According to Entrepreneur’s Ann Handley, 70% of B2B marketers used Facebook in their content marketing strategy in 2011. While Facebook can help businesses generate leads, the process can be a delicate balance of sharing useful content and turning your community into customers.
Businesses should think of Facebook as a way to interact with real people on an individual level. Even if you’re a B2B, there are actual people behind the purchases your business customers make. To build your lead generation efforts, Handley suggests thinking of the individual people you do business with when you interact on Facebook, along with the tips below:
1. Start with like, then work your way up to love.
Before you can engage with your fans on Facebook, you have to get the like. That may sound obvious, but companies often focus too much attention on engagement without putting more effort on increasing likes. Few people will ever engage directly with your Facebook page after the initial like because they will engage with your content in their news feeds. Your page lays the groundwork for communicating with you and builds trust so fans will know you’ll provide them with interesting and useful content.
Once you’ve gotten the like, you can get fans to love you by offering special deals, promoting special content, and offering exclusive information on your products and services, all of which can help you generate leads. So lock down the like by including elements on your page such as video overviews, an invitation to test out new products, or a link to sign up for a free account – for liking your page. Once you get the like, the real engagement begins.
2. Use content to get leads.
Much of your content will center around providing useful and interesting information to your Facebook community. However, you should sprinkle in lead generating content every few posts to build your lead list. Offer an exclusive e-book for contact information, or promote your e-newsletter sign up to your Facebook fans. This process involves a well-balanced give-and-take, so you have to give as much (or more) than you ask for. The key to this balance is to provide plenty of free content such as white papers and videos, in addition to the content created specifically for lead generation.
3. Attract fans with a sweepstakes or contest.
Everyone loves winning, but B2B companies can have a difficult time finding contests or sweepstakes that work with their niche industry. If your product or service doesn’t lend itself to prizes, you may consider partnering with another company to provide you with valuable prizes that entice people to like your Facebook page. Your contest partner will also benefit from the added exposure and will likely attract many of its own new fans.
Just be careful to understand Facebook’s promotion guidelines before launching a sweepstakes or contest. Facebook requires that promotions be run on a separate page, such as a canvas page or as an app on a page tab, and does not allow certain communications to take place on your wall. Check out the guidelines here.
4. Make friends with EdgeRank.
EdgeRank is Facebook’s algorithm for finding the best content to include in users’ news feeds. Understanding this algorithm is crucial for staying on your fans’ feeds, and therefore, continuing to share lead generating content. EdgeRank loves content that ignites interaction and is relevant to the community. This type of content includes compelling and creative posts, with the occasional personal post thrown in. For engaging content, try:
- Creating posts that offer value, rather than sales pitches
- Posting at different times of the day and on weekends
- Asking open-ended questions and inviting comments
- Limiting posts to no more than one or two per day
EdgeRank also loves posts that include photos and videos, so be sure to mix up your text-only posts with these visually engaging ones.
5. Go beyond Facebook.
Take the lead generating engagement beyond Facebook by embedding plug-ins and widgets into your business’s website. Include Facebook sharing buttons in your emails and landing pages so people can easily share your offers with their own networks. An effective Facebook marketing strategy is one that is integrated with the other marketing tactics your company uses. Whenever you create a new marketing initiative or communications piece, ask yourself, “How can I integrate this with Facebook?”
Have you found an effective way to generate leads through your Facebook page? Share your B2B Facebook success story in the comments section below.
Image courtesy of creative design agency ArraeGoogle+