I once went to a marketing conference. I don't remember the name of it.
What I do remember is that some smart person presented about the difference between B2B and B2C marketing. Smart Guy said, "B2B is still P2P" (meaning person-to-person, not peer-to-peer illegal downloading ;).
The thing is, I don't remember his name either, so I can't give him credit. Now, I like to strut around the office poofy-chested and pretend I came up with it ... though at the time, I was placing palm to forehead and wondering why I wasn't the cool person who strung those four words together. It's so simple.
Yet a lot of us B2B marketers still get hung up on what to say and how to act in social media. It's as if selling to people who work at companies somehow regresses our interpersonal skills. It shouldn't. There really isn't that much of a difference, and we can rejoice knowing that we can continue going about business both online and off just as if we were speaking to one another -- in person -- over a BBQ frisbee and some iced tea at California Pizza Kitchen.
And we've seen first hand how successful you can be on social media if you think of B2B like P2P. The HubSpot Facebook Page has amassed over 570,000 fans and generated 190,000 leads, and we’ve done that by focusing on people. We've also learned a few things along the way about what types of content to create and share on Facebook to generate those fans and leads.
1) You Don't Need a Facebook Strategy. You Need a Content Strategy.
At HubSpot, we create content like blog posts, presentations, templates, and ebooks that aim to make the jobs of marketers easier. All this content creation arms our social media manager with a library of resources to promote in unique ways on Facebook. Without all this helpful content, we'd simply have nothing interesting to post or advertise on Facebook, and we sure as heck wouldn't generate any leads! You can't play Scrabble without any letters, now can you?
2) To Generate Leads, You Can't Only Post Lead Gen Content.
It just doesn't work. The key to generating leads on Facebook is to post a variety of content that will sometimes address goals other than generating leads or driving sales. Aiming for “fluffier” goals like reach, awareness, buzz, customer satisfaction, and engagement (comments, likes, shares) are just as important as rigid lead gen or sales goals. They’re the stepping-stones to what you really want: more business. That’s why a balance is so important. No eyeballs --> no clicks --> no leads for you.
3) Have a Non-Lead Gen Goal for Every Post.
Although our ultimate goal on Facebook is to generate leads all the leads all the time, we have immediate engagement goals for each post we publish, and those goals can vary. You can't always address them all with one post. Sometimes we really want to encourage comments because we want feedback. Other times, we may strive to for a high volume of shares because we want a particular message to spread as far and wide as possible. We first focus on those eyeballs --> then we get those clicks --> then we get those leads.
4) Whatever You Do, Don't Skimp on the Visuals.
We may not always be sure what we’re posting will incite the interaction we desire, but one thing can be sure of is we’re better off posting a photo as opposed to a link, video, or plain ol’ status update.
In a recent 30-day experiment, we found that the click-through rate of posts containing photos is 128% higher than the CTR of posts containing videos or links. We also know photos on Facebook generate 53% more Likes than the average post. That's why, no matter what we’re trying to communicate, we try to do it visually. If our social media manager doesn’t have a pre-made image to work with, doggonit she’ll spend the time creating one or she's banned from the beer fridge!
5) Oh Yeah ... You Probably Gotta Advertise.
The people who “Like” our company already know about us, but that doesn’t mean they even know what we sell, or that they’re ideal future customers. Even though we’re approaching 600,000 fans, only a fraction of those people actually have the need and authority to buy our all-in-one software.
That’s why we also pay to reach marketers who fit our target and are not yet connected to our page using various types of Facebook ads. But even though we advertise, we're not advertising our software. We're advertising all that helpful content we created. Jay Baer calls this pro tip "marketing your marketing." You're gonna wanna do that.