Around this time last year we wrote a post saying that we were going to be deleting our Facebook page. Well, one year on and our Facebook page is still alive and kicking.
Although we said at the time that your B2B audience are most likely not on Facebook - or at least, they're not on Facebook to read about or talk about anything work related. But even in just the last year Facebook seems to have evolved further and inflitrates our work lives more and more.
It may not yet be the leading social channel for business related posts and discussion, it seems that it's not a channel that should be completely ignored. This blog by Katherine Buchholz outlines findings from a recent AdRoll report which shows that Facebook is catching up fast when it comes to b2b marketing.
We have found that it is a good forum for offering help and advice on an individual level which can lead to opportunities to present your company as a solution. We have recently hosted social media workshops as a direct result of conversations we've had in various Facebook groups.
You will of course need to put some effort in. As with all the social media channels you have to work for your return.
Make sure the branding of your Facebook page is consistent with your other social channels and website.
Spend time posting relevant content on a regular basis. Mix up your posts with your own content from you blog, but also content relevant to your industry and areas that you would like to have associated with the services that you offer.
Your blog posts will become key in the next stage of making a success of b2b marketing on Facebook, and that is using advertising.
There are two ways to advertise on Facebook - running ads in the right hand column area of the news feed page, or running sponsored posts. It's worth trying both to see which works best for you.
Sponsored posts are our own preferred method of advertising on Facebook. They work in a very similar way to sponsored posts on Linkedin which you may already be familar with and have already experimented with.
To ensure you are maximising your sponsored post to its fullest potential you will need a compelling and relevant blog post as the hook in your post. Something that your audience will be compelled to click through to read, which will then hopefully lead them to like your page, and visit your website where they can be drawn through to other areas of your website where they will be compelled to get in touch. Bingo!
To make Facebook work without using advertising is a more challenging task; It requires experimentation, and ultimately, rich and relevant content. Engaging your 'fans', getting them to like your posts and comment on your posts is the key to getting them shown in newsfeeds. Facebook has a massively complicated algorithm to determine whether your post is shown and it would seem the ony way to beat it is to bite the bullet and spend some money and sponsor your posts.
Spending money on social media may feel like you are being robbed in broad daylight, but if we look back just a few years to the amount of money companies were being charged for a print ad in a relevant business publication on the basis that it would possibly be seen by x amount of people, the money needed to push out to the same potential numbers is a mere fraction of the cost.
With the sheer number of social media channels available it's not essential for B2B companies to be on every single one, and it's still necessary to pick and choose carefully.
We would recommend:
LinkedIn : as the most relevant channel for reaching a b2b audience - but make the most of your personal profile as well as your company page.
Twitter : not to be ignored, you can maximise your presence here with the use of hashtags and participating in chats and events.
Google+ : quite possibly on a downward spiral, but worth replicating your LinkedIn content posts on here to keep your presence felt by the biggest search engine in the world.
Facebook : as mentioned above, this is a platform that is worth considering once more.
Youtube : use this to host your b2b, customer interviews, help and advice videos etc and link to them or embed them into your website.
Pinterest : worth considering for pinning and sharing industry relevant content.
Instagram : if your business has visual appeal and the opportunity to share pictures of what you do and how you are doing it, then this channel offers a great way to present that and to share it back to your website.
Lots of choice and with each requiring a slighly different approach it may leave you feeling a bit overwhelemed and bewildered, but you don't need to dive in at the deep end and take on all of these at once. Experiment with each and build on your experience as you add each channel to your social media marketing portfolio.