Facebook Business Pages - Successful B2B Case Studies:
A study on maximising social traction

Carl Henderson

Posted by Carl Henderson

Achieving social success on your Facebook business page can be challenging for B2B companies, due to the nature of their business and the products and services they deliver. Compared with their B2C counterparts, engagement doesn’t come easy.
But there are companies who are seeing results:

•    Accenture•    Caterpillar Inc•    DELL Enterprise•    ScrewFix
•    Simply Business•    Sophos•    Stobart Group•    RICS
•    UPS•    Virgin Media Pioneers

We explored the Facebook posting strategies of the businesses above to see which techniques are proving successful at driving likes, comments and shares.

• How we went about it

• We selected 10 Facebook pages of 10 B2B companies that have a reasonable number of people who have liked their page, and at least one post with relatively high levels of engagement.
• For each of the Facebook pages, we recorded the number of likes, comments and shares for the 100 most recent posts. (The data was gathered on 22nd October 2012 for posts up to and including 15th October 2012, to allow time for people to like, comment and share).
• We categorised each post according to their theme and identified which means of engagement the posts used e.g. questions, calls to action, links, images, etc.

• So what gets likes?

Pictures?

Facebook is a very visual platform. This might seem like common sense, yet of the 1,000 posts we analysed, only 32% of them took advantage of images. Please note these are full-size images contained within the post, as opposed to thumbnails that automatically appear when posting a link.

From our survey, posts with images received on average 5.5 times more likes than those without.

We’re not saying you should start posting images and images only. Check out what Facebook outlines as the best practices for using images in posts on your business page. It is not recommended to use pictures instead of text, but rather to use them to complement your message.

And don’t just link to images elsewhere on the web. It’s better to host images you use on your Facebook page itself, so the pictures you post stay in your Facebook album.

• What gets comments?

Questions!

Again, sounds fairly straightforward, but posts that posed a question received on average twice the number of comments than posts without.

If you’re looking to start a discussion on your Facebook page – begin by asking questions of your users.

Our data also reveals that probing for opinion yields more comments still. Specifically, yes-or-no questions bring fewer comments than questions starting with ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘how’.

Posts calling for opinion (what, where, how) get 45% more comments than those that don’t.

• What gets shared?

Links!

People enjoy sharing links to useful and compelling content. In our data, posts with links were shared on average twice as much as posts without links.

Despite this striking difference, just posting a link doesn’t work. Go a step further and complement with an image and add an appropriate message to better engage with your community.

• What should you share?

So now we know posting images is associated with likes and asking a question prompts people to leave comments, but which themes gain the most traction?

As part of our study we assigned every post to a distinct theme. We looked at how different themes perform in terms of key metrics – likes, comments and shares. You can see the results below.

The graph above and below clearly show that fun facts and giveaways are popular for gaining likes, but not so much for generating conversation. If you’re after comments, questions are the out-and-out winner.

The final graph by theme (below), shows that Fun Facts are also popular for sharing as well as likes, and sharing expertise often gains shares, even though it doesn’t do so well for likes and comments.

• Sparks of Brilliance – A B2B Facebook Showcase

Borrow these ideas and use them for your own business!

Now that we’ve looked at different ways to generate engagement, it’s time for some specifics. Below we’ve taken the most successful posts from each of the 10 Facebook pages we looked at and explored the reasons behind their success.

These are all simple in concept, and – with just a little ingenuity - you should be able to adapt a high proportion of them for your own business.

1

Simply Business

200,000th Customer Competition

16 times more likes than the average post (of the 100 posts we analysed on the Simply Business page)
This is the results post of a competition that Simply Business ran. It has a great human interest story, and includes a link and a picture. Consider how you might apply this to your company? Do you have a landmark number of customers or sales coming up? There has to be something you can engineer. How about the 100th or 1000th person to like your Facebook page?

On Facebook:
Simply Business
200,000th Customer Competition

 

2

Virgin Media Pioneers

Be True to Who You Are

8 times more likes and 8 times more shares than the average post (of the 100 posts we analysed on the Virgin Media Pioneers page)
This post has a 'tag yourself' call to action and an inspirational message put in an image. This is possibly one of the simplest post-types to replicate. With a simple graphics editor, and the aid of sites like BrainyQuote, you could quickly knock something together that will appeal to your audience.

On Facebook:
Virgin Media Pioneers
Be True to Who You Are

 

3

Accenture

Sharing company achievements

Almost 4 times more likes than the average post (of the 100 posts we analysed on the Accenture page)
A simple message about the company’s achievement gained 79 likes. It’s possible these likes could have been from company employees, but it still extends the reach of the post to the friends of those 79 people. Perhaps it might not be quite as grand, but you could still share some of your company’s smaller successes. Perhaps include a photo of the team and tag them. Be careful not to fill your page with news that’s all about you. But the odd post here and there can really make your audience feel like they are getting to know you.

On Facebook: Accenture   |    Sharing company achievements

 

4

Caterpillar

Creative Renovation

4.3 times more likes than the average post (of the 100 posts we analysed on the Caterpillar page)
What made this post successful? A dose of nostalgia, great photography, a call to action and a link to a relevant page on the company’s website. Sites like Wikimedia Commons and Flickr can be a great source of images you’re free to use.

On Facebook: Caterpillar   |    Creative Renovation


5

DELL Enterprise

Giveaways

21 times more likes than the average post (of the 100 posts we analysed on the Dell Enterprise page)
A useful giveaway, complete with a call to action, a direct link and an image. Is there something you can give away that your audience will value?

On Facebook:
DELL Enterprise
Giveaways

 

6

UPS

Inspirational Staff Stories

The most liked, commented on and shared post in our dataset.
A fantastic human interest story with a photo, a link and a call to action. But we don’t all have stories of saving lives. But simpler staff stories can also do well. Take the one below, acknowledging one member of staff’s service to the company. Perhaps you can come up with something similar.
On Facebook: UPS   |    Inspirational staff stories

 

7

ScrewFix

Humour

12 times more likes than the average post (of the 100 posts we analysed on the Screwfix page)
This might not tickle everyone, but this comic fits with their brand brilliantly.

On Facebook:
Screwfix
Humour

 

8

Sophos

Sharing expertise

5 times more likes than the average post (of the 100 posts we analysed on the Sophos page)
Sophos did their own original research and shared a link to it, including a “click like” call to action with a punchy reason for doing so. This is a bigger investment, and they will have done it for more than the Facebook likes alone, but it shows that bigger thought-pieces can be seeded well through social media.

On Facebook: Sophos   |   Sharing expertise

 

9

Stobart Group

Asking Questions & Announcing an Event

5 times more likes than the average post (of the 100 posts we analysed on the Stobart Group page)
This post combined a photo, questions and an announcement of the upcoming event, Stobart Fest. Perhaps the upcoming event doesn’t even need to be your own, just one that is relevant to your industry. And you can still pose a question. What do you think of the promo design? Who’s going? What are you most looking forward to?

On Facebook:
Stobart Group
Asking Questions & Announcing an Event

 

10

RICS

A snapshot from inside the organisation by RICS

9 times more likes than the average post (of the 100 posts we analysed on the RICS page)
Through image and text, this post shows RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) as a friendly organisation that cares about their members. It shows a member of the institution who stopped by the office receiving some promotional goodies from one of the team – a very simple idea with a human touch. What could you do for your members or customers that you can share?

On Facebook:
RICS
A snapshot from inside the organisation by RICS

 

Next Steps

So what now? Well, you know that images are a winner for almost any type of post. And using questions that start with ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ will help get you greater levels of conversation on your page. For more information on perfecting your posts, check out the Social Media Blueprint slideshow.

Look at the examples included in the showcase and quickly brainstorm how you could apply each of these to your own Facebook page.

Many of them should be low-cost, and when you find which ones work for you, just rinse-and-repeat. Whatever you do, remember to focus on using compelling images – Facebook is a fast-paced and highly visual medium.

We hope you find these tips useful. Tell us about your experiences. What else have you found effective? Tell us in the comments below.

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