While LinkedIn is often the preferred platform for B2B social media, Facebook can be the difference in the success of your marketing, if done right.
When it comes to B2B marketing, it’s crucial to find how your goals overlap with the functionality of the platform being used. In the case of Facebook, there are a range of opportunities to flip the traditionally B2C platform in your favor.
Keep reading to find out how to get B2B marketing right on Facebook.1. Not using the Custom Audience feature
You already have a list of contacts built up in your database. Why not put those email addresses to good use and try to find more followers and potential buyers through Facebook? Many B2B businesses miss out on advertising opportunities because they haven’t narrowed down their audience successfully. The Custom Audience feature will help you do this.
The Custom Audiences feature lets you upload your database directly to Facebook. Using Facebook Ads Manager, you can create targeted ads and then send them to your email contacts. Facebook will then match your emailing list against the user accounts currently open. Because so many people use their personal email addresses for social media accounts and shopping accounts, there’s a good chance that your contacts use the same address for Facebook.
You can also reach out to new customers by creating a similar audience to your already existing Custom Audience. This is a great way to find new customers who are demographically similar to your current customers. Remember, not everyone wants to be your customer, so do your best to avoid marketing to those who have no interest in your company.2. Letting posts get too sales-y
Getting people to like your page is one thing; getting them to stick around and interact with your posts is another. Some B2B marketers believe that posting on Facebook isn’t as important or necessary so long as you have those fans, but in reality, your posts say a lot about you as a company.
Your posts need to be engaging while providing industry-related information to your customers. This is how you show them that your company isn’t just about selling products and services. You care about your customers and you care about educating them. By showing them that you know your industry and will provide them with up-to-date information, you’re illustrating your company’s professionalism as well as its superior customer relations.
That’s not to say that you can never post any self-promotional material on Facebook, but remember the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your content should be useful blogs, articles, infographics, videos and other useful pages from third parties. The remaining 20 percent can be about your own promotions.
Remember this rule when your posting, and your customers will be more likely to interact with your posts. They’ll also appreciate not being bombarded with sales pitches.3. Forgetting to tag or mention people
When you post from your own Facebook account, do you tag people in your posts or mention places that you’ve recently visited? If so, then why aren’t you doing this with your B2B Facebook posts?
Social media is all about creating dialogues and connecting with customers. Tagging well-known industry experts brings them into the conversation and offers readers new perspectives. Tagging your own followers is a great way to interact with customers and make them feel appreciated by your brand. Doing so gives readers more of an incentive to comment on your posts if they think you might answer them back.
Facebook’s tag and mention options allow you to pull people into your conversation and make them feel included. This is a great way to involve your customers and get them talking with you.
For example, a higher education institution might tag a student who was recently nominated for an award in his or her field and offer a hearty congratulations. This gets followers talking and shares the good news with other who might not be aware.4. Focusing on selling rather than generating leads
One of the biggest misconceptions about Facebook marketing is that it’s all about selling, selling, selling. If you’re not generating sales from your Facebook marketing endeavors, then you’re doing something wrong.
The truth is Facebook just isn’t a good marketplace for selling your products and services. Facebook and other social media platforms are about building solid customer relationships and improving your brand. People come to Facebook to talk, not to shop, so if you’re focusing on getting people to buy your products on Facebook, then you may be wasting your time.
Facebook can be one of the most useful tools for generating great leads and nurturing them. By capturing email addresses, you build your database and expand your reach to new customers. Once you have them, you can begin marketing directly to them through Facebook.
As your leads become more invested, you can pass them on to your sales team and turn them from a lead to a valuable customer.5. Ignoring metrics data
Recently, Facebook updated its Ads Manager, giving it a whole new look that was a little overwhelming for some. The main page now gives you a plethora of data telling you how successful your ads are. If you’re ignoring this data, then your campaigns probably won’t improve, and you won’t know what works and what doesn’t.
To help you better manage your budget, Facebook now lists your total spent over the course of the week at the top of the Ads Manager page. Now you can keep better tallies on your expenses and make sure you don’t go over your budget.
There are a number of ways to break down your campaigns, ad sets and ads so you can better see their successes and weak points. Don’t be afraid to click around and pull up new reports. It may be hard to track your ROI through Facebook marketing, but looking at your metrics is a good place to start.
Have you ever wished for a crystal ball so you could gaze deeply into the thoughts and needs of your customers? Sometimes B2B social media can feel like playing Go Fish with only half the deck. You’ve only got a dolphin and all they ever want is a shark. Nobody wins… much less your business. Luckily we have some articles here that can help you cut through the miasma of uncertainty and build a successful B2B social plan without employing a psychic.Conducting a Social Media Audit
From Harvard Business Review
Social media marketing is not about completely giving up all control of the brand, but changing methods to maintain influence in the new consumer-controlled social media reality. The social media audit tool helps marketers make sense of the many opportunities these platforms offer by allowing marketers to see their brands from the perspective of the consumer. Read more
From KO Marketing
People don’t always tell you what they’re thinking. In personal relationships, we use body language, tone of voice, micro expressions, actions, and other intangibles to infer someone’s perspective, attitude, intent, and desires. Business relationships rely on some of the same data points but are often distanced from targets and customers by geography, station (status in the food chain of the individual with final say-so) and decision-making protocols like RFP docs, requisition requests, and other confounding red tape. The separation between key stakeholders and those of us trying to escort them along the buyer journey presents some challenges. Separation may mean not knowing what matters most to a buyer, ending in our failure to deliver. There are ways we can learn about our prospects and buyers to improve opportunities for consideration and conversion. Read more
From Vertical Response
Content marketing, email, and social marketing are each powerful tools for communicating with consumers and building your business. However, doing only one or two of these tactics isn’t going to get the job done. You need to do each well and ensure you’re using them in concert with each other. Read more
From HubSpot – Marketing
A lot of marketing budget rejection can feel demoralizing. You may start to wonder if your company even believes in the power of marketing. The truth is that they may not. A 2014 study by The Fournaise Group found that 90% of marketers are not trained in marketing performance and marketing ROI. The same study says that 80% of marketers struggle to demonstrate the business effectiveness of their marketing activities to their top management. By taking the following recommendations, you’ll be able to build inbound marketing campaigns that your leadership will fall over themselves to fund. If you don’t already have much of a budget, then you may have to start small, but this should get you going in the right direction. Read more
It can be tough to plan the new year’s strategy for your brand on social, weeding through all your great ideas and trending concepts or coming up with new ones if you’re feeling a tad depleted — but we’ve got a fine place to start right here. Read more
As you can see, you hold the power to transforming your B2B social presence. With these tools and insights, you should be able to not only get started on a solid social plan for 2016 but also get some of that much needed buy-in from upstairs to support it.
Image Source: Harvard Business Review
The B2B chatter of late is around the evolving social media landscape and how to figure out if your engagement strategy is working. Is your focused Facebook campaign falling flat? Not sure why your B2B blog just isn’t working? Never fear. We have a slew of articles that can help you through the process of measuring the success of your campaign, realigning your approach, common social pitfalls, and some quick tips on how to get your content back on track.Channel Shift: Measuring B2B Efforts to Shift Customers Online
A new study from Accenture Interactive finds that 68% of B2B buyers purchased goods or services online in 2014. According to the firm, resistance to change from long-term buyers is the top challenge standing in the way of online growth for B2B organizations.
From Tony Zambito
A recent survey by B2B Marketing, in conjunction with the UK-based agency Tomorrow People, indicated only 38% of marketers considered their content to be “very customer-centric” and 50% or more of marketers have not engaged in researching and creating buyer personas for their marketing efforts. Although the concept of buyer personas were founded nearly 14 years ago, these surveys show that the maturity of buyer persona development as a means to achieve customer-centric B2B marketing has some ways to go.
From Occam’s Razor
Take a seat for this one; it’s a long but solid read. The assumption is: Big Social Audiences + Big Pimping = Big Social Profits. This post looks at each social network to see what B2B and B2C brands are doing there today and from that draw lessons as to:
- If your business should be on that network, and…
- If yes, what should your content (and marketing) strategy be.
From Financial Post
Social media has been in our professional lives for more than a decade and, according to Dave Burnett, the verdict is in when it comes to the tool’s utility for small to medium-sized businesses. Put simply, social media doesn’t help most business-to-business (B2B) focused SMBs boost sales.
From Hubspot – Marketing
More B2B blogs are nailing it and putting forth the level and quality of content that B2B readers truly crave … but there is still progress to be made. Neil Patel has assembled this list of tips that can help you bring your B2B content up to the next level.
Take some time to marinate over these ideas and insights and you’ll be feeling better about your own strategy in no time.
Image Source: Hubspot
The digital, social and mobile revolution has changed the world we live in. And not just our world, but that of our prospects as well.
There are now 2 million blog posts shared every single day, so getting your prospects to click-through to your content has become one of the toughest challenges B2B marketers face.
Social media is one of the most effective content promotion tools, allowing B2B marketers to drive their prospects’ attention to their website. But in order to do that, social media posts need to be engaging. And we have all read boring content from B2B companies.
Here are five hacks that will help you increase your click through rates on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.1. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to improve the visibility of your posts on social media.
Growing your social following organically is crucial to building brand awareness and finding new business opportunities. Hashtags allow people within your niche to find your content.
Most industries have their own specific hashtags that you can use to attract a relevant audience to your posts. Find out which hashtags your audience are using and experiment with them to see which ones attract the most readers.2. Monitor Analytics
As with any element of marketing, checking your analytics will help you find out what works and what doesn’t, with your target audience.
Keeping track of key metrics will give you insight into how people are engaging with your posts. Understanding the language that resonates with your audience will help you tweak your posts to maximise click-through rates.3. Use Great Images
Adding high quality, engaging images to your posts will help them rise above the noise on people’s timelines. This is one of the most effective ways of grabbing people’s attention, but as it’s not so much a secret, it’s important that you use great images.
Your images should be high resolution, relevant to the content you are posting, and in-keeping with your brand. There are a number of sites that offer free, high quality images for use on social media such as Death to Stock and Fancy Crave. These professional images will set your posts apart from the competition.4. Post at Peak Times (and More Frequently)
Posting throughout the day when your audience are more likely to be online will result in more clicks.
Different studies show different results for when the best times to post are, as there are so many variables involved. It’s best to experiment and find out when your audience are more likely to click through to your posts.
You can use your social analytics to find out at what times your posts receive higher interaction, and Facebook insights even tells you what times most of your followers are usually online.
Posting your content more than once is also important, as your audience will be online at different times. Be careful not to post too often though, or you might appear spammy.5. Use the Article Title
Good copywriters know that headlines make users click. You could spend hours creating the greatest content in your niche, but if the headline doesn’t sell it, nobody is going to read it.
This fundamental rule of clickable headlines also applies to clickable social media posts. Posts with higher click through rates tend to be short, include a superlative and often include numbers. Using your compelling titles will lead to more social clicks.
If you have other hacks to increase your click-through rates, share them below or on Twitter.
Photo credit: Flickr
Content creation and sharing is critical in today’s online world. Informative B2B content can build awareness, help your business connect with your audience, enhance existing customers’ awareness, and bring in new customers.
At the same time, “more” is not always equivalent to “better.” The wise content marketing practitioner should optimize content to make it more search-friendly, user-friendly, and conversion-friendly.
Start by developing a content marketing plan. Your plan should cover everything from the audience you want to reach to the topics you want to focus on to the types of content you will create from your initial concepts.
When you’re ready to create content, here is a list of writing basics:
- Avoid grammar errors and typos – How you write matters as much as what you write.
- Optimize content for Google – Check out Google Webmaster Guidelines.
- Remember your audience – Create content for both people and search engines. Keywords are important, but if your content doesn’t read naturally or contain useful information, it will not be effective.
- Link within and outside of your site – Linking to content adds value and helps your get found. The text within a link should be a short description of what you are linking to.
- Text length helps determine a page’s value – 500-1500 is optimal for search engines and readers.
- Make it scannable – Use bullet lists, headers, short sections, and relevant text to make website content more readable.
- Podcasts – 15-20 minutes is a good average length for a podcast (though you might go longer for more in-depth value). Note that you shouldn’t feel like once you start podcasting you have to do so forever. You can develop a podcast series (e.g., 6 episodes) and then take a break.
- eBooks – Reuse content from your blog and other sources to create eBooks. Once you post them, make sure you provide HTML content as well as the PDF or they won’t be searchable. Looking for some eBook samples to emulate? Look at what MailChimp or Glance Networks does.
- Presentations – Share remarks from events and workshops in slide decks and post them to SlideShare for an added traffic booster.
Today’s audience is visually oriented. Whether you are talking static images, intricate graphics, recorded interaction, or live interaction, visual engagement is a must.
- Include at least one picture in your posts – When people share your content, make it easy for them to automatically include your eye-catching imagery in their posts.
- Don’t bury text inside visuals – Create HTML content to go with your visual pieces or they won’t be searchable. For example, type out an excerpt from your video or describe your infographic.
- Video done right captures audience interest – Keep most of your videos short – 3 minutes or less. Then intersperse longer videos if you want to take a deeper dive into a particular subject. Not sure where to start? Take a look at other companies who do video marketing well.
- Infographics are an instant hit – Infographics can be an extremely engaging way to capture your audience, making facts and figures more easily digestable. Not a graphic artist? Try Canva – a super easy graphics creation tool – to get you started.
- Keep it small – Reduce graphic file sizes to shorten website page load time.
- Include about live engagement – Webinars, presentations, and product walk-throughs are excellent for answering more detailed product questions or providing thought leadership. Consider using a cobrowsing or screen sharing tool for your live visual engagement efforts.
You may not be a programmer or an HTML expert, but there are some basics that every content marketer should be aware of.
- Robots.txt tells search engines what not to index (e.g., shopping carts, process pages).
- Noindex line of code tells search engines not to index a page (e.g., for the end of a process or conversion).
- 301 redirect sends people to a new page that is replacing a previously existing page.
- Canonical tag is good to use if you have multiple copies of a page and you want to assign SEO value to one of the pages (for instance, if you are doing A/B testing).
- XML sitemap helps Google to understand the structure of your site and define sitelinks.
- Rich snippets improve the look of search results and add specific details.
- Google Data Highlighter helps you highlight specific data.
- Your post’s URL should clearly state what the content of your article discusses.
- The title and description of your page should include keywords in a natural manner.
- Header tags are critical for creating a logical structure for the content on your page. Keep your headers reasonable short and to the point so they can be easily scanned.
Once you’ve created your content, it’s time to share it!
- Make every page on your website impactful – Each page should drive traffic to your site.
- Leverage the power of all your channels – Social channels, email, newsletters, blog posts – use whatever you have in your arsenal to share website pages.
- Don’t post the same text on every social channel – Modify each post for each platform.
- Post multiple times via social media – Pull out your older yet still relevant pieces and post them. Post the same link several times during the week. Your audience is not always reading everything you post. Repetition gives them a chance to catch up.
- Add social media sharing buttons to your pages – If you don’t make it easy for your audience to share your content, they won’t.
- Look at social media from the audience’s point of view – Think about whether your social updates are helpful, valuable, easy to share, and unique.
Driving traffic to your site is all well and good, but if you can’t convert any of it into business, you’re doing something wrong. That’s why a crucial step in optimizing content is making sure that the purchasing or sign-up processes are as painless as possible.
Here are some thoughts for how to achieve that goal:
- Test for ease of navigation – Give a partner a goal to accomplish on your site and see how easy or hard it is for him or her to complete it.
- Keep in mind the various stages of your buyer’s journey as you plan out your content. For example, during the discovery stage customers will ask, “What is this and why is it important to me?” During the consideration stage, customers might ask, “Why should I use you instead of your competitor?”
- Make it easy for customers to access content – Don’t hide all your content behind forms or you will erode customer trust.
I recognize that that’s a lot of steps to keep in mind. However, you should remember that optimizing content is a team effort. Include social, graphics, editorial, dev, data, finance, sales, and more in your process.
As you continue to create fantastic, optimized content, don’t forget to monitor the performance of your pieces so you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. While there are no guaranteed top rankings, if you continually work to optimize your content, you’ll be in excellent shape.
Photo credit: Flickr
I just came across a survey from Regalix from earlier this year, and published by eMarketer, that asked B2B marketers to indicate which content types are most effective at each stage of the funnel. I have long maintained that marketers need to envision a content funnel that sits next to the buyer’s funnel and matches each stage with appropriate content. This survey makes me happy because now we have some broader responses of exactly what types of content should be paired up with each stage.
Compare your own data to this survey data to see if your effectiveness numbers match these content types. If you are looking to shore up certain parts of your funnel, try using these tactics to do so.
The survey consisted of 285 senior marketing executives and business leaders. 72% were from North America. The most common titles were manager (40%), director (27%) and VP (17%), so these really were marketing leaders.1. Awareness
Social Media (83%)
Blog Posts (81%)
This is the top of the funnel. It’s where most content marketers live. Social media, blogs and infographics are all content types with wide reach. Blog posts are the perfect type to solve prospects’ problems and social media helps with the distribution. Infographics are easily shared on social media and can drive people back to your site to learn more about you.2. Consideration
White Papers (78%)
Web-based Events (72%)
Buyers are narrowing their search down to a handful of vendors, so they want to know how your products or services will solve their problems. It is at this stage where they will learn enough to reach out to your company after reviewing your content. This content gets more specific. White papers show a point of view of your B2B company and how you address problems. Websites are the tried and true method of getting product information. And web-based events let you show off your subject matter experts and your partners. This is a good way for buyers to determine company fit.3. Purchase
Case Studies (47%)
Research Reports (39%)
Purchase is where the rubber hits the road from a content perspective. Some of this content is passed on from the sales team as they are dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s to close the deal. Senior executives indicate that the website is still the most effective content type to help at this stage. That one doesn’t sit so well with me. If prospects are still going to your website this late in the funnel, they have some unanswered questions. You need to find out what those are. The rest of these make sense. Case studies show other customers with their problems solved. Research reports, especially those of the analyst variety, can help justify a decision when a buyer is almost there. And finally video is a great medium to see your people and your customers talk about your products and services. That’s what this stage is all about: your products and services.4. Loyalty
Social Media (39%)
Web-based Events (36%)
Once you have converted a prospect to a customer, it is time to keep them informed and happy. Newsletters and email keep them informed about the latest activities, product updates and relevant information. Social media points them to the most important content you are sharing. Mobile is a relevant content type as more executives spend more time on their smartphones. Web-based events are not usually conducted for customers, so this one surprises me being so high.5. Advocacy
Social Media (47%)
Blog Posts (33%)
When your best customers become advocates for your company, brand and products, social media is the best way to communicate that advocacy. Both for them and for you. Blog posts also seem like a great way to share their love for your products and services. And of course, these are the ones who are tapped to speak in customer videos, so this makes a lot of sense as an effective tactic.
When you review the complete chart below, note that when there was duplication (social media sites vs. social media posts, blogs vs. blog posts) I took the higher performing content type.
Photo credit: Flickr
Twice a year, the CMO survey, sponsored by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the American Marketing Association and McKinsey & Company, does exactly what you would expect them to do. That’s right. They survey top marketers at US companies. This year’s survey, which includes responses from 255 marketers, is the 14th version of this survey, so there’s lots of data for historical comparison.
One of the unique things about this survey is that the results are not just broken down by B2B and B2C, but they also look at the differences between companies that sell products and companies that sell services. Below are some of the most relevant results to B2B marketers who are managing social media efforts. Wondering how much budget you should be spending on social media or mobile marketing? Here are some benchmark numbers. This is especially helpful if you are a services company. This information is rarely separated out.
The entire highlights document is embedded below, so you can dive into these numbers, and lots more, in detail.Budgets
1. Marketing budgets of B2B companies are 10% of the overall company budget.
2. B2B product companies currently spend 8% of their marketing budget on social media.
3. B2B services companies currently spend 12% of their marketing budget on social media.
4. In the next 12 months, B2B product companies will spend 10% of their marketing budget on social media.
5. In the next 12 months, B2B services companies will spend 16% of their marketing budget on social media.
6. In the next 5 years, B2B product companies will spend 18% of their marketing budget on social media.
7. In the next 5 years, B2B services companies will spend 25% of their marketing budget on social media.Social Media Impact
8. 6% of B2B product companies have not been able to show the impact of social media on their business.
9. 17% of B2B services companies have not been able to show the impact of social media on their business.
10. 40% of B2B product companies have a good sense of the qualitative impact of social media.
11. 50% of B2B services companies have a good sense of the qualitative impact of social media.
12. 54% of B2B product companies have proven the impact of social media quantitatively.
13. 33% of B2B services companies have proven the impact of social media quantitatively.Analytics
14. Only 23% of marketing projects run by B2B product companies use marketing analytics.
15. Only 30% of marketing projects run by B2B services companies use marketing analytics.Mobile and Internet
16. Both B2B product and service companies currently spend 5% of their marketing budget on mobile.
17. In the next 3 years, B2B product companies will spend 14% of their marketing budget on mobile.
18. In the next 3 years, B2B services companies will spend 13% of their marketing budget on mobile.
19. B2B product companies complete 7.5% of their sales over the internet.
20. B2B services companies complete 9% of their sales over the internet.
The woman in the picture is Neslihan Uzun. She is a Survey Engineer for Hyundai Engineering & Construction in Turkey. She has been an engineer for the company for nearly a year and a half, and is helping to build the Third Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul, also known as the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge. I would recommend that she get the additional title of Chief Storyteller.
This is a high profile project for Hyundai and for Turkey. This bridge symbolizes Modern Turkey. A happy, smiling, female engineer high above the water is a great face for this project.
Hyundai Engineering has a number of social channels including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, even a blog, but none of them have been updated consistently or recently. This picture was not posted on any of those channels.
It was posted on Uzun’s personal LinkedIn profile. And her caption says that she was first woman engineer to walk from Europe to Asia on a catwalk. The main span of this bridge is 4,619 feet long, and when it is completed it will be the eighth longest suspension bridge in the world. It is 1,056 feet high. If strong winds or heights bother you, don’t build bridges. Note that the east side of bridge is in Europe and the west side is in Asia, even though the whole thing is in Turkey.
This photo on her personal LinkedIn page was liked by 16,269 people. That’s half as many as follow the anemic Hyundai Engineering LinkedIn page. And it got 1,793 comments. The story seen in this photo really resonated with people, and tells a much richer and more human story than the single bridge rendering that exists in the company’s online image library.
I couldn’t find any other instance of this photo online. It was not even on her Facebook page, but she did post a video where you can hear how windy it is up there.
What could Hyundai Engineering & Construction do to tell the story of this multi-year bridge project? They could start by seeing what the employees are already doing and re-share those images and videos on their social channels. They could feature a new employee each month and update the progress of the bridge through the eyes of that employee. A bridge is built in the sky, across a road and underwater, and the employees involved with each aspect has a different story to tell about this engineering marvel.
And while this is a B2B company who is looking to connect with other large organizations to hire them for the next project, telling the story of building the Third Bosphorus Bridge through the people building it will also connect it to the people who will drive over the bridge everyday.4 Takeaways from this Missed Opportunity for B2B Companies:
1. Employees create some of the best user-generated content out there. Don’t ignore it.
2. People relate to people. Make sure you are using them to tell your company story.
3. Visual content is more compelling than other forms of content.
4. Even if your social channels are stale and out of date, if something fabulous or relevant comes along, use that as a trigger to jumpstart those channels.