5 B2B Benefits of Facebook Page Changes

Facebook has changed the look of their Business Pages, to make them more in line with the recent changes to personal profiles, but they have added functionality that will make Page admins for B2B companies cheer. These changes will officially take effect in March, but Page administrators can choose to upgrade now, or at least preview the changes.

1. Publicly Identify Page Admin
One of the strongest benefits of social media is that it can humanize a company. There is no better way to humanize a company than to let customers, prospects and brand advocates know who they are communicating with online. The community manager has grown across social platforms, but in most cases, their identity has not been revealed on Facebook. Cisco is one B2B company that listed their Facebook community manager on their Page. You can now choose to show the Admins, or Page Owners on the left side, with links to their Facebook profiles.

2. Post on Page as Person or Page
A second way to humanize your B2B company on Facebook is that you can now respond on your Page as yourself. Previously you could only reply as your company (the Page), but now you can participate in the conversation as yourself. Make sure you are clear that you represent the company and that you don’t try to start conversations as just another fan of the Page.

3. Interact on Facebook as Page
Previously, you could only participate in Facebook conversations, and Like other Pages, with your personal profile. Now you can select “Use Facebook as (Page Name)” and you can post on other Pages as your Page. This is another reason why it was important to set up your Page with your B2B company name, rather than a keyword-loaded descriptive name. You can also Like other Pages as the Page you administer. This will create a newsfeed of the Pages you Like. You will also get notifications when your Page is Liked.

4. Display Featured Favorite Pages
Once you have Liked Pages as your Business Page, you can also display your favorites. Not all favorites Pages need to be shown. Go to the Featured option and select the Pages you wish to show on your Page. Five will show at one time, and will rotate among the favorite Pages. Use this feature if you have a main corporate Page and sub-Pages for divisions, products or locations. You can also use this to highlight customers, clients or other top companies in your industry.

5. Get Notifications of Posts and Comments
This is the biggest functional change of all. Now when people leave comments or post updates on your B2B Page, you get a notification by email (see below to change this default setting). You also see the red indicator in the upper left, just like you do on your personal profile. This will let you keep up with discussions on the Pages you manage. Note that these are sent to your main Facebook email, which might be your personal email address.

What changes to your B2B Page are you most excited about?

12 Social Media Tools for B2B Pre-Event Marketing

Social media has enabled B2B marketers with a wide range of opportunities for promoting their events. Whether it’s a webinar or a multi-day conference, leveraging social media can help event organizers extend an event’s visibility, attendance and pre-event conversations.

Using social media to build event attendance

Most larger events have their own web site and most smaller events have a least a landing page with registration (and hopefully those include social sharing functionality), but very few take advantage of the event capabilities of several social media channels or services. If you are running an event, consider promotion in the following areas:

1. LinkedIn Events
LinkedIn Events

Setting up an event in LinkedIn is a fairly simple process. Once your event is created, invite your connections to attend. LinkedIn users will be shown events that match their specific business needs based on the information they’ve added to their LinkedIn profile (Job Title, Industry, etc.), so your event may show up in their recommendations. In addition, your event will become searchable, and people connected to event attendees will see the event listed in their contact’s profile.

2. Facebook Events
Facebook Events
Facebook doesn’t have the most elegant option for managing events, but it can be effective. If your event or organization does not have a Facebook presence, just set up your event in Facebook Events and invite all your friends. Here’s a good guide from Mashable on How To: Organize an Event on Facebook. It’s a year old but the information is still useful.

If your event or organization does have a Facebook Page, you should create the event through that Page. It is a bit convoluted, but start by going to your Page and click “Edit Page” in the lefthand navigation. Click “Applications” in the left hand navigation. Events shows in your list of applications, and click “Go to Application.” Now you can create the event normally, but it is associated with the Page. This event will appear on the Page Wall, and you can still invite your friends, plus send an update to everyone who has liked the page.

3. Eventbrite
Eventbrite empowers you with simple but powerful tools to manage, promote and sell out your event. It’s free to sign up and get started. Eventbrite provides everything you need including custom page templates and the ability to sell tickets. If you sell tickets, Eventbrite charges a fee, plus you will need to link to a Paypal or Google Checkout account to accept payment. Eventbrite will also list your public event in its directory. You can even track your registration page in Google Analytics.

4. Plancast

Plancast Screenshot

Plancast is the easiest way to share events with friends. Just create an account, add an event and invite people to announce their attendance. Once your event has multiple attendees, people can leave comments, invite their contacts, add the event to their calendar and more.

5. Twitter
Twitter can offer limitless value in promoting your event. Here’s some Twitter event-marketing recommendations:

  • For larger events only, create a new Twitter account that you can update all year long
  • Establish and publicize a hashtag for your event
  • Create separate Twitter lists of event speakers, sponsors, attendees and local restaurants and attractions
  • Use Twitter search to find potential attendees and follow them
  • Tweet about event-specific information including sessions, speakers, exhibitors, benefits of attending, etc.
  • Promote your event by running a contest. For example, give away a free or discounted registration for those that tweet about your event

6. Facebook Page

Social Fresh Cruise Facebook Group

A Facebook Page can provide a destination for attendees to engage with event organizers. Organizers can share their pre-event processes and event updates which will help generate interest. Sharing photos, videos, press releases, media coverage, speaker updates, etc. and receiving feedback on those posts will benefit both the attendees and the event organizers.

7. Blog
Social Fresh Blog

Create a blog for the conference and source content from speakers and attendees. Write posts about the conference and answer frequently asked questions. The blog can even extend beyond the conference and be used as a year-round source of information. Social Fresh and Social Media Week NY are good examples of event blogs that generate marketing value.

8. YouTube and UStream Videos
Create pre-event videos discussing conference topics or featuring conference speakers. Consider a live video show a few days prior to the event to share event information, agenda, speaker bios, and whatever other event-related topics you’d like to cover. Invite attendees to ask questions via Twitter or live chat.

9. Community
Building a community around your event may only be viable for the larger conferences like SXSW, but the value it can bring to attendees is worth the consideration. Within the SXSW community, attendees can research and vote on panel sessions, engage in event-related discussions and prepare their schedule. If your event has the resources and a large enough base of attendees, consider putting a community in your event planning agenda.

10. Mobile

There’s a variety of mobile marketing options to consider for your event. You can use pre-event text voting to get attendee feedback, use QR codes on marketing materials like posters and print ads, and mobile apps can be created to provide event details, agendas, locations and other pertinent information.

11. Slideshare
Put together a slide presentation of your conference benefits, topics or speakers and posting it to Slideshare. Leverage it for other uses too including the event blog, Facebook page, etc.

12. Foursquare, Gowalla and other check-in apps
Ignite Foursquare BadgeTwitter 140 Conf. BadgeInternet Week Foursquare Badge
It seems people will do anything for a badge or other check-in reward. Use this to your advantage. See if you can offer something special at the event check-in for those using a location based service like Foursquare, Gowalla or Whrrl.

So what other ways have you used social media for your B2B event marketing?