When B2B marketers consider the best venues to pitch their products and services, their first thought might not be Facebook. After all, they would argue, Facebook is about social sharing, making friends and posting pics of your newborn.
What those marketers don’t realise is that Facebook can be among the most effective (and cost-effective) weapons in their marketing arsenal.
The fact is, the large majority of internet users frequent Facebook, and most of them are there to find more than social posts. Almost 75% of internet users are on Facebook, and 70% of them are there every day. More than 60% of Facebook users go there to find content unrelated to social sharing, like news, events and company information, and 73% use Facebook for “professional purposes.”
For B2B marketers, that translates into a captive audience. The question is how to best leverage Facebook’s massive number of users and enormous influence. Here are 5 companies that have made a killing on Facebook, and the strategy they used to get dramatic results:
1: HUBSPOT: DELIVERING ON BRAND PROMISES
HubSpot is the gold standard when it comes to social media strategy. Selling inbound marketing software and services, HubSpot has successfully branded itself on Facebook as an “all-in-one marketing solution.” HubSpot backs up that brand promise with engaging content (like eBooks, marketing guides, informative statistics and event invitations) which directs those who download that content to customised landing pages and capture forms.
Once in possession of contact information, HubSpot continues the conversation with segmented email marketing campaigns to nurture and eventually convert leads to customers. Using Facebook for content distribution, HubSpot has enhanced its reputation for credibility, trust, expertise and thought leadership, and built a base of more than 350,000 loyal Facebook fans.
2: CVENT: USING AN ONLINE CONTEST TO ATTRACT FANS
A global leader in event management, Cvent provides software solutions and mobile apps for event planning, online registration, selection of venues, email marketing, and online surveys. The company recently decided to build its brand on Facebook.
Their strategy was a Facebook contest in which participants were asked to submit examples of how they increased event attendance. Cvent then increased exposure for the contest with links to their website and to Twitter, and with gated content in which fans supply contact information in exchange for a demo and $50 gift card.
3: INTEL: CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLE MAN
For more than 20 years, Intel, a B2B manufacturer of microchips, has pushed its “intel inside” campaign to reach the hardware manufacturers which need its products. In an inspired move from B2B to B2C, Intel used Facebook to jump over those businesses and go directly to end-users who would want to buy hardware which incorporates Intel’s microchips.
As Ekaterina Walter, Intel’s social innovator, explains it:
“We get too hung up sometimes on the definition of B2B or B2C. The reality is that on Facebook we are people connecting with people. Facebook is an opportunity for us to connect on a personal level and through that to humanize our brand.”
Intel’s homepage on Facebook has jumped to more than 35 million likes.
4: SALESFORCE: SELLING COMPANY CULTURE TO BUILD TRUST
SaaS (software as a service) companies aren’t exactly the most exciting businesses or the easiest to market. Salesforce, which bills itself as “the company behind the world’s #1 CRM solution,” used Facebook to stifle the yawns by featuring the people behind the software. Instead of hawking their products and services, Salesforce created Facebook content which saluted its employees for reaching their “one-million-mile milestone,” in this way showing that even purveyors of software have a heart.
5: GARTNER: HIGHLIGHTING GRAPHICS TO GET RESULTS
Gartner is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. As such, providing useful advice is central to its brand. Recognising Facebook’s power as a visual social media platform, Gartner created posts featuring attractive graphics which take users back to blog posts (like “Five Questions Every Social Marketer Should Answer”) while simultaneously burnishing its “Smarter with Gartner” brand promise.
Facebook provides a unique opportunity for B2B companies to capture leads and boost sales by doing the unexpected and doing those things which might not work on their home sites. By showing a side of their businesses consumers wouldn’t otherwise know about, companies like HubSpot, Cvent, Intel, Salesforce and Gartner have leveraged Facebook to reinforce brand promises, generate leads and build trust and authority with strategies that wouldn’t work as well anywhere else. Want to kill it on Facebook, like HubSpot and Intel?