July 2010 Update: This post was written seven months ago and many things about Facebook have changed. People are no longer fans of company pages, but they Like them. This causes confusion in referring to them. Are they Likers of a Page? And this week Facebook passed 500 million users. So we saw this as a great opportunity to re-visit this post and provide some updates. All new additions to this post will be indicated. Note that screenshots have not been updated. You can click on them to view the live page.
As Facebook continues to grow, now over 350 million users worldwide, more and more B2B companies are setting up Facebook Fan Pages. These pages give a business a home on Facebook and allows their content to be shared with their fans, in the same information stream with updates and links from their friends. Studies have shown that many people follow brands on Twitter looking for special deals, but Facebook is different. People become fans of companies and brands on Facebook for two different reasons. The first is that they want to keep up with the company and learn more about them. The second is they want to associate themselves with the company. That is they want to express their love of the company with others. The origin of the word fan, after all, is fanatic.
While many large B2B companies and brands do have their fans, and we will see some below, why would someone become a fan of company they don’t love? The reasons are no different than connecting on other forms of social media. These are building relationship with the company, getting value from the content, customer service, and yes, opportunities for special offers. So below are 10 examples of B2B companies using Facebook Fan Pages in a variety of ways.
Dell (Dec 2009: 51,183 fans; July 2010: 183,554 People Like This)
Dell’s Page features a custom landing page and a set of custom tabs. They also tell people why they should become fans. July 2010 Update: Some have commented that this is a consumer page, and since we published this post, Dell has called this a Consumer Facebook Page and created a Dell Business Page on Facebook with 583 Likers. They have also created a hub listing all of their Facebook Pages and Groups: dell.com/facebook
Cisco (Dec 2009: 24,289 fans; 74,400 People Like This)
Cisco’s Page does a great job of adding links of other Facebook Pages and other places to find them on the web. July 2010 Update: As this page has grown its Likers, on page engagement has continued to grow. Make sure you read our interview with Cisco’s Social Media Manager about their Facebook Page. That interview occurred as a result of this original post.
Hubspot (Dec 2009: 8,046 fans; July 2010: 14,123 People Like This)
Hubspot’s Page does a good job of providing content makes people comment. These comments show up in people’s profiles and with the revised Facebook News Feed, updates with more comments are more likely to show in fans’ information streams. July 2010 Update: Hubspot has expanded their wall posts to feature posts from other blogs, as many people do on Twitter, including a recent SocialMediaB2B post (Thanks Hubspotters). They also have regular features like a question of the week to increase engagement.
Salesforce.com (Dec 2009: 3,569 fans; July 2010: 8,535 People Like This)
Salesforce.com’s Page displays photos and videos, including user-provided ones, from a recent conference. July 2010 Update: Here’s the latest announcement on this page: Facebook has selected Salesforce CRM to manage its fast-growing sales operations.
Forrester Research (Dec 2009: 2,593 fans; July 2010: 3,726 People Like This)
Forrester’s Page informs fans about upcoming seminars and other events, in addition to aggregating feeds from their analysts’ blogs.
Gartner (Dec 2009: 2,059 fans; July 2010: 3,943 People Like This)
Gartner’s Page promotes its latest research findings and promotes its events.
Ernst & Young (Dec 2009: 34,478 fans; July 2010: 47,611 People Like This)
Ernst & Young’s Page was started as a recruiting tool for college students when Facebook was mainly a college-based social network. It’s usage has grown as Facebook has grown. Rather than using a custom tab as a landing page, they use the boxes tab to show a variety of content instead of their wall. July 2010 Update: While they continue to post content on a weekly basis, much of the wall posts are job seekers posting questions and the E&Y page managers responding with comments. They also no longer us the boxes tab as a landing page, people who do not yet like the page go directly to the wall. They do however, have targeted content in other tabs, as they did in December.
Sodexo (Dec 2009: 2,069 fans; July 2010: 4,194 People Like This)
Sodexo’s Page is also used for recruiting and is a channel for customer service and followup with applicants and interested parties. July 2010 Update: Customer service and communication with recruiters continues to be an important element in this page.
Cintas (Dec 2009: 1,156 fans; July 2010: 2,260 People Like This)
Cintas’ Page also uses the Boxes tab as a landing page to show a variety of content. There is a large custom graphic promoting their company values, along with links to social initiatives, posted videos and press release. This page also includes a Facebook FAQ describing why they are on Facebook and what is expected.
CDW (Dec 2009: 753 fans; July 2010: This page no longer exists)
CDW’s Page connects employees and partners to an outsourced discount program and they inform their employees about about current items in the program. July 2010 Update: I can only guess that Facebook was not an effective way to manage this program and they moved to a different solution.
And finally, become a fan of the Social Media B2B Facebook Page. It is another way to receive the content from our site, within your Facebook information stream. And we are using Network Blogs to push our feed to Facebook, rather than just importing it to the Notes tab. This provides some additional sharing opportunities for the content.
Hubspot has created an ebook (posted on Slideshare) that features 15 more examples of B2B Facebook Pages. Are there other B2B Facebook Pages that are connecting with fans in different and innovative ways? Let us know in the comments below.
UPDATE (12/10): This post is now available as a Slideshare presentation, making it easier to share and discuss with your colleagues.