B2B marketers re-discover Facebook

Storyhooks Facebook for B2B

The received wisdom that Facebook is no good for B2B marketing is being challenged. A recent survey showed that 50% of employees in large companies felt that Facebook was effective for B2B marketing, and 90% said that it increased exposure.

There are far more people on Facebook than LinkedIn, and they spend much more time on the network – LinkedIn is a professional platform, which means that if you use it, you’re confident that you are marketing to people actually working. But around the world, there are millions more users of Facebook than LinkedIn: 1.2bn vs. 300m, and they seem to spend far more time per month on the platform. If you want to get your message to more people, Facebook is key.

‘Liking’ and ‘sharing’ are common currency on Facebook, so your posts will be seen more widely – Facebook users share and like content all the time. It’s how the platform works. Your newsfeed is made up of information about what your friends have liked and shared. Other platforms don’t really work like that, which means that the organic reach of Facebook is very high.

If you show people something that will help them with their work, they will click on it – People go onto Facebook to be distracted from their work. But if they’re at work, they will probably feel a bit guilty about that. If, however, you can show them something that helps them to do their work, they will click on it, because they can then convince themselves that they are working. In other words, Facebook works for B2B marketing.

Marketing on Facebook is via paid advertising, not organic reach – If you want to play, you have to pay. Facebook needs to make money, and it’s doing so by charging businesses to use its platform. The days of users ‘liking’ your page and then seeing your content forevermore are gone. If you don’t pay, you will miss out.

Content is still king – Your B2B audience is probably using Facebook to market to their customers. If you provide good content that helps them to do this, as well as solving other problems for them, they will share it. Win-win. It’s also helpful to publish at times when your audience is on Facebook looking for content to share, which means that you need to understand your audience.

Facebook has good analytics to help you understand your audience – Facebook Insights shows you how your audience engages with your page, so you can explore their preferences. You can see who is engaging, and also target content better. You can also use Google Analytics to help you find out more about your audience.

You need to optimise your business page and maintain an active presence on Facebook – Your business page needs to be properly branded, and also contain messages and organic posts. It’s no good setting it up and then abandoning it. You should also do a bit of active forward scheduling. Facebook takes a bit of effort if you are going to reap the full benefits.

It’s a good idea to set up a remarketing tag on your website via the Facebook ads function – That way, when people have visited your website, they will see your ads when they visit Facebook (which, let’s face it, they are likely to do more often). You can then remarket to them as and when, though best practice suggests that your ‘remarketing’ should provide interesting content, not push for sales.

Facebook can match your list of email addresses to user accounts to help you tailor campaigns – Because most people do not attach business emails to Facebook accounts, you will only get about 30 to 60% matching, but that’s still a substantial number of people. The advantage of targeting by account not device is that your customers will see your messages whatever device they are using, including mobile. More than 80% of Facebook users access their account via mobile. Facebook can also create a ‘looky-likey’ audience based on your contact list, which gives you extra reach.

It takes time to build an audience on social media – Don’t despair if nothing happens immediately. It really does take time to build up your presence on any particular platform, including Facebook. A recent survey suggested that two years might be the tipping point for seeing real and tangible benefits.

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