Using Facebook for a B2B (business-to-business) operation can be rather tricky. For one thing, your potential clients may not think to use Facebook for business. For another, they may work for organizations where access to most social media is blocked. (This also means using Facebook’s professional networking tool, BranchOut, may also be a problem.) So having a Facebook business page for a B2B company may not seem like a smart idea.
But whenever I give talks and tell people they shouldn’t use Facebook for B2B, there’s always someone in the audience who has a great story about how they’re having great success with it. And they all seem to have a few things in common.
First of all, their personality fits with the friendliness and outgoing nature that Facebook brings out in all of us. These business owners are friendly, gregarious, and downright fun. Their clients are their friends, and they know about their personal lives, keep up with birthdays, you know the type.
The people they’re involved with on Facebook are also emotionally committed to the success of the company, and connect with each other because of it, which has caused a sort of community to build up around the business. The clients all know each other, and they want to share in the success of their friends’ business. So they communicate with each other on the Facebook page, sharing ideas, exchanging information, and having conversations about their own businesses and industries.
As a result, this community becomes an important business community in its own right. Friends who have gathered around our first business start doing business with each other, and expanding the friendly atmosphere of that first business page into their own businesses.
Given all of this, your Facebook page can be a great place to share information too. Not only about your business, but about your friends’ businesses and industries too. Social media is about two-way communication, so here is a way to show your friends that you’re paying attention to them too.
Of course, you have to remember to add new content on an ongoing basis. That means asking and answering questions, starting discussions, and doing whatever it takes to keep people coming back. Facebook, like every other social media tool, needs to be used, or it will fall into disuse, and become just one more abandoned tool that litters many companies’ marketing efforts. Facebook may not be the best place to have a B2B presence online, but if the circumstances are right, and you do it correctly, it can be extremely effective.
About the author: Duncan Alney is the president and founder of Firebelly Marketing. He is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker, and photographer, and he’s working on his first social media marketing book, which will be out in late 2012. Duncan has lived on 3 continents and in 5 countries, but is proud to call Indianapolis home.
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