Tag Archives: Content marketing

Facebook: not made for B2B

16 Apr

Facebook started as a network for university students and grew to the biggest social network for all ages (approx. 1.06 billion monthly active users). Then Facebook needed to earn money and they re-invented themselves as a marketing tool. Facebook started to offer advertising space (ads), company pages and promoted posts to allow companies to use Facebook for their marketing purposes. Today there are many examples that marketing on Facebook actually works – as long as you are selling to consumers (B2C).

 Entertainment

Most Facebook users still look for distraction and entertainment. They want to connect with their friends and socialize, they share their life with their group of friends by posting updates, pictures, videos etc. to their Timeline. They read the posts of their friends and interact by clicking on “like”, leaving a comment or even sharing the post with his or her group of friends. People share what they think is interesting to their friends. Therefore spare time activities (family pictures, travel, events, music, movies, sports, shopping etc.) clearly dominate the posts – professional topics are still rather an exception.

B2B marketer face 2 main challenges on Facebook:

  1. How do I find my relevant target audience in Facebook?
  2. How can I produce relevant messages that are suitable for a social network?

1.Your target audience – or how to find the needle in the haystack?

B2B marketers often target a very specific audience. Imagine your company sells nuts & bolts, tractors or electronics parts. You want to reach people who buy these products (purchaser) or influence the purchasing decision (user, consultants etc.). How can you find the relevant few among the approx. 1 billion Facebook users? It’s a bit like the famous needle in a haystack. Unless your customers do not find you (e.g. because you promoted your Facebook page on other media) you will probably try to place an ad on Facebook. Obviously it is quite expensive and inefficient to show your ad to all users. Therefore Facebook allows you to filter the audience with a set of mostly predefined categories. Most of these categories (gender, age, hobbies etc.) are not very helpful for a B2B marketer. The most relevant one is certainly the “precise interest” field. There you can play around with search terms that are relevant for your area of business (products, brands, competitors etc.). Facebook will show you immediately how many users have expressed interest in these areas on their Timelines and gives you the possibility to target them. So if someone states on his Timeline that he or she likes tractors, is in a tractor-lovers group or liked another page about tractors you will be able to find them. But the more specific your business is the more difficult it will be to find your target audience on Facebook. Who will state on a social network that he or she is a professional buyer for toilet seats? So chances are high that it will take you a long time to build up a fan base. 

2.Virality: entertain or in vain 

If many people share and like a post it gets viral and reaches a lot of people beyond the original audience (group of friends of the original author). Companies obviously hope for similar effects to distribute their marketing messages to a larger audience. Unfortunately viral effects are not guaranteed. When you start a company page, only the few people who like your page (fans) will automatically see your posts on their news stream. More fans means more people get to see your message. A larger number of fans also increase the chance that one of your posts might get viral. But this is only one part of the game – the most important factor is the content of your post.

Especially for B2B marketer it is challenging to produce and distribute relevant content that is suitable for a social network like Facebook. As stated before, most people use Facebook for entertainment purposes. Therefore entertaining content has a much higher chance to get liked and shared. Our experience shows that entertaining content performs approx. 10 times better than normal business content (in terms of “likes” and “shares”). As a consequence it is very unlikely that your business content ever gets viral and will be seen beyond your original audience (fans of your page). For most friends of your fans it will simply be irrelevant – unless they have a similar job. The viral effect in a social network can unfortunately also work against you – and this is also true for B2B. Bad news about your company can easily be spread and become real “shitstorms”.

Summary:

If you want to add Social Media to your B2B marketing strategy and budget and resources are limited, marketing on Facebook would not be our first choice. First priority is to continuously create good content that then can be leveraged across multiple social platforms. Post your articles, videos etc. on a company blog and promote them through professional networks like LinkedIn and Xing that offer excellent targeting options. Users of these platforms are more open for professional content than Facebook users. This strategy also helps you to drive more traffic to your homepage and improves search ranks.

Gaining followers on Facebook is more difficult and more time-consuming for B2B companies. So do not expect short-term results. If you start a Facebook company page then do it for the right reasons. A good Facebook page can contribute to the company image and play an important part in an employer branding strategy. Lead generation is more difficult than in other professional networks like LinkedIn and Xing because Facebook was simply not made for B2B.

Author: Christoph Grass

Google

Advertisements

SEO, What You Need To Know (Part 3 of 3)

2 Apr

Part 3: Getting social about SEO

Today, a successful website is all about making connections.

If you aren’t including social media / web participation in your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) processes you won’t be getting the full benefits of either.

social_media_icons

Bring Your Customers Together

Why?

Because social media is all about sharing.

People vote, comment and most importantly, link (a fundamental part of SEO) to what engages and interests them. This linking is literally lead generation for your business.

When those links are inbound to your web pages, you’ll do better on search engine rankings and get a lot more traffic to your site.

With careful planning and a set goal, SEO with Social Media can be a powerful tool in your marketing strategy, especially as an active component to content marketing.

This means creating SEO optimised content that truly connects with your audience, that engages them in such a way that they want (if not need) to share the experience with others.

It is not about content that directly ‘sells’ but that does influence the reader’s thinking in that direction.

And once you have everyone sharing, talking and visiting your site, your chances of converting visitors to customers is greatly enhanced.

To achieve this you need a two-step strategy:

  1. An overall SEO / Social Media framework
  2. A direct way to set it up and get working

FIRST: Establish your Framework:

  •  Identify / get your audience
    • Do your research and fully define who they are, where they are, and what they want.
    • One way to help do this is by using social media monitoring software such as Salesforce Radian6.
  • Define your objectives and strategy
    • Be clear about what you want to achieve. How you work towards more sales will be different to how you work towards enhancing your brand.
    • Look at the best ways of doing that through optimised content and interaction.
    • Organise a framework of connected social media sites that encourages easy sharing and proactive promotion.
  • Get connected
    • Where does your target audience spend its time online, which social media is most used?
    • Link them all up.
  • Optimise with SEO
  • Measure your goals
    • Look at social media and web analytic tools.

SECOND: Get to work:

Once you have a set framework established, it’s all about the day-to-day business of connecting with your audience.

Here are a few steps to help you on your way:

  • Register with the most relevant and major social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
    • They’re where your audience is and by being on them you build credibility with search engines.
  • Display your social media ‘share’ buttons on every relevant page of your websites and blogs (remembering every time a user clicks on them improves your credibility and ranking), for example:
    • Facebook users will “like” your page and their friends will see that
    • You can also use a ‘catch all’ service such as: http://share.lockerz.com/
  •  Display your social media ‘connect’ buttons (as above)
    • Visitors can then directly follow your Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, etc. within their preferred social media channel rather than always revisitting your site.
  • Develop your content and distribute it across all of them
    • Make it new, interesting and relevant
    • Optimise it for SEO
    • Publish a lot of it
    • Encourage comments and respond to them
  • Build an ‘opt-in’ email list for direct marketing campaigns
  • Promote, promote and promote your posts
    • Syndicate them across all of your social channels
    • Comment on blogs (with links back to your site)
    • Participate in forums
    • Send out press releases
    • etc.
  • Take the time, a lot of time, to do it right.

Once all the pieces are in place, you can better connect with your audience, achieve higher search engine rankings, and cost-effectively promote your business by having your own customers do (a fair bit of) the work for you.

By combining SEO with your Social Media strategy, the benefits are virtually unlimited.

Click here to read part 1 and here to read part 2.

Author:  Paul Treleaven

%d bloggers like this: