Up until recently, it could easily have been argued that Facebook wasn’t the place for B2B marketing. However, things have moved on and businesses could now be missing a huge opportunity if they neglect to look at ways to incorporate Facebook marketing into their lead generation plans.
The reason is simple – Facebook’s popularity shows no signs of slowing down (with user numbers now topping 1 billion worldwide) and its enormous advertising platform is constantly evolving to help businesses capitalize on it.
Facebook was a free ride for marketers in the beginning, but the platform quickly spotted the value of the data it was amassing. The main attraction is that it’s possible to reach a highly-targeted audience for relatively low money. Achieving figures of $25/£20 per lead, or $80/£65 per event registration, isn’t unheard of and few, if any, other platforms can match that.
Its cost-effectiveness and ease of use on mobiles and devices, where audiences increasingly spend their time, makes it a very strong option to consider. And for anyone who’s still not convinced, check out this article by Shelley Lucas from Dun & Bradstreet which contains even more convincing arguments.
Today’s buyers are on social media and making the most of every opportunity to reach them needs to be a top priority for marketers. There are some key points to consider when using social media as a lead generation tool and in this blog we dig deep, to look at the different ways you can use Facebook within your marketing mix.
Encourage organic reach
Organic reach (the number of people you reach for free on Facebook), is still an important element to think about, but it is now much harder to achieve. It could even be argued that one of the only reasons you need to keep using organic posts on your profile page, is to add weight to your advertising activities. If all you do is run ads, or even just hidden ads (which won‘t show up on your Facebook page wall), then without ever updating your wall it’ll be hard to build and keep credibility.
Your Facebook page is the ideal tool to show your more sociable side and to create likability and authenticity. The bigger your business, the harder it is to show that you’re not a faceless corporation and that there are caring people behind the flashy websites and glossy brochures. After all, people buy from people. Having a Facebook page is an easy way to create a focal point and for many B2Bs, it also plays an important role in brand and HR activities.
People go on Facebook to escape boredom and to interact with friends and family. They aren’t in search mode or buying mode. Keep that in mind when you’re thinking of content for your organic posts.
Educate, don’t sell
The biggest mistake you can make is to try and sell your products directly on Facebook. That generally only works for specific B2C e-commerce offers.
B2B has a much longer sales cycle and when buyers are on Facebook, they aren’t going to be keen to talk business or, see it popping up on their timeline. However, they do use the platform to discover and learn, which is why B2B marketers who focus on education and information can achieve great results. Check out this blog for more specific advice on how to take advantage of social ads.
As an example, imagine for a second that you’re pushing a type of CRM for realtors that can help them keep track of their stock, as well as sellers and buyers. Your first thought may be to directly advertise the software and target people in your area with an interest in real estate. Now, by all means, run that type of campaign and see what happens. Then compare it to a different one that instead focuses on education and informing, not selling. Run both campaigns and analyze the results you get from each.
How to create a winning B2B strategy and ad campaign
So, you have a good understanding of the basic principles, but how does it work in practice? Here is an example of a typical strategy followed by many B2Bs who also use Lead Forensics (you can, of course, do this without using our software).
1. Lead magnet
The first thing you need for this kind of campaign is some top of the funnel educational content. This could be a pdf (or similar) containing information that will be of value to potential buyers. Use your buyer personas to help guide you on topic and format.
Using our previous realtor CRM example, this may be something like “10 features to look for in real estate databases”, which details specific advice for people who may be contemplating getting a new CRM.
You then need a dedicated landing page to go with your content. Just remember, if you’re to be successful it’s as important to get your landing page right, as it is to offer great content for download.
2. Organic posts
Next, post a bit of an intro with a link to the landing page on all your social media profiles. Make sure you use imagery and nice graphics to ensure you pull viewers in.
3. Facebook ad campaign setup
Next, set up your ad campaign. For this purpose, don’t simply opt to boost one of your organic posts. That can work but you will get a lot more options if you set up an advert through ad manager. Use different targeting and experiment by varying different parts of the creative. Facebook offers an enormous amount of options for this, not only photos but image galleries, slideshows, videos, etc. Try them out and always keep in mind that Facebook is image-led and will limit the amount of text you can use.
Ideally, your campaign will have at least 15-20 different ads, so you can compare what works and what doesn’t. You also need to set up Facebook Pixel, which can be used for retargeting ads (which we cover in more detail in steps 9 & 10).
4. Setting a goal for the initial ad
With this initial top of the funnel ad, you should be aiming to cast the net wide within your defined target market. By looking at the responses you receive to the ad, you should be able to gauge who responds to what and then make assumptions based on that. Your initial goal should simply be to drive people to your website to download content. Or if they don’t, at least to get them to visit your website.
5. Filtering out the strongest leads
If you’re a Lead Forensics customer, then this part will be easy. You can keep tabs on all the visitors who come to your website via your Facebook ads and what their behavior is once they are on your site. Using these insights, you will then be able to filter out the strongest ones to set up a call list, starting with those who have downloaded the information. You may decide to go for it right away or, to hold off on calling until you’ve seen what their next steps may be. Go with your gut instinct and what you feel will be best for you and your potential clients.
6. Pick up the phone
When it comes to phoning people who have just downloaded a piece of content, you need to be a bit careful. For some, this tactic is going to be too much and can be very off-putting, while others will be happy to receive a call. It really depends on how you conduct the call. If you launch into a sales conversation straight away, your results are unlikely to be positive. Instead, use it simply as a qualifier call, with the aim of making sure the person has all the info they want at this stage.
As for those who didn’t download anything yet, with Lead Forensics it’s possible to get the contact details of business people who have visited your website – even without them converting. Using the right scripts, our customers are very successful in terms of reaching out and building a relationship with these types of leads. Again, you need to use your best judgement as to how far you want to take it. Test and test again.
7. Have another piece of content for download
Your next step should be to fine-tune interest within your target audience and pinpoint those who may be nearer to purchasing than others. To do this, you should develop another piece of content for the middle/bottom of the funnel. This should be content which will appeal to someone who has already identified they have a need and who has a strong interest in the solution you’re offering.
For example, this content could be a case study of one, or several of your clients, how they’ve used your product and how successful they’ve been. This is still educational but is moving in the direction of a potential sale. Only someone who is really interested in potentially using the product you’re offering will download this type of content.
8. Create custom audiences
The secret to success with your second download is to extract a list of all those people who downloaded your first offer. Show your second download exclusively to this list as an ad on Facebook. There is a limit on the minimum number of people you must have, so check that out beforehand. The audience will be small but importantly it will be incredibly targeted. And don’t forget to set up a negative audience of all those who already have the second download, so they are excluded from receiving your ad.
9. Use retargeting ads based on specific criteria
Using Facebook Pixel, you can target all those people who went to your website and who did, or didn’t, download the pdf. You can continue to show them relevant ads (avoid using generic ones, make them specific) and watch your conversions go up. Add to this your active calling of the warmest leads and your sales figures will soon be on the rise.
10. Keep a continuous retargeting ad
Finally, keep your ads running and experiment until you’re sure you’ve found the strongest mix that works best for your prospects.
While this is just one example of a strategy you may follow, we hope it has given you some ideas for how Facebook ads could fit within your lead generation plans – and why they should.