Despite its impressive presence [750 million active users as of this writing per Facebook's statistics], Facebook isn't always taken seriously as a B2B marketing platform. Yet, many B2B businesses have successfully built closeknit communities of fans and customers.
Ever since hearing Jeff Widman, who specializes in Facebook marketing for business [he has recently launched PageLever] and Ekaterina Walter, who expertly guides Intel's Facebook Fan Page, at MarketingProfs events, I've been more respectful of Facebook and extremely curious how businesses make sense of Facebook.
[Note: Ekaterina Walter inspired my post about Facebook Fan Page Guidelines or House Rules.]Hence my interest in the MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2011 presentation titled Using Facebook for Effective B2B Marketing with Jeffrey L. Cohen, Social Media Marketing Manager, Howard, Merrell and Partners, Deirdre Walsh, Senior Social Media Manager, Jive Software, and Susan Solomon, VP Marketing, St. Joseph Health System. It didn't disappoint!
Let me review some highlights.
Best B2B Facebook Practices for Planning:
1. Define your Facebook business goals. Define what your Facebook fans will get out of your Facebook marketing. What kind of information will you share? News, discounts, recognition?
2. Integrate Facebook into the properties you own: your website, your news releases, etc.
3. Listening & Engaging used to be nice to have, but both are now critical. Per the FTC, you must have employee guidelines and training, be truthful in all communications and monitor/correct mistakes. This means you must be actively listening, adding value and building relationships on Facebook and elsewhere.
4. Build. Participate in something valuable. Did you know that 20% of the most popular pages don't own the Facebook pages for their brands?
5. Activate. It's critical to note who your key influencers are on Facebook. They share your news in their newsfeed, help spread positive messages and come to your defense.
6. Analyze your activity, reach, brand mentions, engagement. Think about your objectives and link back to those in what you measure and analyze on Facebook.
Best Business Practices for Facebook Content
1. Create a Facebook editorial calendar and track its progress. Monitor date of post, content, if shared on other sites, source of content, etc. Judge its performance over 30 days to determine what works.
2. Integrate social content with other content your company creates. Take a white paper and chunk it into blogposts, promote it on Facebook, post a Slideshare and mention it in an email newsletter. Become a better content curator.
3. Humanize the brand and make your content more engaging. Facebook loves rich media. Make sure to include the human face behind those posting on Facebook.
4. Offer special incentives just for fans. It makes them feel special and maintains engagement. Be cautious about automated posts on Facebook [which punishes autoposting].
The Facebook Newsfeed
I can't say enough about the importance of the Facebook Newsfeed. It's governed by Facebook's proprietary algorithm known as EdgeRank [see EdgeRank: The Secret Sauce That Makes Facebook's News Feed Tick] which takes into account affinity between the person viewing content and the creator of the content + how heavily weighted an interaction is + time decay.
The implications? Encourage engagement on your Facebook Fan page, drive traffic there, ask people to like your posts!
Check out the EdgeRank Checker to find out what your score is [for the last 2 weeks, Simple Marketing Now's Facebook Fan Page has an EdgeRank of 22; best EdgeRank day is Thursday; worst is Monday; most new fans on Monday, Friday].
You'll note in the presentation embedded below many terrific examples of Facebook Welcome Pages or Landing Pages, Calls to Action and Facebook ads.