What's your experience of looking up on Facebook

Facebook marketing for companies in B2B

Having a Facebook page as a company or self-employed person is almost as natural today as having your own website. But playing and maintaining a Facebook page can be quite time-consuming and companies in the B2B environment in particular are asking themselves whether the time on Facebook is sensibly invested and whether their own Facebook profile can contribute to increasing sales to drift. One who should know is Claire Oberwinter. As an expert in Facebook marketing, she advises the self-employed and small and medium-sized companies on how to use Facebook for their communication and how best to proceed. In the blog interview, Claire answered our questions about Facebook marketing for companies in B2B.

Would you rather hear than read? We also have a podcast episode with Claire Oberwinter!

Claire, does it make sense for companies operating in the B2B sector to do Facebook marketing?

With 30 million active users, you can find your target group on Facebook.

Yes. Or maybe with a qualification. It always depends a bit on where you are in the B2B area, because B2B is much more than traditional industry. I myself, for example, also address business customers and so there are many other job profiles in the B2B area where it makes sense to run a Facebook page. Basically, it depends on which target group a company has and whether it can be found on Facebook. But with currently 30 million active users in Germany on Facebook, the probability is very high that you will find your target group there. And you can address them sensibly with specific content or with paid ads on Facebook.

Does that mean, for example, that Facebook marketing makes perfect sense for trainers or coaches, but not for a company that works in mechanical engineering?

It is certainly easier for a coach to use Facebook than for a mechanical engineer. But there are also companies in the industry that are successfully using Facebook. It depends on the objective: For example, if you are looking for employees, Facebook can be a suitable channel for recruiting activities. When it comes to the pure product presentation, it is definitely much more difficult for a machine builder than for a coach on Facebook.

Many companies do Facebook marketing because that's how they do it today, but only use it every three months. Would you say no side then?

If you are not on Facebook, you may not even reach some customers.

In general, if you have a Facebook page, you should also look after it. It is therefore important to think in advance whether you can regularly use your Facebook page. If not, then you'd better not have a Facebook page. Because in terms of the public image, it is actually more difficult when little or nothing happens than when you don't even have a Facebook page.

On the other hand, you have to be aware that as a company you may not even reach some customer segments without a Facebook page. As an example: I wanted to order tea from an online shop at the weekend and asked myself whether the company will sell at a Cologne Christmas market in the near future and whether I can save the shipping costs that way. To put this question to the company, I went to Facebook only to find out that it is not represented on Facebook at all. Personally, I find writing an email in the classic way a lot more cumbersome than communicating via Facebook. As a company, you should therefore consider whether you want to pick up customers with my communication behavior and operate a Facebook page for that reason alone. But then, of course, it must also be ensured that the account is managed. There is no point in using a Facebook page for customer service when the response takes three or four days.

New Facebook pages have no fans for the time being. For this reason, is it advisable to invite your own personal contacts to like the company website?

You should always ask yourself whether your friends are interested in the topics that I publish on my company website. If so, then you can definitely invite your friends to like the company page. Otherwise you should think more in the direction of colleagues and employees, i.e. ask them to like the page, because they are interested in the topics due to their work for the company. Facebook fans only bring something if they are active and interact from time to time. On the other hand, “card holders” who never like, comment or share, which can only be shown to the outside as a fan number, are of no use at all. In order to attract fans to a new Facebook page, companies should use all channels that are available to them. For example, refer to the new Facebook page in the newsletter, link the Facebook page on your own website or in the email signature. Also, Facebook ads are a great way to generate fans for the site.

Before we go into the subject of Facebook ads later, let's first turn to the unauthorized persons, i.e. the inactive fans: Are they just not useful or are they even counterproductive?

Yes, that's right, inactive fans can even be counterproductive for my Facebook profile ranking. For this I would like to briefly talk about the Facebook algorithm. It is not the case that every user or fan is always shown every post on a page. Rather, this display is filtered by an algorithm, which in turn depends on many different factors. One of these factors is how actively a fan engages with the posts on a particular page. So if you are a fan of my Facebook page, for example, and interact with my posts more often, then the likelihood that you will see my posts is higher. Conversely, there is also a downward spiral: If you have fans who never interact with your posts, then those are lost fans, because you will never reach them again with a post because they won't even get it displayed. This in turn flows into your overall ranking. So having a lot of inactive fans has a negative impact on how often your posts are shown to your fans. It is therefore very important to pay attention to the quality of your own fans and not to the sheer number.

OK, that means buying fans, as people used to do, is a bad idea.

Yes, that's the worst thing you can do, it ruins your strategy. I would always rely on organic sustainable growth, where the quality and not the pure number of fans is important. Of course we're all happy to have a lot of fans, but it plays a much bigger role that people are interested in my topics and not so much that you get 10,000 fans in a few weeks.

You can schedule posts on Facebook. Does this have a negative impact on your organic reach?

In his statistics you can find out how your own fans are on Facebook.

No, I cannot confirm that. In my opinion, it doesn't matter whether I publish a post directly or whether I plan ahead some time. I would go almost as far as to say that scheduled posts are beneficial because I am much more likely to be able to publish my posts during times when my fans are also online. For example, if the peak is at eight in the evening, I shouldn't publish my posts in the morning but rather in the early evening. And I can do that much more easily with planned posts. Incidentally, it makes sense to take a look at your statistics every now and then and to find out when your own fans are on Facebook. Of course, the times are generally similar: It's very quiet at three at night, and from six in the morning the numbers go up when people wake up. But the specific peaks differ from side to side. That's not to say that every post I post at the perfect time works well, but the statistics definitely give me a clue and help me get to know my fans better.

Does it make sense as a company to like its customers' Facebook pages (i.e. their company pages)?

It definitely doesn't hurt. If you visit a Facebook page, in the desktop version you will see a box on the right-hand side “Pages that this page likes”. These are the pages that you like as a page and should be seen as a kind of recommendation. If I like another company page with my Facebook page, other fans may see it and then visit this page as well. But you shouldn't expect too much of an effect from this: Very few users look at a company website that closely, especially not in the mobile version, because this box is not even displayed there. But as I said, it doesn't do any harm and therefore you would be wasting a chance if you don't.

Is there a rule of thumb as to how often a company should post something?

I myself have a rule of thumb that I will pass on, but which should only be seen as a very rough guide. My rule of thumb is: you should post something at least once a week, at most once a day. But it depends on your own target group, the topic and of course your own resources. So you should ask yourself the following questions: How often does my target group want to see something of me? How interesting is my topic and how often can I contribute something interesting to this topic? How much is happening in the company that can be reported on? And how much time do I have to use Facebook anyway? So my rule of thumb is really only to be understood as a very rough house number.

I used to hear the rule that you shouldn't post too often so you don't annoy your fans. If not all posts are displayed to the fans by any means, does this rule become obsolete?

When I have something to say, I have something to post too.

No, this rule still makes sense. So I wouldn't post the same topic repeatedly. More important than the frequency of posts is the regularity. So don't post three times in one day and then nothing for three weeks, but rather spread posts over different days. The quality of the contributions is even more important. When I have something to say, I have something to post too. But if I don't have anything, I shouldn't think of anything just to post a post. So it is much more important to post a good post than one at all, but the quality does not fit.

Does it make sense to use everything you have to communicate for Facebook marketing? So press releases, product launches, blog articles, photos from everyday work ...

Of course, it makes sense to spread information from the company via many channels and thus also via Facebook. However, the information should be prepared for each channel. So if I publish a press release on Facebook that is actually aimed at journalists, my fans will certainly not read it. The same information prepared appropriately for Facebook, however, already. It is therefore important to always think in advance about who I am actually reaching via Facebook and to prepare the content that I post on Facebook accordingly for this target group.

How can I get my fans on Facebook to interact with me?

Reactions have a greater impact on reach than likes.

Interaction is an important topic because, as already mentioned, it has a positive effect on the organic reach of the Facebook page if my fans interact with me via my Facebook page. For this reason alone, Facebook should never be viewed as a channel in which communication is one-sided, i.e. only from the company side. Facebook not only evaluates interaction when a user likes or comments on a post. Even if a video is called up, a picture gallery is viewed, or if “read more” is clicked on a long post where not all of the text is visible, this is counted as an interaction. By the way, reactions in the sense of hearts and smiling faces have a stronger effect on the range than a simple like. In order to get my fans to interact very specifically, I can, for example, ask questions or call for votes. Much more important for interactions, however, is the question of whether my fans find relevant added value on my site, i.e. a mix of informative and entertaining content, often charged with emotions. Then the interactions actually work all by themselves.

You just mentioned the subject of video briefly: is it correct that videos are of great importance for reach and thus for Facebook marketing?

Yes that's true. Videos have been very heavily pushed and rated highly by Facebook for some time. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for companies to strategically incorporate Facebook videos into their communications. Live videos are rated even higher than “normal” videos: As with live streaming, fans can be there live. In this case, of course, it makes sense to inform your fans in advance so that they also have the chance to be there. In such live videos, there is much more interaction with the fans: I can, for example, ask my viewers to write questions in the comments, which are then taken up directly in the video. These videos are still available in retrospect and I have personally found that they work very well.

Facebook ads are another chapter in their own right. You have a lot of influence on who is shown which ad, when and how. Should you go to a Facebook professional to book an ad campaign on Facebook?

It is true that you can target people very specifically with Facebook ads. For this purpose, specific target group settings must be made. To understand this system is not easy at the beginning, so it makes sense to get support when setting up the first Facebook campaign. Once you have understood the basic principle, you can then manage the ad placement on Facebook yourself in the further course of the process.

If I place ads on Facebook: Does that affect how often my normal posts are shown?

It is rumored that once you have advertised, Facebook's organic reach is throttled so that you are encouraged to continue to advertise diligently. I can not confirm that. There are always ups and downs when it comes to the organic reach of posts, but the display of ads doesn't affect it in my opinion.

If I start with Facebook marketing: Just do it and post and see what goes down well with the fans or define a strategy and create an editorial plan beforehand?

Facebook is constantly evolving.

At the beginning you should definitely develop a strategy and define who you want to reach via Facebook and with what content and in what form this is most likely to be successful. After setting up such a strategy, it is time to try it out! What do the fans like? Which posts have the greatest reach? When do your own fans interact most strongly? The results can then be used to optimize and the strategy can be adapted accordingly. Like a perpetual circle, this process should be repeated over and over again, if only because Facebook is also constantly developing and constantly providing new functions. Videos, for example, have only had the significance they have today for about two years.

In addition to Facebook pages, you can also operate Facebook groups. You yourself do this very successfully with your group “Facebook Marketing for Self-Employed”. Does it make sense for other companies to run a Facebook group?

A Facebook group can help to increase the reach of your own posts, because group posts are shown to group members more often than normal page posts to fans. Nevertheless, a group should never (only) be operated for reasons of reach. Before doing this, you should think carefully about what goal you want to achieve with a group. For example, some companies create groups specifically for the service department so that customers in the group can reach a service employee directly. Other companies are also using Facebook groups as an intranet substitute. When you start a group, community management is very important: So you shouldn't just let everything go, but moderate and steer in one direction.Depending on how big the group is and how active its members are, this can mean a lot of effort. But small, exclusive groups can also be useful without the

Are you interested in other interesting articles? So far, the following articles have appeared in our series on the subject of online marketing:

Part 1.1: B2B Facebook Strategy - How do I start the Facebook adventure as an SME?

Part 1.2: Expert interview: Facebook marketing for companies in B2B

Part 2.1: XING Marketing for SMEs - How do I go about a successful XING presence?

Part 2.2: XING expert interview: Generate leads, win customers

Part 3: B2B YouTube Marketing - Does YouTube Make Sense For My Business?

Part 4: Affiliate Marketing: Definition, Examples and Co. from a company perspective

Part 5: SEM, SEO and SEA: Tips and Tricks in Search Engine Marketing

Part 5.1: Simple Search Engine Optimization - 13 SEO Tips

Part 5.2: SEO for beginners - the expert interview on the 1x1 of search engine optimization

Part 5.3: Search Engine Advertising (SEA) and Google AdWords - Everything you need to know

Part 6: Content Marketing: Pull Instead of Push - Examples, Advantages and Strategy

Part 7: Yes, I want: Permission Marketing, Opt-In and Opt-Out

Part 8.1: The Ultimate Guide to Newsletter Marketing

Part 8.2: Expert interview on the perfect email subject

Part 9: The Conversion Rate | Definition and optimization