Another Facebook Photo Change for B2B Companies

Just when you thought you were settled in with the Facebook Page for your B2B company comes another change. If Timeline wasn’t enough, now Facebook has changed the size and location of the profile photo to match the size and location of personal profile photos. Hmm, how did they miss this a couple months ago when they launched the Timeline for Business Pages. If the point was to make the Business Pages look like personal profiles and create a business timeline, I am curious why it was designed based on a different spec.

No need to ponder the imponderable, and it’s time to resize that logo or photo because this takes effect on April 26. The new size is 160 pixels by 160 pixels and the new location is 23 pixels from the left and 210 pixels from the top. Facebook did not announce this change very broadly, but it was included in the weekly activity email sent to Page admins. In looking for any kind of official notice, I found this post on Reface.me that included the below graphic showing the difference in size and location.

For many B2B companies this change will be nothing more than an annoyance in resizing one small image, as seen in these best B2B Timeline Cover Photos. But for the handful of companies that created really compelling images that combined the two elements will find more work for themselves than expected. This is exactly the problem that marketers face when they rely too much on outside platforms like Facebook, rather than platforms they control, like a company blog. ArcMail Technology will have to revise their cover photo shown below so it will re-align with the larger logo.

Are you prepared to make these changes to your images, and will this sudden change cause you to simplify your Facebook design or take this opportunity to integrate the smaller image into the larger one?

What Facebook’s Purchase of Instagram Means to B2B Marketers

Yesterday Facebook bought photo-sharing site Instagram for $1 billion, but you already know that as a B2B social media marketer. If you don’t, you really need to check your news sources and how you keep up with social media activity. I saw it online, in my social streams, and even heard about it on NPR. It was hard for everyone to ignore the billion with a B price tag for an app. If you want to learn more about the sale, search for it. Even today it is hard to avoid.

This acquisition is another huge signal that Facebook likes visual content and wants to reduce the friction around posting it. They have already told us that photos and videos are the most important types of content because they encourage the most engagement. This is all driven by Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, which shows your posts to people who have engaged with your previous posts. And don’t forget that Facebook’s business model is to sell ads, which makes page views and time on site important metrics.

Here are a few quick reminders about visual content for your B2B Facebook page, so you can connect with your customers and prospects on Facebook.

1. Use Instagram, but Upload Photos to Facebook Natively

Instagram is a fun photo app, and can be great for showing a behind the scenes view of your B2B company. Many users cite the social network as their favorite part of the app, or even the ability to easy share photos on multiple platforms. But if you are looking at photos as a means of greater engagement with your fans, rather let Instagram post the photos, you can upload it directly from your mobile phone. Instagram saves photos to your photo albums, and you can just grab it from your Facebook mobile app.

2. Regular Photos are Still Okay Too

Every photo does not need a filter and a retro border. If you have a content strategy that has you sharing photos of employees, events, customers, products and your community, nothing has changed about the relevance of these photos on your B2B Facebook page.

3. And that Other “I” Word, Inforgraphics

Photos are great, but if you find a good infographic, or you have the resources to produce them, share those on your Facebook. Ask a single compelling question about the information in the graphic to ensure a bit more engagement.

4. Use Images in Written Content

And since Facebook is become a more visual platform, make sure that everything you post to your Facebook page has an image associated with it. Even if you are pushing blog posts automatically to Facebook, a compelling image will help your fans stop on it in their newsfeed. It is too easy to scroll by a post without an image.

What are you doing to make your B2B Facebook page more visual?

10 of the Best B2B Facebook Timeline Cover Photos

Hope you didn’t oversleep this morning, because if you manage a Facebook Business or Brand Page for your B2B company today is the day that the timeline goes live, whether you are ready or not. One month ago, Facebook announced the Page changes, and you had the whole month to get your Page in line. And you were able to launch the update any time during the past month.

Many B2B companies have already launched their new timeline updates. The most important functional update for many Page managers is the ability to privately message their fans, after the fan has messaged the Page first. But the most visual update in the timeline is the Cover Photo. This is an 851 pixel wide image that gives B2B companies a great opportunity to make an impact with the Page.

Below are 10 of the best examples that I have seen, and they are divided into three categories: product images, inspirational photos and illustrations. If you don’t have an existing image that works for this dynamic space, find someone either inside your company or outside of it that can help you create one.

One last thing before moving on to the cover photos. If you are still planning and preparing your B2B timeline page, here is an awesome Facebook resource post with everything you need to know.

Product Images


Fluke Corporation


Dell Enterprise


Volvo Trucks

Inspirational Photos


SAP


Salesforce.com


Ogilvy


Cisco


Caterpillar

Illustrations


Dow Chemical


Marketo

Have you updated your B2B Facebook Page to get ready for today’s roll out of the new timeline? Have you seen other great Cover Photos that you want to share in the comments? And yes, you can share your own Page if you are proud of it.

Understand How B2B Social Media Connects to Your Audience

B2B social media is about connecting with prospects and customers, providing value to their business and tracking those interactions to leads and sales. Today’s round-up of posts address all of these issues.

I start with a post about click attribution, which makes the case for tracking all actions, not just first or last action. Not only does this give proper weight to your social activities, but it gives you a much better picture of all of your marketing activities. Next we look at a couple of articles that address the changing demographics of your target audience. Have you updated your personas to include millennial decision-makers? Their buying motivations and actions may be different from your traditional customers, and you might want to think about the gamification of your processes. The next post is just a reminder that prospects want to know what’s in it for them, and they don’t care about your products. I had to include this one since it is based on a presentation I gave last week, and even includes my slide as the graphic.

And finally, as reminder that Facebook Brand Pages are switching to the Timeline format the end of next week, here’s a pretty thorough review of B2B software product AutoCAD’s Facebook Page (pre-timeline), which now has one million fans. This should give you some ideas of ways to connect with your fans on this platform that is challenging for many B2B marketers.

B2B Marketers Need Every-Click Attribution
from Marketing Interactions
One of the beautiful things about digital B2B marketing is the ability to attribute behavior and engagement for prospects across a variety of channels that may be included in our marketing mix. Where things get a bit sticky is determining how attribution figures into revenue generation. For a simple transactional sale, this may be easier as sales cycles are shorter and less clicks are usually required. But, for a complex sale, attribution becomes a bigger challenge.
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Millennials are making B2B buying decisions. Are you engaged with them?
from B2B Insights Blog
In a previous post I shared that Millenials are moving into management positions and are shaping business decisions. I suggested three attributes – tech-savvy, highly educated, and a passion for meaning in their work – that B2B marketers need to pay attention to if they want to communicate effectively with them. With this post, I’d like to give you a few more behavioral aspects that will likely influence how they make buying decisions and what you need to know so that you can engage with them.
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4 Tips for Adding Gamification to Your Social Engagement Strategy
from Think Customers
While social media alone creates buzz around your brand, it’s gamification that drives engagement across your online community. That’s why many enterprise marketers are turning to gamification to measure and influence consumer behavior on their brand-owned Web and mobile sites.
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Prospects Don’t Care About Your Products. They Want Solutions.
from Social Media Today
Jeffrey L. Cohen, of Radian6, spoke about this at the CloudForce Conference in San Francisco last week. It comes down to offering valuable content and building a trusted relationship as key elements to your sales and marketing strategy. People have very short attention spans, and businesses that understand this are producing a frictionless way for their customers to get the solutions they seek.
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How AutoCAD Retooled Its Marketing With Facebook
from Social Media Examiner
Chris Hession has been a product and marketing manager for nearly 15 years. But recently, his job completely changed. “Just in the last year and a half, social media has become not just a component of our product marketing plan, but really the core component,” said Hession, currently senior manager of Autodesk’s AutoCAD product marketing.
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5 Ways B2B Companies Can Use Facebook Timeline

Facebook rolled out its new timeline for B2B Business Pages, so these Pages now have a similar look to personal profiles where content is organized and viewable by date. It is becoming a more visual platform and they continue to promote the idea that photos and videos create stronger connections with customers, prospects, fans and likers. B2B companies who want to succeed on Facebook must now develop and share content that doesn’t just provide value, but that catches peoples’ eyes. A recent study has already shown that many large brands don’t get that much fan engagement on Facebook, so this can be even more challenging for many B2B companies.

Page administrators have the next 30 days to get their timeline plans in place before all Pages switch to this new format. Very few B2B companies have made this switch so far, but we will look at some of the new features and how to best use them by looking at a few examples of companies who have made the change.

1. Create a Stunning Cover Photo

The cover photo is huge opportunity to create an impression about your B2B company. If you don’t currently have a strong brand representation that you can use in this spot, use a cool photo that shows something about your company. This wide photo at the top of the page is 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. You can use an existing photo from your page, as long as it is 399 pixels wide, and it will get stretched to the proper size. Don’t do this. It will not make a good impression on your page visitors. This can be an opportunity to meet with a graphic designer and get some ideas of the kinds of things you can put here.

2. Link to Your New Landing Page

This is the most important part of this post. If you currently have a series of tabs and a welcome page, many people are saying these are going away. Sort of. Facebook had already changed its requirements so that tabs had to be hosted elsewhere and displayed on the Page as apps. This is a good thing. With the change to timeline, these no longer appear on the left hand side. They appear underneath the cover photo with four showing all the time, and that can expand with a click to see all 12 apps associated with a Page. The tabs themselves can now be expanded from 520 pixels wide to 810 pixels. Just like always, each one of these apps has a unique URL. This means you can direct people to any particular one. If you want to use a landing page, maybe even one with a lead form, you still can. But this means that you no longer direct people just to facebook.com/companypage, but you use the URL directly to the app. This is easy to do from your website by linking a Facebook icon to this, but harder to do in print. A custom short URL could be used, though.

3. Pin a Post to the Top

B2B companies can now feature a post so it is always at the top left position whenever anyone visits the page. Click the “pencil” icon in the upper right corner of the post to pin it. The post will appear with a small bookmark to show that it is a pinned post. It will only remain there for 7 days, then it will return to its proper place in the timeline. Use this for campaigns, timely content or just things that you want to make sure everyone will see. But remember, most people still will see your content in their newsfeed, not on your Page, so pinning a post is not a substitute for continuing to publish valuable and interesting content. Pin your latest ebook to the top, but keep sharing blog posts and photos on your Page.

4. Star a Post To Highlight It

The normal timeline has a two column layout, but you can star a post to highlight it, and it will expand to the full widescreen width of the Page. Click the star in the upper right of the post to do this. While you can certainly do this with a written post, it makes more sense to create a graphic or image similar to your cover photo to highlight B2B company events or activities. Please don’t use this highlight your latest press release. None of your Facebook fans care about that kind of content. You have a huge opportunity to be creative with your Facebook content.

5. Add Company Milestones

What’s the name of the new Page? That’s right. It’s called a timeline. Not only does this mean posts are more connected to the date of posting, but you can add posts to any date you want. This creates a visual history of your B2B company on your Facebook Page. Make sure you add a founding date, and you can even add an image. Again, think about how you want to present the history of your company in a creative way. You are building connections with your fans, so keep it interesting.

For more information about the new timeline page features go to this Facebook help page. As you see more B2B Pages updating to the new timeline layout, add them in the comments below.

5 B2B Social Media Tactics Inspired by Facebook’s IPO

Now that Facebook has officially filed for their initial public offering, what does that mean for B2B marketers? Many IPOs bring a needed infusion of cash to companies, but according to their submitted documents, Facebook already has profits to the tune of $1 billion. 85% of their revenue comes from advertising. That means they encourage users to share information about themselves and Facebook uses the data to target users with advertising. Here are some ways you can better leverage the platform to reach your B2B prospects and customers now that Facebook will have to answer to public shareholders.

1. Explore Facebook Advertising

Normally I would work my way towards advertising as the last item in the list, but I am starting with it because it is so important to Facebook’s success. There are a number of ways you can use advertising on Facebook, but here are two that have been shown to be most successful. Sponsored Stories target the friends of your fans to grow your fan base. You can also target your own fans with updates to increase Page engagement. The Facebook ad platform lets you target by demographics and keywords, as well as set your budget so you can begin testing this to reach your B2B target audience.

2. Monitor Facebook Advertising Changes

Look for Facebook to roll out more targeted and creative ways to reach people on the platform. They have expanded their ads to the point that they are engaging and active, for example people can like a page right from an ad. Since this is so core to their business, look for a new, non-disruptive type of advertising that feels even more like regular Facebook updates. Facebook users may balk at new ideas, but if Facebook can come up with a way to show targeted, non-ad like content (as they are likely working on), advertisers would pay for that. They could be a pricey option for many B2B companies, but if you can keep up with all their tests on the advertising category of Inside Facebook then you can evaluate options for your company.

3. Get Ready for the Timeline

If you haven’t yet heard of the Facebook Timeline, it is the new way personal profiles are shown on Facebook and they are coming to Business Pages soon. If you don’t have the timeline yet on your personal profile yet, click the link above to get it. Not only is the layout more visual, but there is a great branding opportunity with the large cover image at the top of your page. Think how you want to portray your B2B company with a large horizontal image. Don’t assume the staff photo from the company holiday card is the best thing you’ve got. Get creative. But don’t make a Photoshop montage of your products either. The other big change about a timeline is that you can post items to past dates. This is a chance to build a company timeline with historic photos as part of your Facebook Page. This can give some depth to your presence on the social network.

4. Post More Often

With all the changes on Facebook, it is more imperative to post content more often than before, at least a few times per day. This means sharing blog posts from your company and other sources, posting photos and videos, asking engaging questions and showing the fun or human side of your B2B company. There is so much noise on Facebook, as well as an algorithm that only shows people content that Facebook thinks they are interested in, that you need to get people to engage with your content so Facebook will show it to them. There is a balance here. Look at the Facebook Pages of B2B companies that you admire for examples.

5. Drive Facebook Likes from Other Sources

One of the ways to ensure that you have an active Facebook for your B2B company is to make sure you remind people that it is there and they should like it. If you are still printing catalogs, include your Facebook Page address. Add it to email signatures. Display it at your tradeshows. Make sure employees know the kinds of things you share on the Page so they can tell customers and prospects. Start with your own network of employees, customers and partners, and grow the Page from there.

What have you been doing on your B2B Facebook Page and what do anticipate changing in the future?

Top 10 B2B Social Media Posts of 2011

When I was reviewing the most viewed B2B social media posts of 2011 I had two choices. The first was to just pull the top 10 posts by number of page views no matter when they were published, while the other choice was to feature the top 10 posts that were published in 2011. I went with the first version for two reasons. The first is that there are always new readers to this site, and there is value in sharing old posts. Even if the stats are outdated, the lessons and ideas are still relevant today.

The other reason for including the most viewed posts, no matter when they were published, is to share the lesson of the long tail and the benefit of continued traffic to well-titled posts. The oldest post still draws traffic for the terms B2B and Facebook. Because this shows our site as an authority on this topic, other posts about B2B and Facebook have drawn traffic over time. As social cues become more important to search, and more traffic comes from social media, the long tail of search becomes less important for old posts.

One way to test this for your posts is to update the content to make it more relevant to today, without changing the URL address or the post title. If it still draws consistent traffic, then your audience continues to find your content through search.

Here are the most viewed posts in 2011 on SocialMediaB2B.com:

2009
[Updated] 10 Examples of B2B Facebook Fan Pages (December)

2010
7 B2B Social Media Tools You Haven’t Heard Of (April)

28 Awesome B2B Social Media Statistics (August)

10 B2B Social Media Case Studies and Examples (September)

5 Ways for B2B Companies to Engage on Facebook (September)

11 Predictions for B2B Social Media in 2011 (December)

2011
Top 10 B2B Companies on Twitter (January)

8 B2B Facebook Landing Pages (April)

Study: 93% of B2B Marketers Use Social Media Marketing (April)

75 of the Best B2B Facebook Marketing Tips (June)

6 Ways That Facebook is Better Than LinkedIn for B2B Marketing

We work with many B2B clients who want to engage with their audience via social media. We often get the question about investment in LinkedIn vs. Facebook. You would think LinkedIn would be better for marketing to B2B customers. It’s designed for business. People use it only for business. They want you to use it for business. 120 million business people use it.

The only problem is that it’s not as good as Facebook for B2B marketing.

That doesn’t sound right, now does it?

After all, we know Facebook is for posting pictures of the kids’ soccer games, for saying happy birthday, for following consumer products, for keeping in touch with your friends. I mean, it’s aimed at consumers, isn’t it?

On the surface, yes. Below the surface, the business audience is there because consumers are business people too. Ultimately, the overriding reason to consider Facebook over LinkedIn is that business people spend more time on it. Please pay attention: they spend more time on it, so you – the B2B marketer – need to take advantage of that one overriding fact. It will help make you successful in social media.

So, tell me, how could Facebook be better for B2B social media marketing?

6 Ways That Facebook is Better Than LinkedIn

1. Facebook has created a development platform that makes it easier to create custom web pages. It’s really hard to do the same thing, with the same ease, with the same nicely designed results on LinkedIn.

2. All those business people are already on Facebook. They may not have joined with business in mind, but they are there. The majority of the 800+ million are involved in business.

3. You can find them. Just like on LinkedIn, you can customize your search to find the people you want to reach.

4. You can find their friends too. Facebook is much more effective than LinkedIn at exponential reach through friends of friends, and it is likely that your business audience is connected with their professional peers on Facebook.

5. You can protect them, if you need to. You can create closed, invitation only communities and protect the information about individuals within that community. We’ve done that for very security-sensitive executive users (CIOs and CTOs)! Here’s a link to the VMware CxO Corner on Facebook.

6. People spend more time on Facebook. It turns out that this last point is a big deal when comparing Facebook to LinkedIn.
People log onto LinkedIn for a few key reasons:

  • To update their resume
  • To post a job
  • To look for a job
  • To make a connection, often associated with posting or looking for a job

People go onto Facebook for many, many other reasons, and as a result, they go onto Facebook a lot more often, and spend a lot more time on it. Businesses that take advantage of business people who are spending time on Facebook will engage with those business users.

I have seen studies showing that business people spend more time on LinkedIn. Hmmm. The studies are flawed. They typically ask where do business people go today for business information. Well, if we B2B marketers aren’t using Facebook for business, then of course, they get their information today from LinkedIn. Duh. The results of these studies will change only when you change your approach.

While LinkedIn is not to be ignored (it has many good qualities), if you’re going to focus your efforts toward B2B audiences, invest more in Facebook. How have your results compared between Facebook and LinkedIn?

7 Steps For Awesome B2B Facebook Marketing

B2B Facebook MarketingWhen it comes to B2B marketing and lead generation, LinkedIn is the social network most often mentioned. LinkedIn is very important for B2B social media success, but not the only source of leads. With more than 800 million users Facebook is the major player in the social networking industry.  However, many B2B marketers have dismissed Facebook as a B2C channel with no application to B2B. That is a false assumption. Facebook can be a strong driver of B2B traffic and leads.

Follow some best practices for B2B Facebook marketing and you will be on your way to Facebook lead generation. Remember that you sell to other people and not businesses. The people that buy your products spend a lot of time on Facebook. Half of all users visit the site every day.

7 B2B Facebook Marketing Best Practices

1.  Create a Facebook Business Page – This first step may seem simple but still too many companies don’t understand that they need a business page for their company. You can not use your personal Facebook profile for your business. Facebook Pages are open to the public and function differently than profile pages. Facebook pages allow visitors to easily subscribe to your content by clicking the Like button. Once a user has Liked your page he or she will begin to see updates from your business in their newsfeed.

2.  Use a Like and Lead Gate – A like gate is a landing page for your Facebook page that allows you as the page owner to clearly request that new visitors to your page Like your page before continuing to look at the content of your page. Like gates can help increase your Facebook reach. The best like gates are often followed with a lead generation offer and a landing page in an effort to convert a visitor into a lead directly on the Facebook Page without them ever having to go to your website.

Facebook for B2B

3.  Like Other Company Pages – As a business page you have the ability to like the pages of other companies. This is great for B2B marketers especially if your business uses a distributor to sell its products or provides raw materials to a manufacturer. You can like your distributors’ or customers’ pages in an effort to drive traffic and awareness for the end use of your product.

4.  Post Once A Day – Content on the internet moves fast. Because of this, you need to provide your Facebook fans with a steady stream of content. Make sure to post a link, question or image at least once a day. This content shouldn’t be product related. Instead, it should be educational focused such as blog posts and industry news articles.

5.  Promote Lead Generation Content – Be sure to share links to your landing pages on your Facebook Page. If you aren’t generating leads, it is not worth your marketing effort. You will generate leads through other links that you share that drive people back to your site, but it is also important to direct fans straight to your premium content.

6.  Share Images – Facebook hosts billions of images. The service loves them and so do its users. Photos often get more engagement from users, which get rewarded by Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm. This helps your content spread by appearing in more of your fan’s newsfeeds.

7.  Use Insight To Analyze Engagement -  Facebook Insights provides some interesting data around the growth of your Facebook reach and how people are interacting with your content. Track your fan growth and correlate it leads generated directly from Facebook to beter understand how Facebook reach impacts leads and revenue.

What strategies have been successful in your B2B approach to Facebook?

Why Does Facebook Hate B2B Companies?

With the constant changes to Facebook’s platform, B2B marketers are already challenged to connect with customers and prospects on the platform. Now they are talking about making it worse. It makes me wonder why Facebook hates B2B companies. Was Mark Zuckerberg bit by a B2B company when he was a kid?

Social media site Mashable published an interview this weekend with Brad Smallwood, Facebook’s head of measurement and insights, where he discussed potential changes that Facebook is considering for measuring advertising success on the world’s largest social network.

Advertising on Facebook is currently measured using click through rates (CTR), as is most other online advertising. Smallwood is working with Nielsen to develop a system that considers the result of people’s exposure to the advertising, and if it changed people’s awareness of the product or the message. This sounds like he wants to bring the unmeasurable brand advertising of television to Facebook. You know where Nielsen got its start, right?

Facebook has created a platform where it doesn’t value its users and their privacy. They are just the creators of the product (their data) that is sold to advertisers. And businesses who don’t advertise are given a system of tools that is stacked against them of ever connecting with their customers and prospects.

B2B companies need the rigor of data to track their success in the online world. They are not coming to Facebook for a brand lift. They are looking to generate leads or new business from existing customers. One of the ways to break through the ever changing “Top News” algorithm is by using the advertising platform. They need to be able to track clicks on the ads as the first step to the top of the sales funnel. Whether those ads direct prospects to content on Facebook or on the company website, it is critical to have the click data.

Facebook CTR is low by online ad standards and if you start measuring intent for the already small audience of many B2B companies, rather than clicks, it all becomes irrelevant. If you have a B2B company that can benefit from this change in tracking, we would like to hear about it. If you think I am off-base, or I’m missing something, let me have it in the comments.

Photo: Mashable