sales

How to Use Facebook to Generate B2B Leads and Build Business Relationships

March 28, 2017

Many modern salespeople have learned to use LinkedIn for business to business (B2B) networking and lead generation, but less know how to do the same using Facebook. As a platform, Facebook offers many opportunities to connect with professionals and acquire referrals. Learning to take advantage of these opportunities can assist in the generation of B2B leads and new clients.

Because of the personal and transparent nature of the platform, different strategies are effective on Facebook than in more business-oriented venues such as LinkedIn. This can mean a bit of a learning curve, but with the increased amount of opportunities that may arise, it is well worth the time invested.

Your Image on Facebook

Social media marketing is a long-term strategy that can lay the foundation for future sales. It takes time, but if you are patient you can generate more sales through Facebook with less time and energy. A good rule of thumb for Facebook B2B networking is to focus on the image of your business at all times. By running a page or exchanging comments, you are building a narrative in a public forum that shows customers what your company is like (resource: https://www.coxblue.com/how-to-use-networking-for-lead-generation/). This is your chance to show that your company wants other companies to succeed and is open to friendly conversation and with no strings attached. By listening and offering help to your target market, you can also gain valuable insight into what your customers really want and need.

You were probably taught that business customers, unlike retail customers, are motivated much more by measurable facts and sound business logic rather than emotion. That's true to a point, but emotion still plays an important role in purchasing decisions. For example, if B2B buyers make smart purchases, they get raises and promotions. If they do not, they may lose their job. By cultivating the right image on Facebook, you can convince potential buyers that your company is professional and reliable. An employee will feel better hiring or buying from a company with that strong image rather than one they think may embarrass them by failing to deliver on their sales promise, even if the second company offers an objectively better deal.

Cultivating Your Reputation

There's more than one way to build a reputation on Facebook, and you should take every opportunity you can get to build and improve yours.

Engagement is key to any form of social media marketing (resource: https://digitalmarketingphilippines.com/the-basics-of-lead-generation-using-facebook/). Traditional marketing is about one-way communication, trying to get the right information in front of the right people. On Facebook, B2B marketing is much more interactive. You must start a conversation with your audience, and build trust and familiarity without asking for anything in return. It is the law of, "give first if you want to receive."

The first step is to set up an effective and professional Facebook business page to represent your brand on the platform (resource https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/270141) . This page will be the first impression a potential buyer has of your company. A high quality Facebook page indicates a high quality business. Of course, the reverse is just as true. If your Facebook page looks unprofessional, you will immediately be viewed as being a lower value company. Again, presenting a professional image is very important.

You should also participate in relevant communities that include members of your target audience. This may involve joining interest groups or joining discussions on the pages of other businesses. The goal is not to promote your product or service. Instead, join in relevant discussions, giving advice or professional insight where you can. Prove you are an expert and thought leader within your field, and prove to potential leads that your company is reliable (resource: https://www.marketing-schools.org/types-of-marketing/b2b-marketing.html). Helping out competitors might feel counterproductive, but anyone watching will see that you are genuinely committed to the betterment of your industry. That's a good reputation to have.

Although it is less applicable to B2B networking than consumer marketing, Facebook content generation is still an effective tool. Provide free, branded tools that will be useful to your target audience. If people find your content helpful, they will share it and pass along your brand (resource: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-b2b-marketers-use-facebook-to-reach-customers/). Anyone who has a good experience with your free content will be more eager to pay for your products or services. The kind of content you can share depends on what type of company you represent, but articles, infographics, educational videos, free reports, white papers, and worksheets are usually good options.

Above all, your Facebook interactions must be genuine. Do not openly promote an agenda or ask for favors. Profiteering is acceptable in some business-minded communities, but Facebook users will find it distasteful.

Solicit Feedback

Facebook can be a strong platform for securing customers, but there is a hidden, secondary benefit too. Market research is a huge part of B2B sales (resource: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-scalco/5-b2b-marketing-strategie_b_9512520.html). Reviews and surveys are helpful, but you have probably noticed these channels mostly attract outliers: customers with extremely positive or extremely negative opinions. Asking for honest feedback on Facebook lets you target the moderate majority. Someone who is slightly annoyed by some aspect of your product will not go to the trouble of leaving a negative review, but would be happy to share their thoughts with you if asked. People on Facebook, like people everywhere, love to feel important. A sincere acknowledgment for their help is all the reward they need.

Active Networking on Facebook

B2B marketing and lead generation on Facebook is mostly a passive process. Good social media strategies focus on building brands, not chasing leads. Build a good reputation now, and clients will prefer you down the road.

If you have to pursue a specific client, however, Facebook can be used for that. Rather than trying to engage with a business as a whole, Facebook lets you reach out to employees directly involved in the company’s buying process (resource: https://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/facebook-marketing/top-5-tips-for-b2b-facebook-advertising/). If you can start a conversation with an individual employee, you will have two strategies at your disposal. You can sell them on how your company can benefit their company, as normal. Due to the personal nature of Facebook, you can also sell them on how your company can benefit them personally. Prove to them that buying your product or service can help them advance within their own company.

However, be careful that you do not approach potential business leads too aggressively. People use Facebook for catching up with friends and family. Aggressive business networking and hard closing will quickly turn off most people. Use Facebook more as a way to start and build friendly relationships that over time will turn into business deals instead of going for the sale immediately. 

 

 

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