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Facebook has won.
One billion members with 50% active daily usage is astounding. Everyone, I mean everyone, I know is on Facebook and some are hopelessly addicted.
However, I maintained a smug aloofness toward Facebook.
While I enthusiastically endorsed Facebook as a B2C marketing platform, I routinely voted it off the B2B marketing island. I felt that business people didn’t fool around with photos and chat.
Looks like I’m wrong.
B2B warriors love Facebook and are likely to be spending their lunch hour, dead time between meetings, and commutes engaging with their network of friends. Heck, almost all of my clients are on Facebook and are wondering where they hell I’ve been.
Drinking the Facebook Kool-Aid
I recently started a general forum on my PS Mastermind. The Mastermind was password-protected and open to clients and PS Mastermind subscribers. The forum seemed like a no-brainer. I wanted to connect with more readers and the Mastermind community is where I wanted to have the conversation.
Even with my best intentions, the forum died an anonymous death.
It seems that if people are going to log in to have conversations, they go to Facebook, not the PS Mastermind. Yes, that realization hurt but it was 100% true.
So, I pivoted and created a private Pushing Social Mastermind Group on Facebook.
I emailed a small group of PS readers and clients inviting them to the group. The response has been overwhelming spawning a feisty PS tribe on Facebook. The success makes sense, most people were already on Facebook and now they can participate in the group with one click.
That’a all I needed to see. I gathered my social chips and shoved them into the Facebook pot.
When Does Facebook Make Sense?
For most B2B companies, LinkedIn is a no-brainer. But LinkedIn fills a different role for most customers. Using LinkedIn is an event. Want to research a new prospect? Search on LinkedIn. Want to promote your latest blog post to a professional audience? Update LinkedIn. Need to talk to sales managers in Pittsburgh? Place an ad on LinkedIn.
Facebook is much different.
Facebook is the social dial tone for most users. Photos, social events, chats, video, social games is woven into the Facebook experience. Facebook users rarely sign-off. Facebook is almost as important as their telephone.
This means that Facebook is ideal if you want to reach customers where it is easy for them to respond and participate.
Use the three questions as a litmus test for evaluating your Facebook readiness:
Where are our customers spending time online?
Think about your customer’s entire experience. It’s likely that your customers are on Facebook when they aren’t actively searching for a specific product solution.
Can we offer information, entertainment, or access that customers will value?
It’s easy to underestimate the value customers place on interacting with other like-minded professionals. Simply providing an online place to gather and trade insights can support a B2B Facebook strategy. Funny photos and satirical postcards help but aren’t required.
Can we sustain our activity?
Can you stay engaged even when you don’t get any feedback from your audience? It might be months before you see audience engagement. In social media, the most persistent wins. Can you stick with Facebook for at least 12 months?
B2B Facebook Strategies Worth Testing…
I know that Facebook is a tough sell to the white-collar tribe but consider these potential strategies:
The best way to keep a customer is to never miss a chance to entertain, educate, or inform them. Your customers are on Facebook. They are already committed to your product, so go one step further and invite them to a Facebook group focused on their product/service.
Monitoring and participating in this group will help identify your fans and identify problems before they spiral out of control. It also helps for your customers to rub digital elbows with other customers boosting social proof.
Social media has made excellent customer service a must-have for every company. We, as customers, wield incredible power and have amazing reach. Some businesses have reacted to this new power by refusing to participate on Facebook. The problem is that the conversation is happening with or without them. Customers are in control.
I recommend using Facebook as the “tip of the spear”. Talk to unhappy customers. Thank repeat customers. Promote and support fans. I trust companies that handle bad situations with wisdom, urgency, and optimism. Facebook is a great way to showcase that you treat your customers (even the bad ones) with respect.
Prospects and clients want to know what makes your business tick. A Facebook page is a natural way to showcase photos,videos, interesting (even quirky) news and events.
This isn’t a must-do in my opinion. Your business may not have a rip-roaring good time every day. Don’t force something that doesn’t feel right. Check in with your team to see if there is interest in starting and maintaining a Facebook presence. Skip it if you get a tepid reception. It’s better to focus on other areas then try to keep a poorly supported Facebook page on life-support.