Businesses that shun the frivolity of Facebook for B2B marketing could be losing out on influencing profitable business decisions. The latest findings of a recent survey report suggest companies that make assumptions about Facebook’s B2B marketing power are off point and inaccurate about how purchasing decisions are actually made in the real corporate world.
B2C for B2B?
Businesses have certainly leapt onto social media platforms with creative campaigns to interact with and convert consumers. Spurred on by relatively low costs and the possibility of a viral hit, companies hope to cash in on online marketing success. However, B2B communication has traditionally been seen as limited to more corporate-minded forums such as LinkedIn.
Follow your actions
The Hotwire and Vanson Bourne research suggests some 24% of business decision makers prefer Facebook to source information prior to any purchasing. At the same time, the survey of 1,000 business decision makers found around 30% of the marketing departments were not planning on utilizing the social media giant as part of their B2B marketing strategy. It seems there is a discrepancy between perception and reality, whereby decision makers’ behaviour is not filtering into marketing trajectories.
Facebook is a brand manager: Look at big-name brands, they are all on Facebook. The platform is a recognized forum for managing business reputation and corporate identity. Without Facebook you may struggle to come across as half-way worth being in contact with.
Blurred lines between consumers and corporates: With mangers surfing at work, both for business and personal reasons, the clear divide between consumer and corporate is a little fuzzier. Not only that, but decision makers are not necessarily flocking to sites such as LinkedIn for an overall impression of a business, meaning they are not acting how they are ‘supposed’ to.
Facebook has got everyone’s attention: Facebook’s reach is long and wide. The success of the social media site is phenomenal and attracts billions worldwide, including a great number on a smaller scale for locally focused enterprises. These vast numbers include business decision makers who use Facebook for work, rest and play.
Who is your audience?: Facebook may be about communications but customization and filters work well not just for consumers but B2B campaigns too. Reaching out and building up partnerships with businesses is facilitated by a Facebook presence, as is finding potential leads and business contacts.
Facebook gets noticed: The familiarity of Facebook pages, posts and ads, mean that other business contacts are comfortable finding information via the site and respond positively to corporate pages. The visual emphasis of the site instead of content-heavy information appeals to business leaders who need to glean information easily to start with before finding out more in-depth facts.
Marketing is multi-channel: Digital marketing campaigns are the norm today, with a greater acceptance on paid media and other new avenues such as native advertising. This refers to both consumers and businesses alike. Facebook is an integral part of that architecture with a focus on quick-to-grasp information and visual displays.
Digital device friendly: Because Facebook is so well optimized for smartphones it is easily accessible for decision makers who connect and source information away from the office or workplace. Facebook gives a business the sense of being in constant motion with updates, Likes and sharing, This reassures decisions makers that businesses are able to communicate more readily and that the Facebook information is up to date.
B2B Facebook benefits
In a separate study, the Social Media Marketing Industry Report 2015, around 90% of those surveyed cited Facebook B2B marketing as having increased their exposure, with 77% reporting increased traffic. As well as this, some 68% stated that Facebook marketing had resulted in market insights, while 65% linked Facebook campaigns to not only better search rankings, but also greater lead generation.
Facebook 2016 and beyond
As Facebook continues to evolve, the emphasis for B2B, and for B2C also, is on advertising rather than simply clocking up Likes and friends. Live streaming, video posts and more targeted advertising are set to define the culture and possibilities of B2B marketing plans. Whilst this may result in higher B2B Facebook marketing costs, it could also potentially expand and deepen engagement and increase ROI.
Of course, the success of Facebook as a B2B marketing tool depends on the quality and content of a corporate Facebook page, as well as on each individual company’s ability to display open, clear and approachable characteristics that run through the core.