Is Facebook Made for B2B Marketing?

Should my B2B business be on Facebook?

At Spark, we get that question a lot from our clients.  And rightfully so.  Facebook seems like a huge marketing opportunity for B2C companies but it’s not clear when it comes to B2B.

We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t matter.

It’s About Long Term Brand Awareness

Master marketers like Coca ColaStarbucks and Ford understand that the Facebook platform is very good at helping establish long term brand awareness.

With fun posts, promotions and giveaways, Coca Cola and Starbucks keep their brands positive and top of mind in the hope that consumers will associate that positive experience with their brand. And buy more products. 

Ford knows people do their homework before buying a car. For the new Explorer SUV,  they publish useful posts, hold discussions and allow people to post videos and photos.  This positive engagement with the consumer creates a  positive association with the Ford Explorer brand.

Is B2B Any Different?

Sure, B2B buyers are different. Sales cycles are longer. Politics, approvals and shrinking budgets play huge roles.  These factors just don’t exist when you’re at Starbucks ordering a Venti quad shot, 1 pump Vanilla, 2 sugar in the raw, soy, non-fat, extra dry Cappuccino. :-)

But just like B2C, B2B companies still want people to have a positive association with their brand.

[box color=orange size=normal type=quote] People buy emotionally then justify it later with logic.

Buck Rodgers, Senior VP of Marketing IBM, Author of “The IBM Way“‘

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And people make B2B buying decisions, not companies.

Treat Your B2B Community as a Privilege

When someone Likes your brand on Facebook, your posts automatically go to their default home page News Feed.

This buyer attention is a precious commodity.  Don’t waste it. You should treat that Facebook Like as just another opportunity to impress the heck out of someone. It’s another opportunity to earn their respect, admiration and create a positive association with your brand.

As Chris Brogan has often said, Treat Your Community as a Privilege.

The Internet was Tailor Made for B2B Marketing

Your customers’ problems are not solved by a 12 ounce can of sugar water.

Sales cycles are long.  Educating prospective buyers can take months. Products and services are complex and ever-changing. Successful relationships are measured in years.

So what can you do? Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Write three white papers that address your customers’ top three problems
  • Produce a series of videos clarifying aspects of your product you know your customers don’t understand well
  • Interview current customers. Ask them to honestly respond. Even if the feedback is negative. (Funny thing about negative comments is that it makes you look authentic and makes the positive reviews look even better ;-) )
  • Ask Questions. Did you know on Facebook you can create a Polls page that asks people questions. Use the results to improve your products and customer support.
  • Become an industry source of information by taking 20 minutes every morning to post interesting industry news or whitepapers
  • Respond to Comments within 24 hours
Then promote your content, activity and information on your Facebook Page.

In a word, it’s about community engagement. We know, it’s a buzzword. But it’s a buzzword for a reason.


Facebook Marketing at Spark

We know this whole social marketing thing is not easy. That’s why we’re here to help. If you need a little assistance with all this Facebook stuff, give us a little love. We won’t bite.


Give Me Facebook Likes or Give Me Death

That little ubiquitous Facebook Like button is everywhere these days. You see it on web sites, billboards and blogs.

Your boss wants one yesterday.

But what’s the big deal?

Why do we all have to Like each other?

Exactly what does being Liked do for your business on Facebook anyway?

The Importance of Being Liked

A recent comScore study The Power of Like, showed that in May 2011, 27%  of Facebook users’ time was spent in the Facebook home page News Feed. (The News Feed is the constantly updating scroll of posts coming in from all of your friends on your Facebook home page.)

Time spent on the News Feed was greater than any other area of Facebook.  More than Profile tweaking, playing with Apps (Games) and even viewing Photos.

Source URL: http://bit.ly/n5vnVJ

And this makes sense. People go to Facebook to socialize and catch up with their friends and family. They always have.

And they do it in droves.

Facebook has 720 million registered users as of August 23, 2011. (Source: http://www.checkfacebook.com)

So how do you get your business in front of these millions of people? You guessed it. Get into their News Feed.

And how do you do that? Right again. Get them to Like you.

So if you get them to Like you, are you on the road to blissful Facebook marketing heaven? Mission accomplished? Big raise in your future?

Not so fast.

Nobody’s Paying Attention

Another study by PageLever in June 2011, reported that for every 100 fans a company has, only an average of 7.5 posts were counted as impressions.

Facebook impressions are defined by Facebook as any post that scrolls through a Facebook user’s News Feed while they’re logged on. This includes impressions that might scroll by while you’re on the phone, washing the car or even just checking your email in another browser tab.

In other words, just because Facebook counts 7.5 of your posts as impressions, doesn’t mean any of your fans are actually paying attention.

And it gets worse.

The study found that only 3.2% of fans actually visit a company’s Facebook Page. And the more fans you have, the less percentage of your total fans go.

Source: http://pagelever.com/fan-pages-impressions-pageviews-benchmark-methodology/

The Importance of Being Awesome

So is all this Facebook stuff even worth it?

Are you throwing your time away with all this Liking business?

Don’t you have a business to run?

The answer is yes, it’s worth it.  And here’s why:

Social Media offer an unprecedented opportunity for your business to connect with your customers, prospects and fans.

  • You can have conversations with existing customers and find out exactly what they’re thinking.
  • You can offer amazing customer service that delights them and gets them talking about you to others
  • You can get feedback on product ideas before they come out
  • You can keep them up-to-date on all company developments. (good and bad)
  • You can help solve their problems with amazing content

It’s not about being Liked so much as it’s just being liked. People will like you because of your awesome  products,  customer service or design. They’ll like you because you’re authentic and transparent. They’ll like because you treat them like human beings instead of just another sale.

So whatever your business does, be awesome at it.

Do that and you’ll have more Likes than you’ll know what to do with.


Social Media Consulting at Spark

At Spark, our mission is to provide our clients with authentic, tool-agnostic advice on social media for business. If you need some advice, let us know. If not, that’s cool too.

By the way, please Like this post. Thanks we really appreciate it ;-)