The Marketing Advantage

Connecting You with Your Customers

All or Nothing at All

Posted by advantagemarketing on March 21, 2011


Facebook for business

Companies that are successful on Facebook make an effort to communicate frequently with fans -- turning casual followers into brand advocates.

Why your commitment to Facebook makes all the difference

By Christian DeGobbi

I believe Frank Sinatra put it perfectly.  In life, whether it be personally or professionally, either you give it all you got or don’t bother.  To quote the master crooner, “There ain’t no in-between.”  When it comes to Facebook, this could not be more true.

The companies who are successful with Facebook today have lots of “friends” because their pages are fun and informative places to visit.  They are full of great content, have engaging pictures and videos, post frequent news and comments, and make an effort to communicate with their fans on a regular basis – a critical step in turning casual followers into a brand advocates.

Savvy marketing managers and companies understand that Facebook is quickly changing from a secondary to a primary source of interaction with customers, leapfrogging even the company website.  In fact, I recently read that some companies’ Facebook sites are so successful that they generate more monthly traffic than their websites!

But what about the not-so-successful companies?  For example, those that have a Facebook page but neglect to keep it current, vibrant and engaging.  Aren’t they really doing their brand image more harm than good?  Would you start painting your house then, halfway through, just stop and not finish the job?  It probably would have looked better had you never started.  That’s what it’s like with Facebook.  Many companies, both large and small, start a Facebook page because they feel they have to, because, “Hey, everyone else is doing it!”  Then, with no plan in place, it falls by the wayside and leaves visitors with a bad taste in their mouths.  Big mistake!

You don’t need to hire a dedicated social media staff to run a successful Facebook page but you must have a practical strategy in place. To be successful, you must, at a minimum:

  • Define your audience
    • Your Facebook audience may be different than your Twitter audience or the individuals who visit your website.  Know your audience.  Know what they like.
  • Assign a person or team for managing/updating Facebook
    • Determine and define everyone’s roles before creating your Facebook page.
  • Dedicate time every day to managing/updating Facebook
    • Anywhere between a ½ hour to an hour a day can help keep your Facebook page up-to-date and relevant.
  • Intrigue your audience with engaging content
    • Create a publishing calendar of the content (reports, whitepapers, videos, etc.) you plan to (and know you can!) create to avoid prolonged content gaps.  Set deadlines to help you stick with it.
  • Engage your followers
    • Make it a point to join some of the conversations taking place on your site.  Be mindful to use a friendly, approachable tone and don’t come across too pushy, like all you are interested in is pushing the person through the sales cycle.

Some smaller B2B companies that I see leveraging Facebook very well are Landmark Creations, Idea Paint, and Unified360.  They have a great mix of interesting content, timely posts, informational videos, engaging pictures and interact with their followers.

Social media, especially Facebook, is very easy to get sucked into today.  It’s advantageous to have a great Facebook site for your business but, like getting a dog, you must be prepared for all the responsibilities that come with it, or risk putting off your target audience.  Do it right or hold off until you have a plan you know you can execute.  Because when it comes to social media – “There ain’t no in-between.”

What’s next?

Continue the discussion. What are you doing to market your B2B company on Facebook? Please share your tips and comments below.

Connect with the Author. Christian DeGobbi is currently the Marketing Manager, Americas for Dow Jones Indexes. His marketing career started in media planning for large, big brands at top NYC advertising agencies.  For the past ten years, Christian has worked in the B2B client-side marketing space.  He also enjoys being an involved member of the American Marketing Association’s New Jersey Chapter. Christian invites you to reach out to him on Twitter (@cdegobbi) and LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/communicatingchristian).

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7 Responses to “All or Nothing at All”

  1. Sima Dahl said

    Hi Chris, I enjoyed your post and would tend to agree with your points in general. But I think it can get tricky with B2B companies. How do you define success? Am I as likely to “like” or “share” an update from my CPA firm as I am from my favorite coffee house? Maybe not, but perhaps I enjoy seeing my CPA firm in my stream… okay that’s probably a leap but what if seeing my CPA firm in my stream simply reminds me that they’re there, keeping up on tax code and fighting the good fight on behalf of small business everywhere? How do they measure the growing affinity I have for them? I don’t have all the answers – in fact it appears as though I don’t have any – but I think we need to keep the door open to the idea of a B2B firm “being there” and “trying to engage” as a win when measurement can be so elusive. What do you think?

    • Hi Sima-

      Thank you for your comments. You bring-up some great points! I completely agree with you- measurement can be very elusive and tricky for B2B companies! I don’t have all the answers either but I can share my experiences and what I have heard from other small B2B’s.

      Defining success on Facebook can be different depending on who you ask. Some firms define success by the fact they do not lose “friends” on a regular basis while other firms are happy with seeing a lot of reaction to their posts. Even still, the companies that can track a sale as coming from Facebook consider this the ultimate form of success, regardless of how many “friends” they have or lose.

      For me, I want to see a steady growth of followers to my Facebook page, engaged and responsive “friends” when I post something timely, interesting, or fun, and see a growth in the number of visits per week to my page. If these things happen, I am happy because it means I am growing my brand advocates and pleasing/engaging my current brand advocates. When a company can accomplish that, they are on the right track and truly leveraging Facebook. If any of these analytics are not where I want them to be, then it’s probably my fault. I am probably neglecting my Facebook page.
      – Christian

  2. Christian,
    Thanks for the thought-provoking post. Your point about having a strategy in place is well taken. I’m finding that the role of my company’s Facebook page is different than the role of my website. Currently, I’m working on aligning the two, and it is changing even as I’m preparing for this alignment. Each has a place in my social media marketing mix and I’m trying to figure out what that is.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to “test” this in terms of content presented on Facebook, or starting conversations?

    • Hi Pamela-

      Thank you for your comments! You confronted the fact that your company website plays a different role than your company Facebook page and that is something many firms overlook- so I think you are one step ahead! A lot of companies believe the same rules apply to their website and Facebook page. They will post the same type of content, in the same tone, in the same structure on their website as they do on their Facebook page. And that’s a big mistake. Facebook should be more casual, more approachable, more interactive, more engaging and more fun than your website. It’s like colleagues I work with. In the office, they are reserved, serious and strictly business. But get them out to Happy Hour and they’re a different person! Facebook should be the Happy Hour side to your business- let it hang out a little bit! If you are just starting out on Facebook, ask for your followers opinion on something related to your business/industry, start a contest, post some related trivia, record/post a hip educational video about your company, etc. Once you get some responses, jump in the conversation! Also, don’t forget to put Facebook logo links on your website, brochures, emails, signature line, etc.

      Hope this helps!

      – Christian

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