Cracking the B2B Code on Facebook

July 16, 2013 at 7:00 AM

facebook for B2BEvery Marketing Leader has asked the question: “Can Facebook be leveraged to drive leads?”  Many in the retail, travel and restaurant industry will immediately say, “Yes”.  What about for B2B? 

The B2B CMO’s that I have asked are typically skeptical of a Facebook investment.  A common answer is, “Facebook is for personal usage, not B2B.  LinkedIn and twitter are more professional”.  This statement is accurate.  LinkedIn is the gold standard for B2B social marketing.  Twitter has proven to be effective at amplifying B2B messaging to gain reach.  Facebook in contrast is primarily used to share personal updates with friends and family.  Does this mean B2B shouldn’t leverage Facebook?  No.

Why Leverage Facebook?

Facebook has by far the largest global user base of any social network.  Not having a presence on Facebook is a lost opportunity.  Facebook is a breeding ground for referrals and advocates. This is the place where friends, family and acquaintances listen, recommend and share.  Those who express a need for a B2B solution, will be given recommendations.  There is no better forum to be top of mind among your audience.  Your B2B prospects are on Facebook.   You need a marketing strategy and approach that works. 

facebook graph search b2bFacebook entered the search engine market with the launch of “graph search”.  It is a search engine that answers search queries via their billion+ user base.  Even though it is in the early stages of competitiveness, Google is nervous.  That’s why Google is investing heavily in Google+.  Thought leaders have referred to this as a new “Like and G+ economy”.  If you want to be found on Facebook as you do on Google, better start getting ’Likes’ from your network of buyers and prospects.

If you are ready to get your marketing team refocused on Facebook.  Download the Facebook B2B Best Practices Guide at the end of this post.  Here is a high level overview of how these best practices are leveraged.

How to crack the B2B code on Facebook

The perfect combination to crack the code can be found through continued experimentation. The Facebook targeting & demand gen capabilities continue to improve.  Facebook can simply fast-follow LinkedIn and Google to better leverage their massive user base for B2B. Experimentation is a must as buyer behavior changes with each Facebook development update.  Those who understand their buyers can adapt and target prospects at the right time.

Here are a few examples of who does it well in B2B.   HubSpot and Marketo. Both are competitors to each other offering all-in-one marketing automation software.  As I write, Hubspots’s page has 522K likes and 3,885 users discussing them on Facebook. This is a highly liked page.  Marketo’s page has 76K likes and 8,500 users discussing them on Facebook.  This is a well-liked and heavily engaged page.

marketo hubspot facebook b2b

What is it they are doing well?

Social Content - Hubspot and Marketo are posting varying content at frequent intervals.  Not just once a day.  They post 2-3 times a day.  Content scheduling is optimized to show up in news feeds at peak times.  They post blog articles, charts/graphs, quotes, eye catching visual infographics, downloads, events and etc.  On top of that they advertise posts to new target audiences through Facebook ads.  These ads are called “Boost posts” or “sponsored posts”.  Advertising on Facebook is actually cheaper compared to the other social networks. The key is finding the right mix of content that appeal to prospects.  Then measure to find out what works well (track leads), optimize and repeat. 

A particular mix of content that works well for Marketo, is a weekly theme.  In between their blog posts, campaigns and promotional posts, they include weekly themed posts.  On Monday’s they post a “Moment of Marketing Genius” quote.  On Wednesdays they post a “Weekly Marketing Humpday Joke”.  On Friday they post “Photo Bomb Fridays”.  This content keeps the audiences engaged.  Jason Miller from Marketo says, “Wittiness is terribly underrated.  B2B prospects like to have fun.  They are not on Facebook to be sold to. Entertain them a bit, and then tie it back to something useful”

What else does Hubspot and Marketo do right?

  • When they post an article, they don’t just simply post the title and link. They ask questions or use action words such as learn, discover or find out. They post in a way that prospects can relate.
  • Use of tabs as call-to-action offers.  At the top of a Facebook page are menu boxes called tabs.  There are usually 4 or more tabs.  Each tab can include a customized image and link to a landing page. A best practice is to embed your landing page inside the Facebook page.  This is so that the user doesn’t have to leave the Facebook platform.  If they are sent to an outside link, Facebook will warn them they are leaving. This causes a lot of users to cancel following an external link.
  • To get more Facebook B2B best practices: Like SBI’s Facebook Page at the link below to automatically receive the download. Send this to your marketing team for review.

Key Takeaway:

B2B marketers have largely failed to leverage Facebook.  The belief is that Facebook is only used personally.  Or it’s only good for eCommerce or local businesses. The truth is, Facebook is the biggest social network.  If you’re investing in LinkedIn or Twitter, the user opportunity on Facebook is greater.  You can’t just create a Facebook page and let it run on autopilot anymore.  You have to crack the code to your prospects.  Start by Liking our Facebook page to get a free Facebook B2B Best Practices Guide.

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Topics: CMO, Marketing Resources, Social Media

Posted by John Koehler

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