A little while ago I wrote a post about 20 Examples of Great Facebook Fan Pages . Most of the HubSpot blog readers found the examples eye-catching and inspiring, but many of the comments contained a similar yearning to see if these same concepts could be applied to B2B businesses.
Like the general idea of inbound marketing can be applied to both B2C and B2B companies, so too can the Facebook marketing techniques portrayed in the previous examples. In order to understand how to incorporate these principles into a B2B Facebook Fan Page , we must first make sure that we understand the objectives of these pages.
Engage Your Audience
One of the main reasons that people "Like" a page is because they want to stay up to date with the latest happenings at a particular company. Just like a company blog, if your Facebook Fan Page is rarely updated, people aren't going to have much incentive to "Like" your page. It's important to update your page with content such as relevant company info and also interesting things going on in your industry.
Encourage Sharing with Others
Other ways to engage your audience include holding contests or offering specials to fans. People love free stuff, and contests and specials are a great way to encourage fans to share your page with others. It is very common for friends on social networks to have similar interests or work in the same industry. Creating events that encourage current fans to share with others is an excellent way to extend your reach to those who are likely a good fit for your business.
Create a Conversation
This objective is similar to engaging your audience but takes it one step further. If you are regularly creating great content and sharing it, people will be more inclined to keep coming back to visit your Facebook Fan Page. If you're actively participating in conversations with visitors in the comments and on your page's wall, you will see an even better response. Showing your fans that behind your company logo is an actual person with whom they can interact is a great way to create happy customers who might even tell their friends about you :)
Now that I've talked about some of the goals of the Facebook Fan Page, I'm going to share a few examples of B2B Fan Pages that I found particularly well-executed. As requested, you can visit the Fan Pages by clicking on the images.
Like many of the Fan Pages I mentioned in my last blog post, SalesForce has a very strong call-to-action on its welcome page. Who doesn't want to say they "do impossible things with [their] team?" They also take the opportunity to promote their newest product, Chatter. SalesForce has also integrated YouTube, Twitter, and Slideshare in order to share a wide variety of content with their fans.
Another excellently executed CTA that tells the visitor exactly what to do. They do a very good job with the photos section showing off IdeaPaint in action. IdeaPaint at work, at school, at the gym... I had no idea until I went to their Fan Page. Lastly, they include a link to their shop right on the Fan Page, which is great. Now there's no searching around - once a visitor is convinced that IdeaPaint is a great product, they'll know exactly where to go.
If you take a look at Forrester's wall, you'll see a consistent stream of posts that come from both Forrester themselves as well as a number of fans. Although their design might not be the most elegant, it is clear they are working hard to engage their audience.
There are a couple features that make SteelMaster Buildings' page stand out to me. The 'Free Quote Request' and the 'Find a Steel Building Near You' pages are another great example of making the viewer's visit as enjoyable as possible. Instead of requiring you to call someone for a quote, go to their homepage, or go to Google to search for the closest location, you can do this all from within their Facebook Fan Page.
On Cisco's Fan Page you can become a "Cisco SuperFan" just by posting a photo of yourself. Although only Cisco can post to their wall, they consistently post new content, and their posts get a number of comments and "Likes". They have also integrated their YouTube, Twitter, and Flickr accounts for even more interaction.
As mentioned earlier, people love getting specials and free stuff. Symantec takes advantage of this by offering specials right on their welcome page. They also include a "Weekly Poll" which encourages audience participation and keeps their fans interested week after week. Lastly, like we've seen with most of the examples, Symantec connects its other various social networks to its Facebook Fan Page, so that the Fan Page can act as a hub for all of Symantec's activities.
Unlike many of the other examples, Neenah Paper doesn't have a Twitter or YouTube account associated with their Facebook Page, but even without these they do a great job of engaging with their audience. One particular feature that I think is great about their Fan Page is their Events section, in which they list all of their upcoming events. This ability to bridge online and offline worlds is critical for any B2B company looking to make its presence online.
As you can see from these examples, a lot of the best practices for B2C Facebook Fan Pages can be applied to B2B businesses as well. Although your results as far as number of fans may not be comparable, at the end of the day it's about communicating with your audience and sharing valuable information with them. Whether you have 100 fans or 100,000 fans, making these fans as pleased with your company as possible should be the number one goal. Do this and they'll do their part to share the value of your business with the world.
What examples would you add to this list?