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In my previous post on B2B Facebook page marketing, I outlined the emerging and evolving case for adding Facebook to your B2B marketing arsenal and offered some advice on the type of strategies you might adopt. Here, I'll run through a number of current Facebook sites which show how B2B companies might use the platform to promote their business.
Solid B2B success stories in social media remain few and far between - especially when it comes to Facebook. So, by way of follow up, I wanted to showcase some B2B examples. Despite all the talk of Facebook becoming more mainstream in business, successful B2B case studies are actually pretty thin on the ground. Not surprisingly there is an abundance of consumer examples to choice from. The top five Facebook sites (based on likes) include Coca Cola, Starbucks, Oreo, Red Bull and Converse, which doesn’t help us much in B2B.
So, I thought I’d start by reviewing some of the top B2B brands drawing on the list of Business Superbrands for 2011. Disappointingly, most of the top ten – including Rolls Royce, Blackberry, Microsoft and Google straddle the B2B/B2c divide so can not be used as credible B2B case studies.
But digging a little deeper, there are some useful big B2B and small B2B on which to base some applicable learnings, so I've used a mixture of each.
Though they probably have the budget, resource and the brand cache to deliver big followings, we can still learn from the giants of finance and technology on how they use Facebook as an engagement tool. PWC below, use their profile in a number of ways – from broadcasting relevant news to interacting with jobseekers. The branding is subtle, the tone respectful.
The most interesting current element of the page is the interactive CEO survey, which perhaps a little too obviously actually sends traffic away to the main PWC site. A poor strategy, but who am I to argue as they have 43,000 followers.
Cisco have gone down a slightly different path, maximising the brand look and feel that a Facebook business page offers together with the integration of other social media platforms to create a real hub of activity. Again, the wall posts are a combination of broadcast news and views from the company with some discussion focused questions to tease followers out.
But where Cisco excels is with its blog and the You Tube channel, highlighted above. Keeping this content within Facebook is a clear demonstration that they take the platform seriously and helps to increase the likelihood of the content achieving viral status.
The first noticeable thing about construction company Saint Gobain’s Facebook page is the multi-lingual discussion as befitting an international company. This flag’s the importance of having multi-lingual administrators if your business is globally facing. Again there is a rich blend of photo, video, events, links and other information to encourage interested people to interact.
Ingersoll Rand uses video as a major part of its wall and discussion strategy, seeking to bring every piece of content to life. Scroll through the wall and you’ll see how the posts with video, for the most part, have more likes and more shares than those that don’t. This is no accident.
Ingersoll is also making good use of the ability to list job openings on the site too - with posts that are right up to date!
Here is another example and one that was mentioned in the Smart Insights Linkedin forum. Hay Group has created a fictional character Jana as the central element of a B2B focused campaign designed to engage people in discussion around the future of leadership. Again, if you scroll through, you'll see some interesting discussions taking off around age gaps in the workplace, management and motivation in the future - all things that need to be considered by successful leaders.
The page is in it’s infancy, but the issues being raised and the way it is being done looks promising.
To prove you shouldn’t be hiding behind money, resource, time and relevance as an excuse, here is a great example from the legal sector. If ever a sector had a challenge in engaging prospects, this is it.
With a niche regional audience to target, Mack Solicitors do a great job fusing the local regional and national content with targeted legal advice and tips - with the campaignable 'Just Ask Macks' tag.
This is a great example of a business with a tight geographical market using Facebook on a regional level whilst also tapping into the national news agenda when appropriate.
The objective of using Facebook is really around driving engagement and relationship. Like other marketing tools, there is a need to identify your audience and talk their language. Talk about the things of interest to them - this link will help. Recognise their challenges and offer solutions.
By Rene Power
René Power, has been the Smart Insights Expert commentator on B2B marketing for over four years. He consults, talks and trains on the deployment of the full marketing mix within trade B2B sectors including packaging, food, science, construction, engineering and professional services. He specializes in integrating digital with traditional and demystifying digital marketing, social media and content marketing for trade B2B companies. A Chartered Marketer, René authors the The Marketing Assassin blog, shares updates on Twitter @renepower and you can connect via Linkedin. Rene also authored the recently updated Smart Insights Expert members guide: 7 Steps to Brilliant B2B Digital Marketing guide.
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