Why Facebook?

With over 500 million users worldwide, Facebook has been well recognised as a powerful tool for B2C marketing. What many people have failed to recognise is its potential for B2B marketing in its ability to create your business’s very own online community, the creation of which fosters a number of powerful B2B marketing possibilities outlined below:

  • Another avenue for Thought Leadership: Facebook has the potential to be another media outlet for Thought leadership as it provides an avenue through which you can wrap your business's message in. Facebook can be another valuable means of delivering your content to your buyer and addressing problems that are specific for that stage of the buyers' journey.
  • Maintaining and fostering communication: Creating an online community through Facebook maintains and fosters communication between you, other businesses, and all previous, current and prospective customers. It is important that your relationship with the customer does not end when they have paid and left with their product (this is especially important for companies that sell particular items that have irregular or distant sales cycles).
  • Creating a funnel that increases traffic: Through creating your own Facebook page and community, you will be significantly increasing the extent of your reach. Your Facebook page can be used as a funnel to direct more traffic to your website, blog or online store. If you are selling B2B products online, Facebook allows you to create a shopping tab on your page that will encourage viral sharing of your products. You could even consider offering special deals to your Facebook fans and use these to support lead generation programs.
  • Using Facebook analytics and adverts to target potential customers: When a user “likes” a particular product on Facebook, adverts on the side of their page will then be tailored to related products. Coupled with this, a new service is currently being tested by Facebook called Facebook Exchange which allows advertisers to target an audience based on their browsing history collected from cookies placed by Facebook on third-party sites. These analytics programs maximise the potential reach and success of any advert you release through Facebook.
  • Providing an opportunity for customer feedback: Facebook has a tool that allows your business to post questions or surveys to all of your followers. This can be an easy, simple and effective way of connecting with customers, collecting information and also displaying or promoting any positive feedback. A perfect example is demonstrated by Get Satisfaction, a social CRM and customer support platform who have launched a Facebook version of its application so that its customers can ask questions and get support directly from their Facebook page.
  • Keeping followers and customers informed: Because of its extensive reach, Facebook is the perfect means to keep any followers or customers up to date with the latest news, product launches or development within your business.

For more information on how Facebook can be a powerful B2B marketing tactic for your business, visit Jeff Bullas' Facebook Marketing Tips and Tactics for B2B Marketers

Best Practice in B2B Facebook Marketing

In order to maximise the efficiency and success of your B2B marketing through Facebook, there are a number of things you should keep in mind when developing and administrating your online community:

  • Encourage two-way conversation: Rather than simply using Facebook for keeping followers and customers up to date, use it as a means to discover and understand the decisions and challenges that potential customers face. Encourage your Facebook page followers to provide input on the content being shared.
  • Cross promote your content: Not all prospective customers will be connected with every promotional effort. Use Facebook as a place to re-post photos, videos and other promotional materials. The more channels that your content is being displayed; the greater potential there is of it being shared. Utilising more than one social media tactic can be managed simultaneously with a social media monitoring tool.
  • Make it shareable: Be creative with the content that you post. Creating text-heavy Facebook pages and posts will not reach any new prospective followers or customers as people are unlikely to share boring or unexciting content. Content that included any photos or videos has proven to be far more successful in their reach and success. In terms of creating effective videos for you page, the Funnel Wiki Video production page explains what sort of videos are most effective and how they can be created.
  • Create a landing tab: Having a landing tab in which followers are called to “like” your page as they enter is a great way to increase conversations throughout your online community. Facebook “likes” are the social networking equivalent of those important email subscriber lists; as soon as someone likes your Facebook page, all of your updates are fed through their personal newsfeed. Mint.com’s Facebook page for instance revealed a 73% increase in conversations with a landing tab.
  • Engage with your customers: When posting, make your posts consistent in their timing and attempt to design them in such a way that they are interrogative, on various topics, and ask for a response (click “like” if you….). The Funnel Wiki Twitter tactics page provides a great analysis of what businesses should be posting through their social network mediums.
  • Lighten up and make it personal: The vast majority of users are on Facebook to have fun and engage with friends. No matter how serious your product is, it is important therefore to inject some humour or levity into your page. Facebook provides the perfect opportunity for you to give a face and a personality to the company. For example, you may want consider posting some behind-the-scenes photos of engineers hard at work on your next product release.

For more tips on best practice in Facebook B2B marketing, visit Mashable Social Media’s 4 Tips for B2B Marketing on Facebook

What to Avoid in B2B Facebook Marketing

  • Posting too much text: Research has shown that any posts that include any more than one to two lines of text are far less likely to "liked" or shared.
  • Ignoring the Facebook Insights program: Facebook provides a program called Insights that analyses the reach of each of your posts or updates. Ignoring the Facebook Insights program will leave you ignorant of the types of posts and advertising that are proving most effective in your online community.
  • Posting too much: Be very careful not to fall into the trap of over posting. In this case, less can be more; bombarding followers with too many posts may turn some people away. If you’re experiencing a negative response, try mixing up your tactics and focus instead on “liking” or responding to comments that followers may have posted on your page. Don’t forget to “tag” people when responding to their comments, this will ensure your response is not only highlighted in their notifications section but that it is also posted specifically on their own personal page.
  • Not completely filing out your page: Make sure you use your Facebook page to its full potential. Businesses should have hours, address, photos, videos and as much information as possible for any users to collect quickly and as efficiently as possible.
  • Spam: Being the social networking giant that it is, Facebook unfortunately accumulates its fair share of spam. Whilst Facebook is doing its best to cut-down any unwanted spam, beware of any link scams, always report any spam comments or posts that appear on your page (Facebook will then permanently ban these spammers), and be aware of any information you provide to any Facebook apps.

Tools You Might Find Useful

  • Setting up your business' Facebook page is simple with Facebook's Step-by-Step Guide and Tutorial.
  • Once your page is created, Facebook also offers a comprehensive Facebook Business Marketing Assistance Network.
  • As with any online community, it is also essential that you protect the security of your business's Facebook page. Facebook offers an online security monitoring program and guide that offers a number of different security resources.
  • Shortstack is a great Facebook tool that works to create forms, pages, competitions and landing pages. Works with other applications.
  • Pagemodo - create Facebook pages
  • AgoraPulse - helps pull out vital statistics from your Facebook page
  • Buffer - pre-schedule posts and updates
  • CrowdBooster - pre-schedule posts and provides metrics toanalyze your top posts, number of impressions, fan growth, top fans and more
  • PostAcumen - lets you perform extensive competitive analysis on your Facebook posts to find out how your content resonates with your fans and how those metrics stack up against your competitors for Likes, Comments, Shares, etc.
  • 160 Free Business Themed Stock Photos - Download 160 free stock photos