like-sign-made-with-social-media-icons_fyK5G9u_Latest insights on B2B Facebook usage from Germany

In our January blog we asked the question: “Is Facebook worthwhile for tech and engineering companies?” and established that engagement or two-way-communication and provision of value is key. Read this blog. Conversely, research data coming from Germany suggest expecting two-way is a no-way in B2B Facebook marketing.
In this blog we review research results from the Technische Hochschule Deggendorf (THD), Germany that seems to suggest “Don’t bother with Facebook”. The essence of Prof Zich’s (marketing specialist at the THD) online study of 500 Facebook users in regards to company fan pages and B2B Facebook is that it is not a sales channel, company image is only marginally enhanced and that fans tend not to engage in real life situations.

However, it can still be argued there is some leverage you can gain for your brand so watch out for our checklists below after the stats blitz.

If you get a ‘Like’ be happy

The study shows that 23% ‘Like’ a fan page because they are already feeling strongly about the brand. Congratulations! You already have superfans!
37% Like a page to get information and news about the brand.
Only 3% Like a page for prize draws or discount offers.

But beware

70% are dissatisfied subscribers of fan pages. Prof. Zich believes the reason for this is unengaging, poor content and disappointment will unfailingly lead to disengagement. So it comes as no surprise that you can lose fans as fast as you can gain them.
Thirty four per cent state uninteresting content, 14% state low quality content, 23% say they get too much information..
For those fans that are retained the numbers for emotional attachment to a brand are sobering – only 15% get more excited about a brand while 25% don’t change their views about a brand either way.

Don’t be surprised if your content is not shared

Most fans (40%) see news in their newsfeeds and 36% (often) 16% (mostly) of these and 38% (often) click on videos. But only 8% (most) and 18% (often) of the fans would actually like a post, image or video.
And just 2% will share and comment.

Everything hinges on content – What B2B social media should be for

Looking at all results in context it can still be argued there may be value to be gained from marketing activities on Facebook – but only if your target audience is present there. The best approach to social media in general is to locate the various places your target audience congregates online and then study what they talk about – and join in.

Be careful though, this is not a channel for pushing sales collateral at people , it should be a channel to share helpful content that inspires and engages – and helps make your customer’s and prospect’s lives a little better. When implemented well, the strategy should include an element of customer service.

For those starting out on social media here are a few pointers that will get you started:

Content strategy/planning

For planning purposes go back to your target audience, check out what they are doing and talking about online and answer the following questions:

1. How are you addressing customer needs, interests and personalities?
2. What value will your customer receive through you on Facebook? What would they like?
3. When are their most active/preferred times to communicate?
4. How often should you be in touch – posting?
5. Do I have a content calendar in place?
6. How will I measure success? In what regular intervals will I measure?

Content check list

1. Is it relevant to my customers? Do they value it? Is it helpful to them?
2. Humour/fun? Finding the right tone is important
3. Diversified content? – Schedule different posts in different mediums (text, video or graphics).

If engagement happens

1. Respond fast
2. Respond one-on-one (not to all)
3. Be helpful
4. Observe online etiquette

Always remember! Once you have started you will have to maintain, measure and improve.