Don’t Date Your Audience, Marry Them: How B2B Marketers Are Increasing Engagement on Facebook

on May 1, 2018

Don’t Date Your Audience, Marry Them: How B2B Marketers Are Increasing Engagement on Facebook

The only good engagements are ones that lead to marriage.

For B2B marketers, reaching a target audience often feels like playing a dating game: putting out feelers, making yourself available, trying to seize upon common interests in hopes of sparking a connection—one that leads to a long-term relationship.

Relationships require a lot of work to stay engaged with one another. Smart B2B marketers have known this for some time: instead of creating a Facebook page, posting regular updates, and hoping their audience will be drawn to their brand, they’ve been working to cultivate an active two-way relationship.

Lately, those efforts have been rewarded.

Since Facebook’s January 2018 announcement that it’ll be prioritizing “meaningful interactions” with friends and family, it’s become trickier for businesses to get the same organic reach they’ve once depended on.

But What Are “Meaningful Interactions” – and How to Create Them?

More than ever before, Facebook advises marketers to emphasize content that sparks “quality” conversations beyond the effortless “like”. In other words, actions such as following a page or liking a post aren’t strong enough indicators of audience interest in a particular story.

The only interactions that truly impact your audience reach (how many eyeballs your content receives) are those that require more effort on behalf of the user such as:

Encouraging those meaningful interactions is what’s going to keep users inside the Facebook network and help Mark Zuckerberg achieve his goal of “going back to Facebook’s roots” – strengthening human-to-human connections.

This is a big deal for B2B marketers, like yourselves, who need to focus their attention on making content inherently engaging, shareable, and newsworthy. In doing so, you’ll be able to reach new consumers through the relationships you’ve already established. So to help you create a content experience that leads to a lasting impression on Facebook, we’ve highlighted 4 key strategies:

1. Employee Advocacy

Since the Facebook algorithm change, employee advocates have become the life-blood of successful social engagement, and every B2B brand should look to their employees as the cornerstone of this strategy.

Tapping into your employees’ connections is a great way to harness the Facebook Newsfeed for greater organic reach. When employees share your brand’s social content, it amplifies your message to their personal connections, expanding your audience territories and generating new opportunities for engagement.

In terms of implementing a formal employee advocacy program, companies can go a couple different ways. One is to entrust employees to share at their own pace, based on the curated content they see online and enjoy. Another option is to implement a user-friendly platform that highlights pieces of content that are of high priority to promote. Employees can then go through the app to share selected content based on their preferences, at whatever pace they’re comfortable with.

2. Live Video Broadcast

Live video thrives on Facebook’s Newsfeed! As of late 2017, Google search trends for “Facebook live stream” have risen by 330 percent. According to AdWeek and Facebook’s own research, live videos also earn 3 times the engagement of non-live video content.

In addition to the natural engagement offered by the live video experience, some Facebook users get notified when a live video experience has been started, which is one clever way to build a quick organic audience.

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Facebook has a number of recommendations to boost engagement and ROI of these videos, including:

Rather than having to invest in professional production equipment, live videos can be shot with a smartphone. This low-budget technique not only provides a natural, unscripted feel, it also offers a better ROI on your social engagement efforts – an easy sell for your VP Marketing or CMO.

3. Facebook Groups

As Facebook continues to emphasize community as the central appeal of its platform, Facebook Groups are likely an untapped platform that B2B marketers should revisit.

As Adam Mosseri, VP Product Management at Facebook points out, Groups are inherently designed to sustain community engagement with users sharing relevant, public content. A Group can be connected to a Business Page, but it essentially functions as a place for individuals with common interests, values, or cause,  making the content experience a personal one.

As such, Facebook Groups are a strategic marketing tactic for brands in that they operate freely under the Newsfeed algorithm. A software company selling a CRM platform, for example, might create a Group page where marketers and sales teams can share tips and information on improving customer relationships, qualifying sales, and increasing conversion rates. These Groups can be a vehicle for sharing content, assuming it offers value to its members and is relevant to the Group’s shared interests.

Thanks to their focused role and emphasis on social engagement, Facebook Groups could be a high-value marketing channel that any B2B brand would be wise to explore.

4. Facebook Bots

Like it or not, many prospects and customers look to social media accounts as de facto customer service channels. Most brands with a history on Facebook have likely experienced customer inquiries being posted directly to their Page or sent through Messenger.

Audiences not only want to get a response through Facebook, they expect it to be prompt and personal. Giving your customers a positive social care experience will make them 3X more likely to recommend your brand.

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One way for companies to provide this service is by enlisting Facebook Bots to handle basic customer service requests. Bots can function as the front-line of social customer care, handling simple problems and inquiries while passing on more complicated situations to human personnel capable of responding to the matter.

In that way, bots can help brands turn their Facebook accounts into hubs of positive brand interactions, all while elevating engagement and responsiveness with its customer base.

As Facebook evolves, passive efforts to keep your brand in the social spotlight are falling out of favor. The only way to stay on top of your Facebook game is by investing time into your customer relationships. Focus on authentic engagement and experiment with new features and tactics that help reach more audiences without breaking your budget.

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