

B2B Technology: Cisco

B2B Facebook Fan Page Cisco

Cisco doesn’t use a landing page for people that aren’t fans yet, but is certainly leveraging Facebook as a promotional vehicle to engage with customers as you can see from the SuperFan Spotlight promotion.  Engagement on the wall is pretty good and they’ve certainly attracted a bit of attention with 116,429 Fans.  Cisco is smartly cross linking to their other social channels including their social media hub, blogs, Twitter and newsroom. Watch Cisco’s overall social media efforts and you’ll find some great ideas for your own B2B online marketing efforts.

B2B Marketing Agency: TopRank’s Online Marketing

b2b facebook fan page

My personal bias aside, for an online marketing agency, I’d have to say that TopRank’s Facebook page (which is technically a page for the blog) is a pretty good example of a B2B Fan page for an agency.  One year ago, we had 54 Fans and today we’re at 5,335. That’s almost 1000% growth without any contests, advertising, apps or promotions outside of adding the FB social plugin to the sidebar of this blog. We’ll be doing a lot more in 2011 with promotions and the FB page though.

The Facebook Fan page serves as a spoke in our Hub and Spoke Social Media & SEO publishing model. Content is shared manually from the web at large and from our blog to Fans on Facebook. The purpose of the page is to provide a place on Facebook where our audience spends time consuming business information.

While B2B isn’t what Facebook is known for, judging by the rate of interest, there’s certainly an appetite for using Facebook as a source of business related news, information and interaction. Our connections with people on Facebook are an extension of our connections on the blog. Together and in conjunction with other online and offline content marketing, they serve to generate awareness, interest, credibility and thought leadership for the TopRank Online Marketing brand. We could be doing A LOT MORE and we will.

Obviously, there are many, many other great B2B Facebook Fan pages out there. Which are your favorites?  Please submit links and why in the comments. We’d love to curate a list of  the best B2B Fan Pages for you.

For more ideas on how your B2B company can use Facebook, check out this post from Social Media B2B.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.

Comments

  1. This is definitely going to be huge for large corporations and small businesses because it allows them to build an online community around their brand and interact with their customers. Just wait until Facebook shopping hits mainstream.

    • If customers are on Facebook, then companies trying to reach them should probably be there too. Doesn’t matter if its B2B or B2C. Social Commerce is something that will grow – it’s just uncertain what form will actually take hold.

  2. talking of bias, I’m strongly biased against facebook. I was reluctant to join myspace until when I finally decided to join it was already declining. I’m still unsold on the virtues of marketing on facebook. take the like button. people will push like by convenience, never to visit the site in question. how do you measure the activity of your fans? and beyond that, how does it translate into conversions?

    • If all you see is Facebook as a way to generate direct conversions, then maybe it’s not the channel for you. That’s like saying you should never go to a chamber of commerce or networking meeting because you’re not sure of direct conversions. If connecting with customers in ways other than “buy this product” or solving customer service problems is of interest, than social networking can play a part in an online marketing program. It’s by no means a silver bullet, but can be a very effective player that works together with other methods of marketing.

  3. I am having a hard time understanding why a company would want a FB page. Social Media is not a numbers game – it is an interactive activity between the brand and everyone else. FB fan pages is just about numbers and not interactions for the most part. The only successful interactive FB pages are those that are B2C and incorporated into an advertising campaign.

    How many times does the typical facebook user go to the fan pages and read information there? What purpose is the FB fanpage serving the company and the brand?

    • There are many businesses that have first hand experience with Facebook as much more than a numbers game and are indeed interacting with customers. Posts from brand fan pages show up in subscribers feeds. Some of that exposure results in a visit to the fan page and re-sharing. Some of it doesn’t and doesn’t need to because the information in consumed within the wall. The FB fanpage is serving as both an information sharing mechanism and one of engagement that helps keep the brand top of mind for people that are interested.

      • I would love to see examples of B2B FB fan pages with very interactive walls that are not connected to an advertising campaign. And if you took an informal poll – i wonder how many people “hide” fan pages.
        Facebook fan pages is a landing page – one that you can push information into but not back out of. It is a closed unstable environment – especially with FB’s policy of changing its layout and UI.

        • There will be those content to operate in environments that they can completely or mostly control (where is that anymore besides direct mail?) and those that want to open up and engage with customers in ways outside of transactions and customer service. For those situations, platforms like Facebook can serve as an opportunity to be useful, be influential and top of mind for buyers.

  4. Its a good idea for Brand Building, especially for smaller companies its a way for the company to grow and get recognition. Facebook is used by millions of people so it only makes sense for companies to create pages for people to follow.

  5. i just do believe in the power of having a fan page on fb , i think social media is helping those brands and companies to spread and sell their products. like everyone admits how efficacious are fan pages for stars , i follow many stars fan pages and read about news or coming single (if it is a singer) so this helps them and make their fans up to date with their news and this is the aim !!! ! thank you for sharing this any way 🙂

  6. I have to agree with you, “Facebook as a source of business related news, information and interaction.” What better way to keep your customers up-to-date on what’s new, even when your customers are another business.

  7. Glen Garets says:

    I think its a pretty good idea that companies want to make FB pages. Helps them get out there for pretty cheap. All they need is one person to like them then all of that persons friends see them which makes them want to join. Great way to get their message and products out there without too much work.

  8. Iamqueensblvd24 says:

    Terrific Post! I am really into social media right now (like everyone else out there!), especially Facebook Marketing and FBML. It can be hard to keep up to date with such a fast changing innovative topic but I manage to do it through the fan page factory (http://facebook.com/thefanpagefactory) and blog posts exactly like yours. Tips and tricks rock. I am trying to learn as much as possible to put myself ahead of the curve. So thank you again!

    Enjoy!

    Aaron

  9. Mikko Rummukainen says:

    Thanks for the examples!

    Having a truly active B2B-company Page on Facebook is a bit of a challenge, and so it is extremely helpful to get to see some of the success stories.

  10. FaceBook has exploded over the last six months and is giving Google a run for their money in the online marketing arena. Having unfortunately all but ignored FB until now, I’m a little behind the 8-ball and am soaking up articles like yours wherever I can find them. Thank You very much for this! I have a lot of work to do, it seems LOL

    Cheers,
    Jenny

  11. Wow very well said. I am working with an internet safety site now and to read this post is really helpful how social media facebook affect marketing. Could I bookmark this page? I guess I have to spread these words to my colleagues. Thanks

  12. Charlesdonaldschmidt says:

    please take a look at
    http://www.facebook.com/kronesag
    These guys do a really good job on facebook!!

  13. Hi Lee,
    I think social media used in the right way can truly benefit your business. Take Dell as an example with Twitter, something like $3.5m dollars in 2 years from twitter alone.
    Facebook fan pages seem to be coming more and more popular. As they should, FB is moving into a new era, people are driving FB to new heights, their demand for social media is growing daily. If a company uses FB correctly it will take their business to a different level.
    As a Blogger, I use FB and Twitter for building relationships. Not spamming or selling as I see too many people trying to do. Gets you know where fast.
    Pete

  14. There’s some great info here. Thanks! 🙂

    1000% is a really impressive increase in fans. Did you promote your page anywhere other than your blog? Do you have any tips or hints on ways to build your fan base you can pass on?

    • No – just on the blog and occasionally a link on Twitter. That’s it. The value comes from the content being shared. Others “like” it and it propagates, grows. That’s not to say there isn’t room for promotion of course. 🙂

  15. Great Article! Amazing increase from just self promotion. Glad to see the ideas and will try to implement. Thanks. TheARspecialists.com

  16. Courtney Hunt says:

    Let’s not forget that Facebook, like other social networking sites, can be a great place to LISTEN, not just TALK. Even if they have simple, low-activity pages, BtoB companies can benefit from connecting their pages to related entities, as well as having key individuals “like” the pages of these related entities and engage there.

    Every BtoB entity ultimately has an end user, and those end users can be found on social networking sites.

    I wrote a white paper recently that expands on the ideas in this post. It’s called “Trickle-Up Socialnomics: Leveraging Social Media in the BtoB Context” and can be accessed here: http://tiny.cc/TUSpaper.

    I think it’s also important to remember that any organization’s social media efforts should be guided by their strategic objectives. Taking a tactical, experimental approach can ultimately prove to be a waste of time if there’s no clear end-goal in mind. I address those issues and provided recommendations in Part 7 of the Social Media Primer I’ve developing. It’s called “The SAPLING Approach to Leveraging Social Media” and can be accessed here: http://tiny.cc/SMinOrgsPrimer7.

    Courtney Hunt
    Founder, Social Media in Organizations (SMinOrgs) Community

  17. Everybody seems fascinated about using Facebook as their promotional tool. I hope they won’t exploit.

  18. Rohan Aranha says:

    I am new to social media marketing and would like to know how to use it to target a specific audience with respect to geography and company executives.

  19. SMO is a very important part in todays web marketing. I have recently been using facebook comments and a page dedicated to facebook, using the page feed.

  20. Infinitevizionz says:

    This is a reasonable question, because while it makes sense that content, SEO and social media (as well as email, online PR and advertising) should work together, the challenge for many corporate marketers and communications professionals is how.