Peripheral Visions

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Posts Tagged ‘B2B marketing’

Engaging Loyal Customers on Facebook

Your small business has finally made the jump to Facebook by creating a Page, adding some initial content and finding some ways to attract likes (previously known as Fans). What comes next in your plan to add value to your company through Facebook? Once you have your customers connected, this social media outlet really provides the greatest opportunities to deepen and maintain relationships with loyal customers.

Facebook is not the place to simply throw up some basic operating hours and product information and then expect that your business page is complete. Interaction is the key to a successful Facebook presence. Your Facebook page allows you to add genuine value to your brand and engage with customers like never before! Customers do not want a one-sided, passive experience – they want to see new content, to have a place to give their opinions and to receive personal attention for their valuable feedback.

Here are four ways you can engage your loyal customers through your business page:

Draw people back to your page from the news feed. Customers are going to be much more apt to visit and spend time on your page if they see new, fresh content pop up on their news feed. Promotions may be one of the quickest ways to send people to your page, as well as posting pictures, upcoming events, links to your blog, and tidbits of information about employees and new products or services. Catchy, short phrases in statuses for many new kinds of content can add value and spur people to click through to your page. For example, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has an effective way of getting comments- posting a high quality picture of their food product and a fun description: “Pictured: Brambleberry Crisp Ice Cream–a gem of the Bakeshop Collection. Ohio blackberries and black raspberries and oven-toasted streusel (handmade in our kitchen), blended with our divine vanilla ice cream. An outstanding Valentine’s Day option, don’t you think?”

Give something back. You need a strong incentive to bring customers back to your Facebook page. Your customers live a busy life – why should they spend precious minutes of their day looking at your Facebook page? One way to get your loyal customers engaged is by showing your appreciation of them. Homage, a Vintage T-Shirt retailer, wanted to “pay homage” and give back to its loyal customers by announcing that once their Facebook page surpassed the 10,000 “like” mark, they would be giving out “something awesome to celebrate.” When the announcement came in that the t-shirt retailer would be hosting a 24 hour buy one, get one (BOGO) sale – their fans buzzed like crazy using Facebook and Twitter to spread the news. The BOGO sale was announced on a Monday through their HOMAGE Facebook page (the post got 116 likes and 16 comments). That Wednesday, the BOGO sale went live at 12:01 AM EST (that announcement post got another 82 likes and 65 comments).  From the day the sale was announced (Monday) to the day after the sale (Thursday), the Homage Facebook page grew from 10,000 likes to 11,517 – that’s 15% increase in just 4 days! One can only presume that the company generated new business from this sale in addition to the business from loyal customers.

Showcase your knowledge of the field. Posting links to relevant business content in your field demonstrates knowledge of current events and once again, gets your name in the news feed. Sure, the link won’t directly take people to your page, but frequently posting interesting links establishes you as a good source for information in your field and that will have people coming back for news on your page. For instance, COSI Columbus’ Dynamic Hands-On Science Center! posts links to articles with descriptions such as: “Superbowl snacks too tame? Spice them up with some science!”

Ask questions to get conversations going. This is a quick and free way to gather useful information about your products and services. You can ask for feedback on current areas of your business, solicit ideas for the future, or even just ask things for fun. BalletMet Columbus is an example of a non-profit organization that often asks for feedback from its fans, such as with this question that ended up with 40 responses: “We’re thinking about the 2011-2012 season already, can you believe it?! What would you like to see next season?”

These are all great ways to interact with your loyal customers through Facebook.  With some regular effort and time to keep your page up-to-date and the conversations flowing, Facebook can be a helpful tool to build deeper relationships with your most loyal customers.

Categories: Business Tips

B2B Social Media Marketing – Facebook for Business Part 3

In our first two parts of this series we took a deeper look at how your company could use Facebook for business to business social media marketing efforts. Our posts explored how to set-up and customize your B2B Facebook Page and how to integrate other B2B social media channels into your Facebook Page to better connect with customers. Now in part three, we’ll review Facebook applications and the newest trend of social shopping applications that are available for your Facebook page.  As always we’ll provide examples to some of the best B2B social media uses of Facebook Pages.

B2B Facebook Applications

According to the eMarketer report, the use of a branded Facebook Application was most effective in achieving their individual B2B social media goals. This tactic can also be the most expensive and time consuming tactic to successfully implement, however the rewards can certainly be worth the associated expenses – if done right. Applications can either be developed in-house from collaboration between the marketing, executive and technology departments, or externally through an agency like Buddy Media, A Venue Social or  SocialCubix. If you decide to develop internally and you don’t have the development power then you can also check out Facebook’s Application Builder. The second option would be to sponsor an existing or new Facebook Application. This option would be less expensive, but you’ll also lose control of command as you are simply paying for branding and not the application itself.  Another point to consider during the development process is that your application doesn’t need to directly relate to your companies’ products or services. Your application should however appeal to your target market and the application’s message should be in line with other B2B social media marketing messages as cross-promotion is most certainly a necessity. Below you can see how several companies are developing Facebook applications to supplement their B2B social media strategies!

HP Print Reliability Facebook Application

HP, is running a contest from November 15th, 2009 until January 31st, 2010 that encourages HP customers to purchase original HP supplies in order to enter a chance to win a Mini Cooper. The contest has nearly 15,000 active members to date.

PayPal Wishlist Facebook Application

PayPal, developed an application called the PayPal WishList. It allows Facebook users to create and share “gift” wish lists to be shared with other Facebook users.The application has been a huge success as it has over 200,000 active monthly members to date.

Visa Business Network Facebook Application

Visa, created “The Visa Business Network,” is a forum-like community powered by Facebook which enables small business owners to set goals, connect with other SB owners and interact with the Visa Business Network’s community moderators. To date the Visa Business Network has attracted nearly 8,000 active monthly users.

Social Shopping Applications

Another more recent concept is that of social shopping applications. If you are connecting and interacting with your customers through Facebook, why not give them the ability to browse, share and recommend your product offerings. We think that this is more difficult for B2B companies (hence the reason two out of the three examples below are B2C companies), however it can be worthwhile if you have a large amount of customers who share the demographics of Facebook users. Using a Facebook Fan Update would also a non-obtrusive way to communicate a new B2B promotion or sale (think of it as an alternative to an e-mail blast). There are three major players in the social shopping application market today; Alvenda, Shop Tab, and SortPrice. Each of which pulls in product feeds and organizes your products into a tab on your Facebook Page.  Installing these apps provides your fans the ability to browse your product offerings and share their favorites with friends. Like any good service, there are costs associated with each social shopping app. If you go the ShopTab route, you can choose from a 500 SKU product feed for $10 / month all the way up to a 3,000 SKU product feed for $20 / month.  SortPrice offers a freemium and enhanced version of their application, so be sure to follow-up on the site.  Alvenda is a little different from these other social shopping applications in that their app isn’t restricted to Facebook. Their shopping applications can be embedded within a network of Publishers, thus expanding your customer reach and adding interaction to your brand. Pricing changes with every client but you can find out more by visiting Alvenda’s Advertiser page.

ShopTab Facebook Store ExampleWest Florida Components, uses Shop Tab to power their social shopping application. Fans and Facebook users can the online store to shop by category, price, and product search. The “Buy Now” button routes the user to the landing page of that particular product.

SortPrice Facebook Store ExampleTigerDirect.com, uses SortPrice to manage their social shopping store on Facebook. The store’s landing page features a “Browse Category” grid, product search bar and a list of recently viewed products. Within the left panel of the store, is a typical online store filter that includes; popular categories and sub-categories. Facebook users can add items to their wish list to be shared with other friends, write a product review, or they can visit the product page on TigerDirect.com for purchase.

1-800-Flowers Facebook Page - Online Store Example1-800-Flowers, uses Alvenda to operate their online retail store. Alvenda is different from the other two  social shopping applications in that the entire browsing and checkout experience can be conducted through their application known simply as a shoplet. These shoplets can be embed on Facebook or any other website, thus increasing the interactivity of the shopping experience for potential customers. Still a skeptic, check out their 1-800-Flowers case study.

As always comments and feedback are welcomed! Did I miss a good example? Feel free to share it in the comments section.

To keep up with all of our B2B web marketing advice, promotions and updates connect with us on Facebook!

The Supplies Guys


Categories: Business Tips

B2B Social Media Marketing – Facebook for Business Part 2

We kicked off our B2B social media marketing series last week with our first B2B Facebook post. In this our second post we discussed how B2B companies could bulk up their Facebook Pages to better engage their fans and potential customers. Now in part two of our Facebook for Business series in B2B social media marketing we explore how you can pull in and consolidate other marketing efforts on social media channels such as Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and SlideShare. We’ll also touch base on how your Facebook page can become a useful medium for conducting customer surveys. But first let’s review how you can consolidate your social media channels.

Social Media Consolidation

Is your B2B company active on multiple social networking sites like Twitter, YouTube or SlideShare? Why send customers to multiple channels in order to find your content, when you can consolidate those other channels onto Facebook? Well developers have solved this problem for us. Applications have been built that make it easy to integrate your other social networking profiles onto your Facebook Page. Keep your fans and customers connected with your Twitter status updates, multi-media content you have hosted on YouTube or Flickr  and other  B2B promotional material such as white pages or presentations that may be posted on SlideShare. There are several applications that you can integrate individual accounts, just run a search on Facebook’s Application Directory for “Twitter,” or “YouTube” and you will see what I mean. However we recommend using Invovler.com to consolidate your social media efforts onto your B2B Facebook Page. They offer both basic Facebook brand marketing solutions (free) as well as several premium services (polls, coupons, etc.).  Check out a couple examples of how B2B companies are using these applications.

Cisco Facebook Page - Twitter Integration Best Practices

Cisco, utilizes Involver’s professional suite of Facebook applications to integrate their Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr accounts.

Deloitte Facebook Page - YouTube Integration Best Practices

Deloitte, uses a popular YouTube application called, YouTube Box to host their videos on Facebook.

Symantec Facebook Page - SlideShare ApplicationSymantec, used SlideShare.net’s Facebook application to display corporate documents, sales presentations and company initiatives.

Zoho Facebook Page - Posterous Application

Zoho, ties in their Posterous account using the application developed by Posterous themselves.

Facebook Surveys

Utilizing Facebook to conduct customer surveys and to compile feedback is a great tactic you could deploy in order to optimize your B2B social media efforts. We mentioned earlier that Discussions could be used to accomplish this, however using an application such as Survey Monster would be a better option, adding a greater degree of control. This free application allows you to create and broadcast surveys to your fans. You can also have the option of posting surveys directly to your Tabs. Plus, the process for building these surveys is extremely easy.

Survey Master - Facebook

Survey Master, The free Survey Application on Facebook. Check out their FAQ page to learn how you can use their application.

Next week our third and final post in this Facebook B2B social media series will cover the best practices and uses of business Facebook applications and the benefits of adding a social shopping store to your Facebook Page.

As always comments and feedback are welcomed! Did I miss any good examples of B2B Facebook uses? Feel free to share them in the comments section.

To keep up with all of our B2B marketing advice, promotions and updates connect with us on Facebook.

The Supplies Guys


Categories: Business Tips

B2B Social Media Marketing – Facebook for Business Part 1

Did you know that the  average Facebook user spends six hours and nine minutes (according to a November 2009 NielsenWire report) every month on the social networking giant? That is triple what the average internet user spends on Google (two hours and thirty four minutes)! So if you are using Google AdWords to reach your market, shouldn’t you be utilizing B2B social media marketing platforms such as Facebook for your business?

The Supplies Guys and Peripheral Visions is here to get your Facebook Page started by showing you how to maximize your time. eMarketer recently surveyed 643 marketers who used Facebook in their B2B social media strategy. The top five most effective tactics used were; Create a survey of fans, Friending recent customers, profiling customers, creating a Facebook application, drive inbound traffic to corporate material and finally buying targeted Facebook CPC ads.

We are going to review for you these B2B social media tactics and several others so that you’ll have solid ideas to how you power your own B2B web marketing objectives.  Our first of three posts in this B2B social media series, the one you are currently skimming, will cover ways to find customers and how your Facebook Page can be used to profile your customers. We’ll also go over  some basic Facebook Page optimization you can do and provide examples of best practices.

Facebook for Business - B2B social media marketing

Customer Friending

Your B2B social media journey starts when you setup your Facebook Page, populating it with your company information, choosing your publishing and privacy settings and perhaps even uploading a few videos or photo albums. We won’t go into detail about how to set-up your Facebook Page as there are plenty of blog posts out there for this – simply run a search for “Facebook Page Best Practices.” You need to get eyeballs on your Facebook Page, and the more the merrier. Our first suggestion is to let your visitors know that they can and should connect with you on Facebook.

A couple ideas for promoting your Facebook Page include; adding a Facebook URL link within the signatures of your e-mails (company wide), integrating your website with social badges – the Footer is the norm for placement, consider creating a Facebook landing page that describes the benefits of becoming a Fan, or even include a “Connect with us on Facebook” call-to-action in your e-mail newsletters or on receipt pages. Another unique way to use your customers for word of mouth marketing is to utilize the Facebook Sharer application. This function allows Facebook users to share a link through their profile wall. B2B companies can use this feature to promote a coupon code or sale. Simply add this code to your payment confirmation e-mails. When you have a decent following be sure to check out your Facebook Insights. These can be found in your Page’s admin section. Facebook Insights are statistics that anlyze; fan demographics,  interaction levels such as engagement and page views and some sentiment analysis.

TOMs Shoes Facebook Connect

TOM’s Shoes, provides a “Share this coupon code on Facebook,” call-to-action prominently displayed in their payment confirmation e-mails.  Customers partake in a good cause and save their friends money by simply clicking a link, genius.

Now I’ve been asked if there is a way to pro-actively / automatically search for and add customers to your Facebook page, and the short answer is No.  As a Facebook Page administrator you can only “Suggest” the Page to friends on your personal account but this is of course limited to whom you are actually friends with. Facebook does not provide an e-mail upload tool for you to locate which of your past customers or those on your e-mail list on Facebook. This was a conscious decision on their part, because if they included this functionality then any organization that had your e-mail address and had a Facebook Page could bombard you with updates and messages.

There is one small hole in the system however, it is in violation with the Facebook community guidelines and user agreement and we do not recommend or sponsor this activity. Your company could create a personal account and use the e-mail tool to add your friends on Facebook. Now Facebook caps the number of friends personal accounts can have (last time I heard this number was at 5,000), so chances are you’ll surpass that number pretty quickly. However the idea is that companies are adding friends to their personal account, and then suggesting they become fans of their Page. Seems pretty confusing to us. We suggest abiding Facebook’s guidelines and growing your Page naturally!

Fan Interaction

So you have built a solid following of past and current customers, what do you do next? The answer is anything that you can imagine. We would suggest that your message remains consistent with that of others used in B2B web marketing initiatives; however, your Facebook Page provides unique flexibility to communicate with the ones who keep your business alive. In today’s environment it is increasingly important to interact with your target market on social technologies because they are a free* branding tools that aren’t necessarily construed as traditional marketing. FYI, your Page’s status updates are published to your fan’s news feeds, so create content that encourages and invites interaction. Do remember though that Facebook Fan Pages are opt-in, meaning that if your messages become over bearing in either frequency or message (don’t shout at your customers with loud marketing pitches, rather openly talk with them about how you can fulfill their needs). Below you will find several tactics we encourage you to use on your B2B Facebook Page as well as examples of companies who have best utilized these tactics.

Wall & Discussions

The Wall is the default landing section of your Page  (which can be changed in your Page admin settings), and is a chronological listing of your Facebook status updates, and subsequently your fan”s comments to your status updates. If permitted your fans themselves could post onto your Wall, making them visible for the Facebook community (and beyond as many Facebook Pages get ranked in Google and Yahoo). In your Page settings you can change the settings as you see fit. It is important to decide whether you will allow your fans to post onto your wall or not. We recommend weighting the costs and benefits of allowing such a practice. However we encourage B2B companies to allow their fans to publish updates directly onto your Page’s Wall. This shows your fans that you are a transparent company, and that you are willing to communicate with them regardless of the message’s tone – improved communication is after all the primary benefit of B2B social media marketing! The Forrester Research group released a 2008 study in their book, Groundswell, that stated 80% of reviews and comments posted about products and companies are positive in sentiment. Even if 20% of your comments are negative, your company along with it’s fans will have the ability to address any and all negative comments. If someone is going to talk poorly about your company wouldn’t you rather it be right under your nose so you have the ability to challenge the claim, rather on a site you aren’t even familiar with?

Sun Microsystems Facebook Page - Wall Best Practices

Sun Microsystems, provides a great example of a company that has a balance of control and interaction on their Wall. By default Fans only see posts from the company, however they do have the option of seeing Fan posts. iProspect.com Facebook Page - Wall Best Practices

iProspect, on the other hand encourages Fans to interact directly on their wall thus maximizing their transparency.

If you want to engage with your customers and provide them with a platform to share their opinion, but don’t want this conversation taking place on your Wall, then Discussions could be your alternative. Discussions is a default application that Facebook enables on your Page.  Although this feature is somewhat under utilized, it can be extremely valuable if used correctly. The Discussions tab could be used as a product or customer support forum, or as an area to receive product feedback and if executed correctly you could even use the tab to conduct focus groups with your customers.

SAP Facebook Page - Diescussions Example

SAP, uses the Discussions tab of Facebook to share information, advertise job openings, and provide support. What could your company discuss with it’s customers?

Blog

A standard B2B social media tactic for companies to syndicate their corporate blogs onto Facebook so that they can streamline fresh content to their fans. There are two primary ways of adding your blog. The first of which is simply to import your blog feed into the Notes (a default application) section of your Facebook Page and then enabling the option in your Notes Tab. The second option would be to use a third-party application; the most popular being NetworkedBlogs. Use the following link if you want to directly add your blog to Facebook. No matter which application you decide to use, your blog title and a brief snippet of your content will be broadcast to your page’s fans, automatically when you publish a new post on your blog.

Forrester Research Facebook Page - Notes Best Practices

Forrester Research, uses the default Notes tab to import their blog feed. This simple tool enables Forreseter research to automatically update their Fans when they post a new blog entry.

WebTrends Facebook Page - Blog Best Practices

Webtrends, has enabled the NetworkedBlogs app on their Facebook Page. Essentially this application functions similar to Facebook’s Note however aesthetically NetworkedBlogs wins.

Multimedia – Video & Photos

US American internet users love their video and photo consumption. comScore estimated that in July of 2009, 158 million internet consumers streamed a total of 21.4 billion videos. Between that fact and given the amount of time Americans are spending on Facebook it should be clear that in order for your B2B social media marketing initiatives to be successful the use of multimedia should be a substantial part of the equation. Stumped on what kind of video or photos to include? Then you are thinking too hard. The best use of multimedia is to show your transparency and enable you to connect with your customers on a more personal level, let me give you an example. Professionally created commercials and promotions are great however; consumers have been viewing these for years. Now is the opportunity to save some money and create content that shows the personal side of your company’s organizational culture and day-to-day happenings.  Interview employees, show off the office, tape presentations or speaking engagements, have start a web series with an executive sharing their insight, attempt to create a viral video, maybe even poke fun of yourself throughout the process. After you’ve created some excellent content, Facebook makes it easy to upload content to your Page. Two default applications that Facebook supplies to Pages are the Photo and Video. If you don’t have a desire to upload your content directly to Facebook then there are multiple options for integrating content from other sources, perhaps Flickr (for photos) or YouTube (for video). We’ll discuss these third-party applications in B2B Social Media Marketing – Facebook for Business Part 2.

GoDaddy.com Facebook Page - Video Best Practices

GoDaddy.com, uses their Video tab to broadcast past commercials and work-life around the office. Their Video tab is primarily used to entertain their fans.

MailChimp Facebook Page - Video Best Practices

MailChimp.com, makes use of their Video tab by displaying informational material on how their products work and the benefits provided to customers. They also include a couple work-life videos.

GSD&M Idea City Facebook Page - Photos Best Practices

GSD&M Idea City, is a great example of a company that maximizes the Facebook Photo app. Their photo albums show off both their work and their employees. Who wouldn’t want to hire these guys?

Events

Another useful B2B social media tactic is to publicize corporate events on Facebook. The Events tab could be particularly useful for; a service provider who will be holding a workshop, a company launching a new B2B promotion or sale, even a raising awareness for a sponsored event such as a “walk for the cure.” Once you create your event, you can then invite your fans to join. Facebook Events is an easy application that nearly all B2B companies could apply. If you are trying to promote your event, it would be wise to set the Events section as your page’s default landing section.

eMarketer Facebook Page - Events Best Practices

eMarketer, keeps there customers up to day by using their Event tab. They invite their fans to join them at industry seminars and tradeshows (sponsored and un-sponsored). A hyper-local social community, Cbusr.com also does a fantastic job of publicizing fun things to do in Columbus Ohio through their Facebook Page’s events section.

FBML

For more advanced and technically savvy B2B marketers, Facebook enables you to customize the design and function of Facebook applications or Pages using the Facebook Markup Launguage. FBML is a modified form of HTML and is the language available for development.  Simply add the Static FBML application to your profile and you’ll then be able to customize your Page by creating box or tab. Again this feature can be used as an extension of your website so use your imagaination and create content that you feel would be of benefit and interest to your fans.

Intuit Facebook Page - FBML Best Practices

Intuit, has created a tab called “Small Business Spot,” which is their default landing section. As you can tell the tab provides three clear call-to-actions for their fans with the objective of pushing them onto their corporate site and into the sales funnel.

SODEXO Facebook Page Best Practices

Sodexo, on the other hand has set up a Sodexo Careers Page aimed at young professionals. Their “Careers,” tab provides a brief overview to the benefits of working for Sodexo as well as a list of current job openings.

Our second post on Facebook B2B marketing in this series which will cover how you can integrate other B2B social media channels into Facebook, and how surveys can be administered. Then finally our third post will cover B2B Facebook applications and social shopping applications.

To keep up with all of our B2B marketing advice, promotions and updates then connect with us on Facebook.
The Supplies Guys


Categories: Business Tips

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