Five Ways to Find Leads from Facebook
Can Facebook really generate leads for B2B companies? For many that try to attract and engage fans through the networking site, there is something fundamentally awkward about the attempt.
Indeed, Facebook "can be a lonely place for B2B marketers," says Joe Chernov, vice president of content marketing for Eloqua, a marketing technology company in Vienna, Va. "It's definitely not as natural a fit in B2B as it is for a consumer brand." B2B companies, he adds, "need to work a little harder, get a little more creative."
B2B marketers are increasingly looking to Facebook as a content distribution and engagement channel. In 2011, 70 percent of B2B marketers used Facebook to share content with their networks, a 30 percent increase over the previous year, according to a study by MarketingProfs in partnership with the Content Marketing Institute.
Here's the key to B2B success on Facebook: Embrace the idea of it as a rich network that allows you to connect with prospects and customers--in other words, actual people. Even though your business is catering to other businesses--you might sell HVAC units to commercial real estate builders, or you might e-mail marketing services to nonprofits--there is still one person (or perhaps, a series of people) who will ultimately make the purchase. Recalibrate your thinking. Even in B2B, the goal is to reach and engage with flesh-and-blood individuals.
At the same time, Facebook is a busy place. It has a larger population than any country in the world, except China and India. According to Facebook, its citizens are highly active, visiting the site an average of 40 times per month for an average of 23 minutes per visit. What that means for the B2B marketer is that business updates are competing with potentially far more compelling stuff (photos, party invites and what does that hot guy from high school look like now, anyway?)
Nonetheless, Facebook can work quite well for many B2B companies. Here are five ways to use it to increase engagement and generate leads. One important note: For any of this, your company must have a business page, not just an individual profile. (For guidance, see Facebook.com/business.)