Should businesses ignore Facebook for B2B marketing?

The first social network that comes to mind when thinking about B2B social media marketing is obviously LinkedIn. However, what about Facebook? Is it suitable for business-to-business? Of course it all depends on your market, goals and target groups. An overview and an infographic.

Business buyers are people and they also use Facebook. Although Facebook is generally less used in the buying process than blogs and LinkedIn, it certainly shouldn’t be ignored.

While many strictly distinguish between Facebook as the ‘consumer environment’ and LinkedIn as the B2B place-to-be, in many countries and demographics Facebook is so popular that professionals use it both for personal and business reasons. They simply know how to distinguish between friends, family and professional contacts.

Furthermore, there is a new generation of B2B buyers: the social ones. They are more used to social platforms and can be compared with the ‘connected consumer’.

Differences between Facebook and LinkedIn

In total, 93% of all business buyers believe that social media presence is important and necessary, 85% believe interaction and engagement is important.

Facebook of course has way more users and people spend much more time on Facebook then on LinkedIn. However 41% of all companies that used Facebook for B2B marketing did acquire new customers via this network as LinkedIn reaches a more professional audience by definition and is built for business networking.

Also remember that the B2B buying process is a group process so, even if the final decision maker is not on Facebook, those that influence him might be. Tip: only request to connect on Facebook if the buyer already knows you from a blog, Twitter, LinkedIn or in real-life.

Some goals you can use Facebook for as a B2B marketer according to a survey of B2BOnline.com:

  • Focus on thought leadership (done by 60% of respondents).
  • Generate leads (49%).
  • Solicit feedback (46%).
  • Use Facebook advertising but only when the goal is clear (35% of respondents do it).

More goals you can serve using Facebook for B2B marketing:

  • Branding: being more personal and transparent by interacting in a more human way.
  • Customer support.
  • Creating communities (Groups).
  • Relationships: showing who you are and what you do in an engaging and more ‘fun’ way.

Should you advertise on Facebook as a B2B marketer?  It really depends on your goals and target group. In integrated marketing activities, it surely helps. One reason might be reaching more people although that often goes hand in hand with other tactics such as sponsoring.

Why did the $100m companies sponsor the Olympics 2012? Because the reach was phenomenal. So is the reach of Facebook.
So listen, watch and learn.. but don’t forget to be prepared for criticism too.

Facebook in B2B Marketing (vs Linkedin) Infographic

http://www.socialmarketingforum.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/facebook-in-B2B-marketing-infographic.jpg

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