Many businesses are unsure about how to approach social networking sites like Facebook and are constantly questioning whether the medium is right for their business. Facebook is a great tool for any business to use, whether you’re a B2C business or a B2B. For a B2C business, it is an easy and effective way to talk directly to your customers, engage with them and discreetly market your products. For a B2B business like us, it is a way to create brand awareness, share content, establish an image and create a social media presence.
Businesses, both B2C and B2B, often struggle to create engaging content that is also relevant to their brand. They use Facebook to hard sell and show their audience they are pushing for clicks to their site, or they will post content that they know audiences will engage with, but is totally irrelevant to their business.
While Facebook is not a science and the rules are constantly changing, there are some useful ways to use it to your advantage, allowing you to engage your audience and discreetly drive clicks to your website.
Create Engaging Content
Before posting anything on Facebook, think, ‘Will my audience want to share this post with their friends?’ Leaders in social media, like Mari Smith and Mike Gingerich, believe that your Facebook followers will only engage with your content, whether it is a simple like or a comment, if it something they are okay with their Facebook friends seeing. The way that Facebook currently operates means that any content you engage with on Facebook will show up on your friends’ news feed saying that you commented, liked, or shared that post. For businesses, the key thing to remember when posting on Facebook is that your followers are very careful about what they like, share or comment on, because they know their friends can see what they do. This means you need to create or share the kind of content that people want to then share with their friends. Your posts need to have at least one engaging element, whether it be funny, interesting, newsworthy, educational, shocking or timely.
For example, for a fishing tackle store, create a weekly segment where you ask your followers to send in their best catch from the weekend where the lucky winner will get their photo shared on the store’s Facebook page. For a fishing tackle store, this kind of post helps them to humanise their business, show their passion for fishing, show their appreciation for their customers and fans, and in turn, appeal to the interests of their Facebook followers.
If you are a B2B business and there is an advance or development in your industry, post an educational video of one your employees explaining the changes in the industry and what it could mean for the stakeholders in your business. While the followers of a B2B business on Facebook may not be direct customers (however, you never know who is behind the computer), they are at the very least, people who are interested in your business and industry. By posting educational videos, it shows that you are knowledgeable, up-to-date and willing to help people.
Connect and engage with your fans and followers directly
If you sell something, you make a customer today; if you help someone, you make a customer for life. – Jay Baer, Youtility
Both B2B and B2C businesses have the opportunity to connect and help their customers or potential clients over Facebook. Facebook is a great customer service tool, an easy way to humanise your business and a simple way to connect with your audience on a personal level.
These days it is not uncommon to see customers reviewing businesses on the company’s Facebook page. Providing great customer service on such a public platform is a great way to earn yourself some good PR and show other Facebook users the quality customer service your business can provide. You can turn a disgruntled, unhappy customer into an activist for your brand all in the space of 10 minutes and 3 comments.
Have a look at this post:
Shanelle Clapham had been trying to call Fitness First to cancel her membership because of an injury she had sustained and was getting nowhere. After posting a public complaint to their Facebook page, Shanelle received a quick response on Facebook followed up by a call 5 minutes later. Shanelle then said of the experience, ‘By using social media as a customer service tool, Fitness First turned my opinion around in less than 10 minutes. So to show my gratitude, I returned to their Facebook page and posted my good experience so that their users could see the full story’.
For a B2B business where comments may not be coming in as frequently, Facebook can be used to engage with the fans commenting on your posts. This is a great way to show that as a business, you are interested in how followers are perceiving your content and are keen to hear their thoughts and opinions.
As shown in the example above, from simply commenting and engaging with your followers, you can humanise your business by creating a personality and relating to your audience.
Manage your Brand Image
Using Facebook is an easy way to create a brand image. Your profile is free space that is completely your own. Here you have full control over the images, content and messages that will be displayed to your fans and reflect your brand image. If you want to show your fans that you are up-to-date on the latest industry news, you can do this by consistently posting and sharing news content and offering your opinions. If you want your fans to know that you are an environmentally friendly business that supports different environmental movements, your Facebook profile is where you can really promote this. You can further show the personality of your business by the other pages you follow and the content you engage with. Being methodical about what you like and what content you interact is a smart and easy way to help build your brand image.
In terms of marketing, it is obviously a great way to promote your unique selling proposition/point (USP) and help followers understand what sets you apart from your competitors. You can expand on your strengths via your social media profile. By keeping your Facebook profile consistent with your brand’s characteristics that are displayed on your website and other media forms, you can really further your brand’s integrity.
Overall, it is clear to see that Facebook is a tool that both a B2B and B2C business can take advantage of. It is a free and simple resource that can be used to keep your company looking modern and is a great platform for engaging with followers, helping potential or current customers and establishing and conveying your brand’s identity.