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Social Selling and Tech
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In episode six of the Tech Product Review podcast series, guest expert Andrew Jenkins chats with host Bill Banham about how sales and marketing pros can use Facebook to generate more interest and leads.

Listen to the show here.

With over 2 billion monthly active global users, Facebook is by far the largest social media network and it continues to offer new ways to promote and sell both B2C and B2B products.

Read the transcript:

Bill Banham: Welcome to a special episode of our tech review series with Andrew Jenkins. Today we are going to be looking at Facebook, and specifically the idea of whether or not Facebook is becoming the new tool of choice for business to business? And if so why, and what's happening there? As always, Andrew Jenkins, welcome to the show.

Andrew Jenkins: Thanks for having me.

Bill Banham: So let's jump straight in, I'm super excited to talk about this because for years everybody's always said that LinkedIn is the top tool for prospecting, and targeting certain demographics, and promoting certain key message when it comes certainly to the B to B sphere, but we're going to look at that a bit more today. So firstly, tell us a bit about how companies are using Facebook now to help get their message out there, and to drive conversions?

Andrew Jenkins: Well most of them are using their Facebook company page. First they've established a presence of Facebook via one of these pages, that are in different categories of whether you're a professional services, you're a bricks and mortar, you're a local community store, whatever it might be. And then they are, or they should be, sharing, or posting with a certain amount of regularity and consistency, such that their audience sees their content.

Now it has been increasingly more challenging over the years, as Facebook's algorithm gradually works against you. And it is now what I refer to as a pay to play environment, where you have to pay to promote your page so that people will like it, and then once people like it that's no guarantee that they'll see your content, so you have to pay to get content in front of your existing fans, friends of fans, and if you want to do what is referred to as dark social, posting content to people that are far removed for your pages audience.

Having said all that, even though it's a pay to play environment, it is still one of the most cost effective ways to market from a pay per click and reach and conversion point of view. In comparison to something like LinkedIn, as much as I love LinkedIn, and as much as it's delivered so much value for me personally and professionally, it's expensive to advertise there. And a Facebook page for a company performs considerably better than a company page on LinkedIn. Most of the value, in my experience, and in opinion, to be derived from LinkedIn for B to B organizations, unless they have a sizeable ad budget, most of the value of LinkedIn will be coming from their own sales representatives, who use LinkedIn to make proper connections with prospects, to mind their client networks for referrals, those kinds of things.

And so just getting back to Facebook from a B to B standpoint, because it's a cost effective channel to market, and because it's the largest single social network in the world by membership, you can't ignore its size, its scope, its reach, and when you do analysis on the top channels where content is shared, Facebook is always there. So if I want my content related to my B to B agenda or objectives, I want it to be seen, well I can't ignore the largest channel in the world, and the channel where B to B content is actually performing well. So I need to at a minimum consider whether or not it would be a great fit to my marketing strategy and objectives.

Bill Banham: Awesome, thank you. So it sounds like there are loads of new opportunities, and lots of companies are waking up to the benefits of Facebook. But what about some of the shortcomings? For example, can you tell us a bit about how Facebook's segmentation and targeting of certain demographics compares against what I understand to be far more detailed segmentation that is still available on LinkedIn?

Andrew Jenkins: I agree. And this is what LinkedIn will argue from a competitive standpoint is that they're targeting on LinkedIn is far more granular, and I'll give you that. As LinkedIn would say, if you want a particular kind of person in Thunder Bay by job description, job title, et cetera, you can get it, it's very, very granular.

Now it's dependent on whatever the user populated into LinkedIn, but there's a lot of data points that LinkedIn has, geographic locations, time, and in particular positions, et cetera. For Facebook, again, they are based on user generated content, can't get that granular, it gets into interests. Occasionally it'll look at a lot of job titles, but again, not everyone is that specific on Facebook. So sometimes it is an educated guess. However, my argument is do you spend $1.50 on a click on an educated guess, or do you want to spend $10 on a click and both of you get the same outcome? Or both deliver the same outcome?

But when you aggregate that out to okay, I'm spending $500 on Facebook and $500 on LinkedIn, $500 goes a long way on Facebook, and goes very, very quickly, or gets used up quickly from an expense point of view, on LinkedIn, very, very quick.

Bill Banham: Now one thing that Facebook arguably does better than LinkedIn, for example, is its chat functionality, its real time features. So a bit like that very scary tool for many people out there, Snapchat. What are the unique opportunities, but also some of the unique challenges, when it comes to B to B marketing sales in trying to use things like Facebook Live?

Andrew Jenkins: Facebook Live or Facebook chat?

Bill Banham: Both, those real time dialogue based tools.

Andrew Jenkins: Well the best thing about Facebook Live is if I want to hold an event, LinkedIn doesn't let you hold an event within their platform, yet. I suspect they're working on something. But if I want to hold a press conference, or I want to make an announcement, or I want to run a contest and I want to announce the winner live on Facebook, I can make it more of an event, a lot more buzz there on Facebook. It's in the palm of everyone's hands, I can watch it on my phone, I can watch it on my desktop, or Ipad, or tablet. And you can do both. I mean if you're going to be doing something in the real world, but you want to post it on social as well, this is where live can have some advantages. And you end with video after the fact. However, it's live, so if you're not accustomed to what Live means from a behavior standpoint, you need to be careful. You don't want to be walking around logged into Facebook Live, walking around the office, and things in the background that one, people don't realize they're on live internet feed, there's information that's confidential, or you're just embarrassing some people, or there's some behavior that out of context looks inappropriate. All those things, those are some of the risks that one must consider when it comes to live.

But Live is on the rise. So there is some benefit or usefulness to it, but you've got to plan. That would be my advice, don't use it unless you've planned things out appropriately, and considered some of the scenarios that could be detrimental to the company.

Switching to Facebook Messenger, when I become a fan of your page, well now we can start having messenger dialogue. And you're going to see, and it's already started happening, the rise of chatbots speaking to customers on behalf of the company. And so a lot of ground can be covered initiating a dialogue between a chat bot and a customer, or customer service. And in some cases you're seeing connections being made over Messenger, and they're forgoing the page, they're not having much, if any, interaction with the page, and it's all been Messenger.

So rather than suggest they should be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Messenger, and Snapchat, being on many and doing it poorly, they should be on a few and do them well. And unless they're ready for Messenger, they don't need to adopt it just yet. But they need to recognize it's coming, and prepare themselves accordingly.

Bill Banham: If you were chatting with a potential client say, and they hadn't ever spent any dollars on boosted posts, or attracting people to their page, or direct clicks back to their website, whatever those different options are, broadly speaking to get going for a small business, what would be your typical recommendation of the monthly spend to start with?

Andrew Jenkins: I would experiment, just start with 100 bucks and see where that gets you. Or spend 50, 50 on promoting your page, and 50 on promoting a piece of content, and see what happens. Sometimes virality will work in your favor. If you're running a contest where there's something they can win, there's a free give away, that tends to organically juice things. And so even though you're paying to put content in certain places, some of the keen interests of those being reached will take over, and kind of turbo charge it. If you're not giving something away, and you're asking people to respond to your call to action, then this is where you need to experiment a little bit with the kind of image that you're using to attract them. What kind of language do you use around that? Do you AB test the language and or the picture? Do you AB test the audience? And so you might want to play around, and this is why, another advantage of Facebook, is that I can do this kind of testing without spending a lot of money. It's very hard to do anything on LinkedIn without spending at least $250, and even still sometimes they'll advise you that's insufficient budget to accomplish what you're trying to do. But like I said, I'm not here to slag LinkedIn, I love LinkedIn and it's been valuable to me personally and professionally. But when you're asking me about where to spend my money from an advertising point of view, I've got to say Facebook.

Bill Banham: Indeed listeners, and because we are so fair and objective here, we have also created a show which specifically looks at LinkedIn, and the options there. So you can check that one out to give you the full picture. But for today, as always, we're going to finish of by I'm going to ask you, out of five stars, how many would you give to Facebook's B to B focused features?

Andrew Jenkins: Three and a half. The reason being it's not as targeted as LinkedIn, so I have to penalize it there. But you can't ignore its reach. Part of the reason I'm penalizing it as well is there's a lot more experimentation required, so you can't just throw $100 at it, and know it's going to work absolutely. Sometimes I have to say to myself "you know what, I'm going to set aside $500, I'm going to spend the first 100, or 200 experimenting, so that I can get the most out of my final 300 that I allocate." And so that may not make everyone comfortable, and so that experimentation is both a good thing and another reason why I'd penalize it from getting higher than a three and a half. But it's just the nature of the environment. They're making it more indepth for you to reach an audience organically.

Bill Banham: Okay, awesome. Well as Facebook is changing so much so regularly, perhaps we'll do another review of this in six months or twelve months time, and who knows listeners, perhaps they'll get a better rating at that stage, or maybe it could get worse. We'll await that chat with Andrew at that point. But for now, this takes us to the end of the show, and it just leaves me to say Andrew Jenkins, as always, thanks for being our guest expert today.

Andrew Jenkins: My pleasure.

Bill Banham: And until next time listeners, get on Facebook, give it a try for yourselves. There are so many options, you can start by spending just a few dollars and testing some of the results, and playing about with different segments, getting involved creating event pages and company pages, and so much more. So give it a try, and as always we love feedback to tell us what you think. 

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