“What social media platforms should I be on?”
I get that question a lot. And the simple answer is, you should be where your prospects and customers are. While we thoroughly research, analyze and develop strategy when we onboard a new client, there were some things that I was pretty comfortable stating based on my experience. One of those things was that for business-to-business (B2B companies, LinkedIn and YouTube was a “must,” Twitter was a “probably” and Facebook, you could probably prioritize off the list, unless you had a large budget and money didn’t matter.
Well, that was then and this is now.
In this business, you’ve to change with the times. Buyers change, platforms and channels change, and marketers have to do the same. This isn’t the first time I’ve done an about face — Twitter? Hated it originally and didn’t see the value.
I’ve made that change when it comes to recommending B2B Facebook marketing for my clients. I still think that you must do the research to determine if your prospects and clients are on Facebook, and you absolutely must have a strategy if you’re going to engage, and yes, you still may have to prioritize due to budget and resource constraints and Facebook may not make the cut. But, no longer do I think it isn’t a place for companies that sell to other companies.
Facebook has 1 billion users with 50% active daily. That is stunning.
Facebook has sometimes struggled to leverage its network to create marketing opportunities for businesses (and revenues for themselves). With the advent of their Graph Search, Facebook’s created a powerful tool that can really help business pages reach that user base.
There’s no question: brands are successfully engaging consumers through Facebook. Interacting with potential customers on Facebook is a no-brainer if you’re a B2C company, but B2B? Is B2B Facebook marketing as effective? Is it worth the effort?
The answer will depend on several factors:
Whether your audience spends time on Facebook (with attention to business content)
How well you engage with your followers
The type of content you share
I do think Facebook is now something a B2B company should consider, but first, ask yourself these questions before investing time and money into this social media platform.
1. Is Your Audience There?
Chances are, yes, many of your customers spend time on Facebook. But are they paying attention to work-related activity? Or do they focus on friends and family? If you’re trying to target engineers, you need to know that they turn to Facebook for industry news and updates, otherwise you’ll waste your time trying to find them.
Not sure if your audience is there? Ask them. Talk to your existing clients and see if they find value in companies like yours connecting with them on Facebook. You can also test it by setting up a Facebook page and promoting it to your clients. Then see how many people Like your page and interact with your content over a month or two, and decide whether it’s worth further investment.
Keep in mind that Facebook Graph Search has the high potential to EXPAND your audience base with its ability to suggest pages and make your business more easily findable. In the past, I think this question was easier for some businesses to answer negatively. Now, you could be easily be giving up on a great channel.
2. Do You Have Time to Dedicate on Facebook?
If you don’t have the resources to regularly monitor what people post to your page as well as share content, links, and updates, don’t bother with it. If you can only check in on Facebook once a month, your page won’t be appealing with its cobweb-covered status update.
It really doesn’t take too much time to devote to growing your audience on Facebook. Start with an hour a week. You can now schedule posts on your business page, so you can set up content to publish throughout the week. But if this isn’t doable, be honest with yourself and skip Facebook as a marketing tool.
3. What Kind of Content Will You Share?
Having a content plan can provide you with better results on Facebook. Aim for a mix of:
Links to your blog content
Blog posts from others in your industry
Questions for your followers
Responses to followers’ questions and comments
Photos and videos
The more diverse and useful your updates are, the better you’ll engage followers and attract new ones.
Work with your marketing and PR department to share promotions and company news as it’s released so that you create consistent messaging and increase the reach of anything you want to use to draw in new customers.
I often compare Facebook to inviting guests into your home – you’ve got to have a chair for them to sit down, a drink to offer your guests and something to talk about. Facebook takes a lot more to prompt engagement than other platforms. Be sure you have the content and the time to do so.
How to Benefit from Facebook
If you’re still not sold on using Facebook to reach existing and new customers, consider this; there are 1.15 billion Facebook users. They’re already there. If you provide unique and useful content, you give them a reason to connect with your brand there. They don’t have to visit your website; they can learn about your brand from the comfort of Facebook.
People are using social media more and more to make purchase decisions, and while B2C decisions still outweigh those made by B2B decision makers on Facebook, there’s still ample opportunity for your brand to corner the market through Facebook.
If you think your company isn’t one that can excite people on Facebook, think again. Brands in every niche have successfully engaged users in innovative ways. Here are a few for inspiration: