It’s undeniable that if you’re a B2B marketer today, you absolutely must have a LinkedIn strategy but many B2B marketers are simply missing the boat on Facebook. It’s not about Facebook vs. LinkedIn; it’s about how Facebook can be an important piece to your overall marketing strategy.
Giant Audience = Tremendous Reach!
Facebook undeniably has a much bigger audience at 1.11 billion users than LinkedIn at a reported 200 million registered users and although people may not primarily use it as a business-networking tool, they are on Facebook upwards of 14 times per daywhere their behavior and buying decisions are influenced by their circle of friends. On top of that, they are likely to also have personal friends who are in the same line of work (think, I’m a marketer and some of my friends on Facebook are also marketers), which makes it possible that they are sharing your content with their Facebook friends. You know what they say about birds of a feather flocking together…it’s true in business as well as in personal social circles.
Search Engine Optimization Value
Your Facebook page is another page that the search engines (e.g. Google!) can crawl and rank. This helps you control more real estate on the search engine results page – and who doesn’t want more organic listings on Google’s first page!?! Tell me your CEO wouldn’t love that…but if you establish a Facebook page and then you never put anything on that page, you’ll be sending valuable clicks into the abyss. A Facebook content strategy is key to your success.
Facebook is still fertile ground for many B2B marketers. It is has gone largely ignored in many industries and by many companies so if that sounds like your company, you have a prime opportunity to stake your flag (or thumb!) in the ground and establish your company as the go-to-resource in your industry.
What to do on Facebook?
Your B2B Facebook strategy should be multipronged with paid, owned and earned components:
Facebook offers an advertising platform where you can pay by the click or by the impression. Paying by the click is often attractive to marketers testing a new space but even more exciting than that are Facebook’s ad targeting options including targeting be geography and by company. While there are many targeting options, those two can be very powerful for B2B marketers. If your product or service sells in a specific area, you can target at various levels including Country, State/Province, City, and Zip Code. You can also target by the company people work for so you know you’re talking specifically to people who work for your prospective clients.
You can use paid ads to drive leads, likes and engagement. The best approach to determining which Facebook targeting tactics and ad units are right for your business is to test and optimize.
Owned content is the creative content that you publish on a regular basis on Facebook. You should look at Facebook as another platform where you can be a thought leader, sharing with others your ideas about how to be successful in your industry. Thought leadership is more than a few simple posts from time-to-time though. It’s a well-orchestrated strategy consisting of poignant posts, tied to deeper pieces such as blog posts, articles, whitepapers, or videos that culminate in your company emerging as a regular expert on a particular topic or practice area. Routinely insightful posts that are truly going to help your audience will gain you tremendous loyalty on Facebook. But, you can’t be all business all the time…this is Facebook after all and if you want to keep people’s attention, especially if they’re surfing Facebook in off-hours, you’ll want to be human too and share content that is interesting, perhaps even funny, even if it does directly tie to what your business does.
Our client, HMS Home Warranty, has done an excellent job emerging as an engaging place on Facebook with insightful and sometimes funny or interesting posts, garnering nice engagement, which helps to ensure the posts show up in the News Feed:
And that tremendous loyalty is what results in earned media on Facebook in the form of increased likes of your page, and deep engagement with your content including post likes, shares, and comments. Earned media is the highest payoff of Facebook, getting others to spread the word on your behalf.
Here too, HMS Home Warranty has done a great job using Facebook to reach realtors. When the new year rolled around, HMS decided to jump in head first on Facebook. Through a well-orchestrated strategy, they have emerged as thought leaders, and have been successful at keeping their product, home warranties, top of mind with realtors across the country and just this week have toppled the 10,000 likes mark!