Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Facebook Questions: A Gold Mine for BtoB Marketers?

Can the introduction of Facebook Questions become the catalyst for a shift toward more business engagements? From what I've seen, many still use Facebook primarily for personal reasons and it's been a challenge for BtoB companies to create high-quality engagements on Facebook. Typically, we see lots of "Likes", some fun posts and from time to time, we see more serious comments, but I'm yet to see a BtoB page on Facebook that can show the existence of on-going and deep conversations (if you know of one, please do share!). Note the emphasis on the words "on-going", "deep" and "conversations". Now, LinkedIn, Twitter, Quora or your own community platform can become more like that today if used properly.

I'm not saying we should pull the plug and leave Facebook alltogether. No, that's not the point. Facebook has a place and a purpose in BtoB marketing. But the recent announcement by Facebook Questions might make BtoB marketers wonder if this feature will have the power to infuse more high-quality business engagements into Facebook. The company did state that this feature was not intended for advertising or self promotion so for now, let's put that question aside.

Where I can see this feature having an impact is on community engagement. Companies should look at their community strategy on 2 levels:
1. Participating in your own community
2. Plugging into applicable "guest" communities (i.e., communities you don't own or manage)

Depending on how Facebook Questions is set up, this might just provide another avenue for BtoB marketers to engage in Community conversations. Why should they (at least) consider this as an option? Because they could...
1. Get exposure to and get exposed to people with similar interests (potential leads or partners, or brand advocates anyone?)
2. Help increase brand image and perception as a thought leader
3. Learn real-time about what's going on, what the pain points are and/or where the confusion is (can you smell the potential for ideation, new features, functionality and/or business models?)

However, there's always 2 sides to every story. I suspect that once widely available, "Facebookers" will experiment with this feature. And it is possible that as more users and marketers engage, the nature and depth of conversations could reach new levels. But for now, we just need to sit tight. I can't wait to see what it will look like, how it will work and how it will help enhance business engagements over time (because I'd like to think that it will have the potential to do so).

While we figure this out, I'm going to put another challenge on the table.
A 2010 B2B Customer Engagement Study by SPSS, an IBM Company, and summarized by reported that about half of the interviewed companies said they were poor or very poor at mining insights from social media and only 19% thought they were good or very good at it. Translation: we, BtoB marketers, need to get better at this, otherwise Facebook Questions will remain just another thing to check.

No comments:

Post a Comment