Facebook Can Offer Some of the Best Lead Gen Opportunities for B2B
If you’re the marketing director or sales director for a small-to-moderately-sized B2B firm, resources are likely a limiting factor.
You might have dipped your toe into social marketing after hearing how other companies are getting traction on the different platforms, but you can’t afford to staff an in-house digital team. Like many smaller marketers in similar circumstances, you’re not seeing the ROI you expected from your sponsored ad spends or getting many organically-generated leads.
That’s not social’s fault. It’s how you’re utilizing it. Or not utilizing it, as the case may be.
Social marketing can indeed be one of the best weapons in your digital arsenal. Facebook, in particular, is an unparalleled B2B engagement tool if you know how to wield it.
Let’s play a game.
You follow XYZ Co. on Facebook because it’s in your industry and several of your friends and colleagues use its products.
You’re scrolling through your feed one day and see its posts:
“Click here to see our new Excelsior Class Widget! Bonnie Nelson from Able Corporation says it’s a perfect fit for getting Job X done.”
“Looking to boost your sales? Click here to contact us and find out how Bonnie Nelson from Able Corporation realized $10,000 in new business last month with our new Excelsior Class Widget.”
“Able Corporation’s Bonnie Nelson is schooling us! Watch the video to see the surprising new application she discovered for our new Excelsior Class Widget.”
All right, be honest. Which one interested you enough to click? (We already know the answer was Post C).
Can you guess how we knew that? Because it did several key things:
- It built up a mystery. What is this unforeseen application?
- It gave you an easy piece of content to consume: a short video. It didn’t require you to think or to take any independent, complex action; it only required you to click and watch. There was no risk.
- It didn’t try to sell you anything. If you’re not on the lookout for a particular product, your eyes would likely have slid right over any salesy language.
So, you clicked on Post C. You watched the video, and, by God, you were surprised. Delighted, even.
You not only learned that this cool new Excelsior Class Widget exists, but also that it’s like this amazing wonder product that potentially has applications its producers never even dreamed of.
And, at the end of that video, you really wanted to know more about it. You had some questions for XYZ. You wondered if that Widget might be the answer for your business’s needs. So, when the CTA button came up at the end of the piece, you clicked again.
Congratulations: you made it into the sales funnel.
B2B lead generation isn’t difficult if you know how to talk with people.
When someone says hello, you say hello back, right? If one of your friends sends you a link to a video and says “ you gotta see this,” you’re going to at least glance at it, aren’t you?
People forget that B2B sales aren’t any different from person-to-person sales. You’re not selling to a company. Businesses don’t have psyches. They don’t feel emotions. They’re not persuadable.
You’re selling to a person who works at a company. Luckily, people do have psyches and they can be persuaded.
Until a day arrives when B2B sales are roboticized, and humans are taken completely out of the equation, lead generation is as simple as meeting people on the street, at the store, in a bar, on a flight.
It’s as simple as striking up a conversation with a friendly stranger, and it can be as comfortable as having a beer with a friend. So, why is it more difficult for you to generate leads on your social channels than it is to generate them in real-life conversations?
There are a couple reasons:
- You’re not talking to the right person.
- You’re not talking to the right person in the right way.
Choose your audience wisely.
A joke that relies on the audience’s intrinsic understanding of Smalltown America culture is probably going to fall flat when told on the stage of an international business conference in Berlin. And it might not even resonate in New York or Chicago.
The same holds true on social media.
Facebook’s 1.2 billion users worldwide provides an almost limitless stage for your marketing, but if you keep casting the widest net possible for your Facebook ads and sponsored content, you’re going to end up catching a lot of people who either aren’t interested, aren’t buyers, can’t be buyers due to geographical or other factors, or are in the wrong field altogether.
If you’re having trouble focusing your audience, you may want to step back and refine your Buyer Persona.
Relax. Have fun. Be sociable.
Remember the old days when businesses rented searchlights and ran them on Saturday nights to draw people in from the countryside to special sales events?
Remember when they gave away door prizes, hosted special invite-only “Customer Appreciation Days,” and placed special holiday displays in their windows for people to gawk at?
That’s a little bit of what you need to generate leads on Facebook.
Now, you don’t want your ads and sponsored content to be the digital equivalent of flashing neon. That kind of attention-getting just draws in gawkers, not the genuinely interested. But you do need to turn your attention back on people. You need to create the Facebook equivalent of holiday window displays that are designed specifically for your target audience. Arrest your customers’ attention as they scroll through their feeds. Make them want to stop and look and stay.
What, then, should you be doing to generate actionable leads from among them?
You should be delighting them. You should be intriguing them. You should be showing them how your products or services can be used and how they are being used. You should be helping your existing customers to evangelize for your brand.
Wow them, then tie the wow back to something tangible. Craft strong CTAs. Build an intuitive funnel.
You should be generating content that does all of that, and using your social media channels — especially Facebook, with its wide reach and versatile hosting capabilities — as vehicles to deliver that content.
If you’ve been hanging back and allowing your social marketing channels to languish with boring posts, you can’t expect to see B2B lead gen or sales results from them. You need a creative digital team to dream up and create that “wow” content for you.
And never fear: if you can’t afford to in-house your content creation, you can affordably outsource it.