Facebook for B2B Marketers: To Stay or Go?

Facebook is the world’s largest online network, and for years has been the go-to for marketers looking to create a relationship with their customers on a more personal level.

Businesses have flocked to Facebook with high aspirations of building their customer base, driving website traffic and increasing sales. As a result it’s becoming saturated, and businesses are finding it difficult to cut through the noise.

Why Are B2B Marketers Abandoning Facebook?

The past 6 months has seen a huge rise in the number of companies quitting Facebook. Copy Blogger was the first high profile company to take the leap, despite its 38,000 strong fan base. The company made the decision that shocked the digital world after attempting, and failing to get enough out of their Facebook profile for one month to justify ROI.

What followed was a period of uncertainty. Marketing articles shouting about the many benefits of Facebook were replaced by those warning businesses of the site’s shortcomings. Even Forbes waded in to the debate with their article ‘Facebook Pages are a Bad Investment for Small Businesses’, leaving CEOs and marketers industry-wide questioning their stance on the platform.

Confusion is also widespread in the B2B space, where businesses are exposed to huge amounts of conflicting advice. Traditionally in B2B, LinkedIn has been cited as the go-to social media site, but according to some studies, Facebook also represents a huge opportunity to reach a professional audience.

At The Lead Agency, we’re torn. As a small B2B business, we can’t decide whether to build our Facebook page or whether our efforts would be better spent on other channels. We need your opinion! Here are the two sides of the argument.

Should we stay…

Facebook generates leads & prospect information

With well over 1 billion users worldwide, there’s no denying that Facebook has the potential to generate leads. It can also be used to capture information on possible leads when they click through on your calls to action and opt in to an email list, complete a form or download a white paper.

Facebook gets content out there

Over 4.75 billion pieces of content are shared daily on Facebook [Facebook, May 2013], so there’s no denying it’s a fantastic platform for spreading your content. Facebook can expand the reach of the content to an audience that normally wouldn’t see it … as long as it’s relevant and engaging enough to be shared.

Facebook personalises a brand

People relate to people, so Facebook can provide an ideal platform for giving your brand a face and a more exciting personality beyond your corporate impression. As long as you’re consistent with your brand image, Facebook provides an opportunity to have a bit more fun with your customers.

Facebook is an advertising opportunity

Facebook ads can provide an extremely high ROI with their specific segmenting and targeting options that ensure you reach the customers you want with the demographics relevant to your business. You can’t advertise on Facebook if you don’t have a business account, so the two go hand in hand.

Or should we go…

Facebook users aren’t a targeted audience

You spend time and effort attracting fans to your business page on Facebook, however it’s difficult to know how likely these fans are to actually buy from your business. Targeting on Facebook (without using ads) is almost extremely difficult, so your Facebook page may be connecting your business to people you don’t actually want to market to.

Facebook isn’t as relevant for B2B

Some B2B marketers consider Facebook to be an unprofessional environment for conducting professional business. People don’t go on Facebook to get educated on customer service, but visit the platform to connect with their network in their free time. As a result, much of the shared content is personal, such as humorous memes, family photos, YouTube videos and inspirational quotes. None of which is relevant to your B2B business.

It’s difficult to get noticed on Facebook

Overall, Facebook organic reach is falling and as such, brands are struggling to get real reach and engagement for the effort they put in.  According to a study by Social@Ogilvy, the average Facebook Business post only reaches 6.15% of the page’s fans [February 2014]. Considering the amount of fans most businesses have, this is an extremely low reach.

Facebook takes traffic away from the business site

Creating content for Facebook takes a lot of time, effort and staff resources. However as Facebook is an external website, the content may never have the desired affect of fulfilling a call to action or driving users to your website. Consider the 6.15% of fans that you do reach – how many of them are likely to click through to your website?  The effort you put in to Facebook would likely be better spent on developing your website and content.

 

So, now that you’ve seen both sides of the argument, tell us what you think we should do? Vote in our poll and have the final say!

 

 

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