It’s no secret that Facebook is changing faster than ever before. From AI features like chatbots to adaptation of popular trends like stories and live streaming, Facebook has vastly expanded its capabilities in the past year alone.
The question is, can B2B marketers keep up?
It certainly seems that they’re trying to. In fact, 42% of B2B marketers plan to up their marketing budgets this year, and 19% of those budgets will be allocated entirely to social media marketing, according to a study of 350 B2B marketers.
Before putting money behind your B2B marketing, make sure you’re crafting smart strategy with the latest Facebook updates and trends in mind. Remember, understanding both the technology and how people are using it is the key to your company’s success on social.
Major Shifts in Facebook Algorithms
Many B2B marketers have a “can’t live with it, can’t live without it” feeling toward Facebook. With the platform’s constantly changing algorithms and shifting public sentiment, who can blame them?
Facebook’s algorithm updates and the popularity of the channel have steadily moved the platform into a pay-to-play space, with organic reach choked nearly to zero. However, the platform still boasts the largest number of daily active users (2.27 billion, to be exact), making it an essential tool for connecting with audiences.
So, what can B2B marketers do to keep up with these changes? Here’s True’s take on the latest updates based on our own experience with B2B Facebook marketing across several industries:
Meaningful Interactions Earn Results
Facebook’s announced that it is prioritizing “meaningful interactions” with friends and family in an attempt to rekindle trust with users, shifting the platform back to its original roots of keeping people connected. This affects both personal and business accounts — which may explain why you always see your controversial Aunt Rosy in the top of your feed.
These “meaningful interactions” include things like comments, emotional reactions (i.e. ‘love’ or ‘haha’ icon), commenting on replies and link sharing in Messenger. If your branded content earns these types of reactions, Facebook will reward your page with stronger organic reach – although combining this with paid is still always part of our recommendations.
While vanity metrics like number of likes and follows previously boosted organic performance, these types of interactions continue to become even less valuable.
Although Facebook’s updates are prioritizing user engagement, it’s important to note that trying to outsmart the algorithm won’t work. Posts that attempt to coax people into commenting and sharing will actually be demoted by Facebook. Instead, aim to earn engagement the old-fashioned way: With interesting, relevant content!
Content Relevancy Outweighs Frequency
Speaking of relevant content… Let’s talk about content quality versus quantity for a moment.
Contrary to popular belief, higher post frequency doesn’t necessarily mean more visibility. In 2018, B2B marketers posted 48% more content to Facebook – yet they saw a 66% decline in reach, 26% decline in clicks and 75% decline in sharing. Ouch.
What should we take from this? B2B industries can’t sacrifice quality for quantity, especially during a time when engagement is the key to improving visibility. It’s not about putting more out there in hopes of being seen – it’s about putting out the content that will drive your audiences through the purchase funnel until they become true brand advocates.
Native Content is King
Facebook wants users to stay on its platform, so its algorithms reward native content with higher organic reach.
Videos are a great example: Posting videos directly through Facebook rather than linking from your YouTube account or other video hosts will boost its visibility. Plus, posting directly in the platform allows you to include and edit subtitles. This is particularly important to get audiences scrolling on mute to stop and watch your video.
Pro tip: Don’t jump on the video bandwagon simply because it’s trendy. Yes, audiences are viewing more video than ever before but not all video is created equal. Video that is relevant, topical or informative performs best in terms of getting people to engage and share with others.
Facebook has also added native tools to facilitate lead generation within paid advertisements. Typically, marketers attempt to drive traffic to strategic landing pages. Now, Facebook’s introduction of Lead Ads capture leads right within the platform. This cuts the extra step of redirecting users to other pages to fill out forms, ultimately streamlining the process.
Strategies that Work
With these latest updates in mind, consider some of these strategies to win with your B2B audiences on Facebook:
- Employee Advocacy: Create a culture where employees are proud to be a part of the organization and want to engage with the brand on social media. When employees are actively sharing the brand’s social content with their networks, it helps boost organic visibility and reach new audiences. Plus, people like seeing the faces behind the brand – it brings a sense of authenticity to your content. Aside from fostering a great organizational culture, B2B businesses can encourage employee advocacy on social media by sharing content that employees value. Celebrate the successes of your team, highlight ways your employees give back to the community and create content that emphasizes the company’s core values.
- Facebook Groups: For B2B industries with highly specialized expertise and niche audiences, Facebook Groups are an excellent tool to build an active, engaged community.These groups offer a great space to share thought leadership with pros in the industry and build trusted relationships. When audiences have a space to ask questions and share their experiences, you gain a better understanding of their needs and pain points – and ultimately, how you can address them.
- User-generated content: Social media is, well, social. Brands don’t succeed when they use these platforms for one-way messaging. Instead, encourage your audiences to engage:
- Ask customers to share their images and videos. Highlight these on your pages, whether in your stories or actual newsfeed.
- Encourage customers to share their success stories. By sharing your customers’ wins, your brand demonstrates that it doesn’t just care about its own success, but also its customers.
- Create posts that share frequently asked questions from your customers and break down the answer. This not only demonstrates your brand’s expertise, but also encourages others to join the conversation and ask their questions as well.
- Pay to Play: Despite what your gut may tell you and how many times you shake your fist at Mark Zuckerberg, between Facebook and Instagram, social media advertising presents a unique opportunity to target more people using smart data. As B2B marketers, we can finally reach the right people at the right time. Here’s how to get started:
- Consider how to boost your organic efforts to the audience who matter the most. It could be a few dollars per post or $50-100 on select posts, but a little money behind your content will get your reach and learning to apply later.
- Build out your custom audiences based on the people who matter most. Think: Employees, Customers, Community and Prospects.
- Experiment and evolve your paid strategy as you go, but don’t feel the need to try every new thing.
- Remember: relevant content is key. Only when you have that will the dollars truly be worth investing.
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