Anyone who pays any attention to what’s happening in the world of social media is probably aware that of Facebook’s 1 billion+ users, half of them log in every day. Many of them are in search of updates from people they have personal connections with, but a chunk of them are also checking in with their favorite brands and businesses. They’re looking for deals, how-to tips, and news about new products and features. And while many of these businesses cater to consumers, there are also opportunities for businesses that cater to other businesses to gain a committed following on Facebook.
The B2B audience might be smaller, and businesses that are reaching out to other businesses on Facebook face unique challenges, but it’s worth the time and effort.
At ShortStack, we are in a position where we function as both a B2B and B2C business. And we’ve found that contests are a great way to engage with our existing users and to find prospective ones.
If you’ve been thinking about running a Facebook contest for your B2B company, these six tips will help:
Learn About Your Customers and Clients
Use a contest as an opportunity to learn more about your customers/clients — but make sure they know that one of your goals is to be able to serve them better. When people fill out your contest entry form, ask them a few questions that will help you. What products are they looking for? What products do they wish you offered? What is their budget for next year? What is the time frame for these major purchases? Collecting this kind of information will help you meet the future needs of your customers and clients.
Connect With Your Customer’s Network
If you are a B2B company, you will be “talking,” for the most part, to people who already know about your business. But hosting a contest gives you an opportunity to have your existing customers share information about you with their connections. When you set up your contest, make sure your app provider allows you to offer a feature that doubles the chances of winning for anyone who shares the entry form. Why? Because the people who enter your contest are more likely to share news about the contest if there is something in it for them — in this case, an increased chance of winning your prize. For example, if you own a meat distribution company, set up the contest like this: “Enter to win free meat for a month! Know other restaurant owners? Get them to enter and double your chances to win.”
Show Off Your Company’s Personality
Remember that one reason social media has disrupted traditional marketing in so many ways is that it gives companies the opportunity to be more transparent and let their hair down a bit. Since your marketing is going to be seen in between photos of friends and family, make sure it fits. A corporate vision statement as a status update is BORING. Posting a video of your office’s Harlem Shake video (yes, we jumped on that bandwagon and had a ton of fun doing it!) shows that your company has a human side, even though it might be embarrassing to watch. People like to learn about the culture of companies they do business with. A contest can also do that. We have a contest running right now that simply asks our users to guess which day we’ll hit 50K Facebook fans. The prize isn’t huge — ShortStack swag, like t-shirts and stickers — but the app is fun and colorful and we set it up so that when people share it with their friends, they have more chances to win.
Get In Front Of Your Clients
Let’s say you use email newsletters to share information about your company and products. Newsletters are a great way to alert both existing and prospective customers about special deals and new features. But newsletters are also likely to be filed — figuratively, anyway — under “business.” If you have a presence on Facebook you are engaging with your customers in the same place they engage with their friends and families. Your invitation to enter your company’s contest could potentially show up in between pictures of their children or grandchildren. In other words, via social media you have an opportunity to have dialogue with your customers that might not have anything to do with sales. Those newsletters are still important, but a contest gives you an opportunity to have some fun with your customers.
Share, Share, Share
When you get your contest app up and running, don’t be shy about promoting it. Add a link to the bottom of your email newsletter. Put news about the contest and a link to the app on your website, tweet a link (if you happen to be on Twitter) and even add a link to your email signature. Don’t neglect any opportunities to get the word out.
Mobile Access Is A Must
Since the majority of Facebook’s users (680 million and counting, according to the company’s most recent quarterly report) log in to Facebook via a mobile device, your contest apps (and any other app for that matter!) must be viewable via mobile. Why does this matter? Because some apps created for Facebook won’t work on mobile unless the developer uses “smart” URLs that detect whether the user is on a mobile device or a desktop. Smart URLs adjust the content accordingly so it’s easy to see, read and use.
Have you used contests for your B2B business? What have you found works best? Anything you’ve been wanting to try?
Jim Belosic is the CEO of ShortStack, a self-service custom app design tool used to create apps for Facebook Pages, websites and mobile web browsing. ShortStack provides the tools for small businesses, graphic designers, agencies and corporations to create apps with contests and forms, fan gates, product lines and more.