Dave Folkens

5 Tips on Better Facebook Marketing for B2B Companies

B2B Facebook, Marketing B2B, Social Media B2BFacebook has been a great tool for reaching consumers directly for many B2C brands.  But can companies focused in the B2B industry use Facebook to enhance a reputation and grow new business? Absolutely.

Quite a few B2B companies are successfully using Facebook to build important relationships with prospects and customers. If your B2B company is still considering where Facebook might fit within an online marketing mix, here are five tips on building a Facebook fan page that will better support a B2B brand:

1. Create Two Way Conversation – Rather than using Facebook to simply push out news at the audience, spend time understanding the challenges potential customers face. Search online using keywords and monitor other social tools like Twitter to find out current concerns the target audience is facing.  Be a resource to potential customers by providing content and insight that will help them alleviate the problems.

After establishing a relationship with fan page followers, encourage them to provide input on the content being shared. Ask questions of followers and use responses to create content that will keep them connected to the brand.  eMarketer does a good job at this.

2. Connect a Community – Create opportunities for fans to come together and share positive experiences with each other. Oracle is an example that has built a page providing valuable professional content, news, and fans discuss or share directly on the page.

The best advocates are happy customers already engaged with a B2B company’s product or services. Highlight success stories on the page and let followers see the value provided to similar companies. Should there be a negative comment, which scares many B2B companies, address it with understanding and sincerity. In most cases, transparency and listening go a long way in stemming off negative feedback.

3. Build Relationships – Often times B2B involves a greater commitment than simple retail transactions. Sales cycles can be long and, as the old saying goes, you’re more likely to do business with someone you know. Facebook is a place to let you brand personality shine – let them see who you are. According to a survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate, customers are more likely to buy from companies they track via social media. By putting a face to a brand it is possible to position your brand as a resource that will be the first call for that follower when the time comes to make a purchase decision.

4. Cross Promote Content – Use Facebook as an outlet to share interesting content that’s been created elsewhere. B2B companies should consider re-purposing photos and video from promotional materials or industry events. SAP utilizes photos well and has a large number submitted by other users. Brands need to understand that not all contacts are fully engaged with every promotional effort. Don’t assume that if a message has been shared in one channel that it needs to be retired.

Connecting a blog feed to Facebook will increase the likelihood content will reach prospects through another social channel.  By connecting and cross-promoting, a B2B blog will reach the walls of current fans and potentially new contacts if that information is shared.

5. Make it Shareable – Content that is interesting or fun will be shared more widely than a bland corporate statement. This applies to companies of any size or customer focus. Providing a list of copy-heavy pages is not going to help reach new targets because nobody is excited to share boring content.

Be creative and understand that humor, visual appeal, and brevity all increase your chances of having your content move through Facebook.  Seeking a good example? Look at the creative holiday play from Cisco. A short video can convey a lot about a company and its culture. Companies that create content with sharing in mind are able to extend the reach of content significantly and build memorable connections for potential customers.

Facebook marketing for B2B companies isn’t limited to the mega corporations. At the core, it comes down to building meaningful relationships. If customer focused and creative, B2B companies can reap greater rewards from online marketing than many retails giants in the form of long-term customers.

Be sure to check out TopRank’s Facebook page for news, resources and discussion we don’t cover here on the blog.

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Comments

  1. 0.5. Create an incentive for companies or consumer to go to your fan page by giving away stuff, giving discounts, etc. Everybody likes free stuff and discounts…. grab their attention with the free stuff and then do the rest.

  2. Creating a conversation is important instead of just talking about yourself or your company.

  3. It’s always good to be informative and make everyone aware of your brand. It’s also good to listen and interact with customers to understand their needs and frustrations. It’s never good to be on the defense as we have learned watching Ford, Dell, Toyota, ect. Good topic.

  4. I agree sometimes companies want to jump on the bandwagon and say “Let’s do a bit of facebook” and forget you have to in some cases integrate an exclusive strategy to engage with an audience according to the platform and environment.

    • Absolutely- strategy must come first. Facebook (or any social channel) has a distinct user group and set of expectations that need to be considered to succeed.

  5. Thank you for sharing.
    It is always a delight to feel what I believe – that
    information is inspiration

  6. I find it interesting that Facebook have never really embraced the business market (apart from pages) even though they are the people who spend the most money on advertising with them. The suggestions above all make sense but the big worry I have is that if companies ae investing 10s thousands on Facebook they are going to want to see much better results than some interaction with fans, customer services and some views of their content. The big key lies with social commerce because if people start buying stuff via Facebook then the real floodgates could open.

    • It is interesting to see the investment being made on the advertising efforts while many companies haven’t sorted out how to generate direct revenue from the site. Right now I think most users remain more comfortable keeping Facebook social at the core with commerce a distant second. I agree entirely on the floodgates if that shift ever takes place.

  7. Lisa | SEO Brisbane says:

    Some of the best business relationships can be made on facebook if you remember that you are there to connect socially not to sell something.

  8. Jeffrey Gross says:

    I agree with the Post, think if popular social medias like Facebook and twitter are used properly they can really generate some good awareness about your business, and it always helps for a business. connecting with like minded people, joining communities and healthy discussions are always fruitful

  9. Facebook absolutely opens up many doors in marketing your product or service. I have used all the above said methods except the fourth one. Other than Facebook, Twitter also offers good online marketing space..You can also build up good contacts through these social networking sites

    • Twitter certainly has great utility as well, especially the search and monitoring in my opinion. The ability to monitor is a huge benefit for those in the B2B space.

  10. While I believe it is worthwhile to build and maintain a quality presence on Facebook (it’s an asset that can support brand trust and credibility, it might benefit current customers active on Facebook) I still don’t believe business people on Facebook use the network to search for B2B resources (they may encounter you happenchance or through a referral, but I just don’t expect to find search B2B behaviors happening on Facebook). This may change, but for now, for new business lead generation (B2B), I’d put invest SM efforts elsewhere. Engagement on LinkedIn has shown greater promise to us.

    • Definitely appreciate the feedback and I do think many Facebook users primarily focus on retail brands. Hopefully some good B2B work on Facebook will start to change that perception over time. Feel free to share any tips you’ve found valuable with LinkedIn as well.

  11. I absolutely agree that companies focused in the [email protected] industry use Facebook to enhance their reputation and grow new business. I am in @dr4ward internet marketing class at Western Michigan University and have focused a lot of twitter and the connection between using keywords and monitoring other social tools to have the internet and information come to you. By creating a two way conversation instead of solely pushing their information out they have a much better chance of building relationships with customers. Thank you for sharing and I am pleased to be a subscriber to your blog.

  12. since everymove do benefit to B2B, how we get Business Fans because we feel that it hard to get the real business customers other than our own customers.
    Would there be any marketing strategies that allow us to generate business user to be our fans?

  13. The advent of business pages being able to comment on other business pages as that business (no longer just their own business page) is going to do wonders for Facebook B2B.

  14. thanks very much for these helpful insights. I am applying your tips to our business as we are currently setting standards on how to maximise the business via Facebook.

    Thanks

  15. I found the post and the discussion really interesting. I set a page up some time ago but really focused on Twitter and LinkedIn thinking that FB was more B2C. As a copywriter I’m more in the B2B market but I’m rethinking my FB approach. Any thoughts on the value of FB adverts and the most effective approaches would be welcome.

  16. Andrew_McMaster says:

    Great tips.  It’s about making it personal and as you say ‘Build Relationships’.

  17. rokon rjdj says:

    I am agree with your article. 4 Free Tickets (& Jobs!) add your comment here http://www.facebook.com/The.Social.Mobile.Web.Business.Conference

  18. astrageeks says:

    Facebook absolutely opens up many doors in marketing your product or service. Other than Facebook, Twitter also offers good online marketing space..You can also build up good contacts through these social networking sites.
    Thank you for sharing this great info about Facebook Marketing.

  19. Dave, it seems to me the main disadvantage of B2B on Facebook is the inability stay ‘pure’ in Facebook’s viral advantages. Unless your page followers have mostly business-related friends, there seems to be little benefit from followers liking and sharing content.

  20. Very good article. I particularly enjoyed your overall theme of creating and building a following through two-way communication. Having a “community” follow your page is very important to your success. I, personally, found your article to be great. I just found this one (featured below) that talks about the specifics for B2B (content, number of updates etc.) and thought I’d share!

    http://www.fueldog.com/dogbytes/bid/86742/Building-a-Successful-B2B-Facebook-Page