Here’s a lesser known trick to build and strengthen business connections on Facebook. I talk a lot about social media being a dynamic and interactive place. It is difficult sometimes to know how to create that kind of presence with other businesses, especially when they are your target market (B to B). Those of us using Facebook to present our business online, and connect with our audience, are challenged to create a community around our brand that includes our business contacts.
Facebook does not allow business pages to interact directly with personal pages. When an individual likes your business page, you cannot reach them directly through messaging, email, or interacting on their pages. You can, however interact freely with other business pages through the “Like”, “Comment”, or “Share” feature on their posts. This is an excellent strategy to grow your audience by paying attention to and supporting others; when giving is primary to taking.
In addition to this approach, we highly encourage businesses to include another tool to increase your connectivity. Mention, through a clickable link, the businesses who’s relationships you want to strengthen, in your Facebook posts. This is how it works – when you publish a post on your business page, in the introduction type @ Facebook Page Name of the other business. As long as your page has already liked their page, their Facebook page name will populate as you type it in. It works the same was as tagging your “friends” on your personal page. When Facebook recognizes the page name it comes up as an option to click on, making it a clickable link to that business page directly in your post. Using this approach appropriately will forge stronger relationships with other businesses through their Facebook pages.
Using @mention in your posts has 2 outcomes that can be more powerful than liking, commenting, and sharing posts:
- The other business gets a notification on Facebook, and email if that setting is enabled, that their page was mentioned by your page. This is a link that takes them to the post where their business was highlighted. They can interact with the post on your page, increasing the communication. This can happen with the “share” feature as well, but the other business’s page is not highlighted so distinctly, so it doesn’t create as clear a call to action to click on their page as when the page name is linked in the post. Also, a shared post is simply that, which is nice, but says nothing about the business who’s post you are sharing. Mentioning their page gives you the opportunity to enhance your link something positive about that business.
- Your audience will see the other business tagged with a link to the other business’s page, and if you do it correctly, includes a reason to want to go to the other business page and connect with that business.
This is good for your business because it is good for the other business; it demonstrates good will to others and your audience who may benefit from the link you shared. If the other business is similarly inclined (hopefully they are), they should do the same for you on their page, drawing their audience directly to you and reinforcing the bond between your businesses.
Make sure the post and business tag you are publishing on your page make sense and are relevant to your industry, business, or community. Here is an example for how a business page can use this to a very positive effect:
A mortgage lender posts a home listing from one of the realtors who could refer homebuyers. In the introduction to the listing the mortgage lender adds @Super Realtor. The lender’s network can click on the link to the realtor and check out their page and the listing, and connect directly with the realtor to get more information on the house. The realtor is notified that @Savvy Mortgage Lender mentioned their page and promoted their listing on their Facebook page. @Super Realtor is grateful for the recognition and expanded audience and is likely to return the favor, either on Facebook or through direct referral. @Savvy Mortgage Lender’s Facebook audience has a direct link if they are interested in that house.
If the business you tag doesn’t respond, even with a Thank You, that may mean they aren’t paying attention to what is happening with their page or may not know what to do about it. It probably isn’t personal. If that happens you may want to follow up with an email or message to let them know you’d like to share content and invite them to share any of your information on their page.
If anyone ever interacts with or tags your page, always acknowledge, appreciate, and where possible, reciprocate. It is considered bad form to ignore your audience online, so be sure to be one of the good ones…or hire a professional to do it for you. When I do this for my clients and the target business responds, I am far more likely to continue promoting their page for my client, as opposed to the ones who ignore the recognition and I stop engaging directly with those pages.
This kind of networking can be effective for any business, even those that serve individuals. Businesses typically don’t operate in isolation and benefit from other business connections as referral partners, vendors, or support companies. Give this a try and let me know how it works for you.