I was speaking to George DeCarlo, Founder & CEO, Woobox after his company's recent launch of Instagram video promotions and took the moment to ask him something I'll long sought his opinion about: "Does Facebook work for B2Bs?"
There are lots of opinions on this. I've found social media analysts and practitioners say it does, while a surprising number of C-level clients I've worked with still need to be convinced. While examples of effective B2C Facebook marketing abound, there are fewer, less popular B2B studies.
So I asked, "Does it work?" "It all boils down to how people use the platform to interact with their B2B clients and colleagues," DeCarlo begins. "Its hard to market to them, but important to interact with them," he continues, "you want to provide them with knowledge as opposed to a hard sell, and hope that the knowledge you provide compels them to convert to a customer."
It worked for my B2B cloud client, who went from 1,700 to over 13,000 Facebook fans with it's Stop Bullying campaign.
And reasearch supports this. A Marketing Profs report late last year revealed 39% of B2B companies on Facebook report that the platform generated leads. And 19% of those leads are converted to sale.
According to DeCarlo, it's how the company interacts with those leads that determines if they will be converted into customers. Working with hundreds of thousands of brands, his conclusion is this: B2B Facebook pages take themselves too seriously.
"All business all the time makes for dull interactions," DeCarlo explains. "Social media is about building relationships, and the key to developing relationships is getting to know one another, and so you’ve got to show some personality." That's precisely what I advise my content marketing clients as well. Particularly in the dry, highly niched cloud computing space. Social media personality is an easy way to distinguish oneself from the black and white, cable and hardware pedlers.
"Take off your virtual business suit and get into your casual Friday apparel - fans want to feel like they are talking to a real person on social media," DeCarlo tells me. "Certainly some B2B companies have advantages over others, in that some are just inherently boring products or services," he says. "But the voice of the company can still engage in a creative and friendly manner, providing industry stats and company info in a conversational tone rather than marketing speak."