B2B Website Best Practices, Part II: Facebook for B2B

Updating a few webpages today, are you? Of course you are. The content on today’s B2B sites needs to change weekly, if not daily. And every so often, your company decides to re-do its website completely—or at least massive sections of it. If you’re in the midst of such an overhaul, as we are here at the Content Bureau, this blog series is for you.

Over the past several months, I’ve been sharing tips (like these on B2B SEO) that I hoped would be useful if you’re creating or updating a B2B website.

Here’s Part II, on Facebook for B2B.

Why, if we’re talking about updating a B2B website, is Facebook part of the conversation? Our clients redoing their sites often ask us whether their company (or product/industry division within a larger company) should have a Facebook page. Our short answer? Yes.

Your customers—even the grey-haired ones in suits—are on Facebook following their friends, their kids, and their favorite brands. So, your company needs to be there, too. Facebook for B2B is here to stay. I know this because the Content Bureau is now writing dozens of Facebook posts each month for extremely buttoned-up B2B tech and financial services companies. Further, Google Analytics tells me that most of you reading this B2B marketing blog are now coming to us from Facebook!

There are two main reasons for B2B marketers to focus on Facebook:

1. To tell your customers about new content they might like.

You’re spending a lot of time and money creating high-quality content for your customers, and you want them to know about it. It doesn’t really matter where you post your content—on your site, on your blog, in industry media—but you should allow your customers to access the content (and talk about it) wherever they like to spend time.

For example, I just received a beautifully designed email from one of my favorite new consumer brands, C Wonder, inviting me to follow it via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Google+. Chances are, today’s C Wonder’s posts on all five of those social sites will steer me to the same C Wonder webpage (featuring a special offer! or new merchandise!). So there’s only one offer, but the posts on the five social sites leading to that offer will be complementary—and targeted to each social site’s users (photos of the offer for the Pinterest users, witty short copy for the Twitter users). We’re recommending a similar strategy for our B2B clients: create complementary social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn inviting your target customers to check out your latest offer (white paper, blog post, case study, video, or other asset).

Don’t stress about all the social media content you’ll need to produce each time you have a new offer to share with your customers; plan ahead. Tip from 2010, still absolutely relevant in 2014: have your copywriting agency write your social media content while they’re writing your white paper, blog post, case study, or other offer so it’s all ready at the same time.

2. To increase customer dialogue.

Your clients expect your website to be polished and professional. Therefore, most B2B sites—even with the most inviting copy—don’t inspire dialogue. Blogs can be an absolutely fabulous way to share content with your clients, but it can be difficult to encourage commenting on your blog. Chances are, most likes, questions, and comments are coming to you via LinkedIn or Facebook.

It’s true that for some businesses—such as those in investment management, where anonymity and privacy are sacrosanct—it wouldn’t be appropriate to encourage public dialogue. For everyone else, 2014 is going to be all about community. And if your community isn’t already living on Facebook, they’ll be moving there soon.

Do you have questions or feedback about Facebook for B2B, and your own efforts to encourage dialogue on a corporate website, blog, or Facebook page? Let’s discuss … guess where?

By Stacy Crinks