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B2B marketing on Facebook

Written by Rob | 03-Mar-2016 17:03:50

If your target audience is predominantly B2B, then you’ll probably think of LinkedIn as your main social media marketing channel. It doesn’t have to be the only channel though.

When you’re looking to target business professionals, it makes sense to target a professional network such as LinkedIn. With opportunities to run text ads or sponsor company page updates, or nurture leads with Lead Accelerator, LinkedIn provides access to 20 million signed up members in the UK who can be specifically targeted to include or exclude a variety of demographics. As a business you want to promote your company and by sharing updates you are also able to use content to drive traffic back to your website.

All these advertising opportunities also exist on Facebook. Seeing as behind every business is a group of individuals, these days it’s less and less about B2B or B2C, more about P2P (person to person) marketing. As such, there’s no reason to exclude Facebook from your marketing strategy. You can tailor suitable content and advertising that will be of interest and relevance to any number of segments of the 38 million Facebook users in the UK. While the audience may not necessarily engage on that channel professionally, they will be open to consume business content in their own social time.

As with any marketing channel, Facebook needs to be looked at in a very different light to LinkedIn. We do a lot of work with Panasonic, and recently we trialled B2B advertising on Facebook. Before we could launch the campaign we considered what we wanted the campaign to achieve, how we could sustain it and, most importantly, whowe wanted to target and which profiling characteristics we should apply. Here are the resulting top tips we’ve identified that may help your business get the most out of using Facebook for marketing to business professionals:

Create custom audiences

One of the most effective ways to target specific audiences involves a little IT work. By adding a pixel code to your web pages, you can create a custom audience that specifically targets anyone using Facebook who has previously visited pages of your website. It doesn’t take long to set up and when you create a campaign, you can target previous web visitors up to the last 180 days.

You also have the option to create a customer list. This option matches information you hold about your customers (i.e. email address or phone numbers) to people who are on Facebook. The downside for this option is that most Facebook account details are likely to be personal (yahoo or gmail.com), as opposed to the business (yourcompany.co.uk) data you probably hold.

If you’re familiar with using Facebook’s PowerEditor, you can use a function to create a “lookalike” audience. This can make use of any pixel tracking codes you’ve added to your website, or simply be based on the profiles of people who already like your Facebook page. As your page starts to get new “likes”, this latter profile may be one to target; but in the early days (especially if your page is mainly “liked” by friends or colleagues), this may be an option to temporarily exclude from your targeting.

Make use of targeting options

There are many other ways to target customers. Thinking specifically about the corporate landscape, you may want to target specific job titles, industries, companies. When you’re ready to set up your audience targeting take some time to familiarise yourself with the options available. You have a lot to choose from: geography, demographics, interests and behaviours.

As much as it’s important to include targeting criteria, remember there are options you may prefer to exclude. People who already like your page, people who work or have previously worked for you, people from your main competitors, for example.

Create a short to medium term content plan Once you start getting people to “like” your page, make sure you have a plan in place to keep them engaged. With Panasonic we spent a lot of time pulling together a range of content that we already had access to, along with new content that would be produced. Then we produced a schedule to ensure there was regular content being posted to both drive engagement on the Facebook page, as well as drive traffic to their website.

One piece of advice we give to clients is not to fall into the trap of being too “me, me, me.” Look at sharing related content from other Facebook pages or websites. This achieves two key things: one, it shows you’re as interested in the wider subject of your business; and two, you increase your visibility with the pages from where you have shared or liked other posts.

As a general rule of thumb, aim for an 80/20 split of your own content to other people’s content.

Use in-built tools and features You can show up to 5 tabs on your Facebook page, so this provides a great opportunity to share more content with your followers.

Taking Panasonic Toughbook & Toughpad as an example, we created a new tab for products/services, which enabled us to pull through product information and navigate people to the website for more information. This also included links to case studies and white papers, which also all linked back to their website. As part of the overall content strategy, all videos were uploaded to the “videos” tab. And we made use of one of Facebook’s apps to run a poll.

If you run events, make sure these are also uploaded to create an “Events” tab; and make use of albums to ensure uploaded photos are managed and accessible in a well ordered manner.

Advertise and promote

Don’t rely on your friends and colleagues to share your content. Unless you start really ramping up the reach for your page, you will only be talking to the same audience. Try also to avoid running a quick one-off campaign to test the channel. Some businesses run a short term campaign with a specific objective in mind, which is then deemed to have not worked if it doesn’t perform well. There are lots of variants to test when promoting on Facebook: the message, the post type, the audience, the day, time of day…

As part of our culture, we adopt a control, test and learn approach to pretty much everything we do. Consider allocating a reasonable portion of your budget, however small, and plan to use this over a month or two and run a combination of campaigns:

  • Page promotion – testing different target segments, as mentioned above, from people who visit your website to your ideal profiled persona and different interests
  • Boosted posts – as mentioned previously, continue testing interests and other demographics depending on the nature of your content
  • Event promotion – specifically targeting regions and interests
  • Lead generation - you can collect leads from within Facebook now, avoiding having the user leave the site to sign up for something (test signing up for newsletters, events, whitepapers or other relevant content)

There are many different ways you can use Facebook, which in some ways has a lot more flexibility than other channels. As it becomes a platform increasingly used for publishing content, there are a variety of ways to outreach your material and key messages to specifically defined audiences. Before you start though, think carefully about your core objectives and your target audiences, and plan to put in place a medium to long term plan of what you want to achieve from this channel.

If you would like any help developing your plans, please get in touch with our social and content team