Throwing B2B tactics at Facebook is like fishing for trout in the middle of the ocean
Go to Google and search for “B2B” and “Facebook”. You will quickly find an endless sea of stats and figures that show how Facebook “generates this” and “increases that” (traffic mostly, but I’ll get to that later).
- Study: Photos on Facebook generate more engagement
- Study: Mobile ads making large inroads on Facebook
- Five Ways to Boost B2B Fan Engagement on Facebook
- How Facebook Just Became Critical for B2B
- Facebook vs. LinkedIn – 10 B2B Marketing Resources [with Infographic]
There is so much hype that it is of little surprise that many B2Bs have jumped on the Facebook bandwagon – without a strategy – hoping that by simply copying their B2C cousins, the social network behemoth will bestow endless qualified leads upon them.
“Facebook, bless it’s heart, desperately wants to be relevant to B2B marketers. But several times this year, I’ve been in large rooms of people when someone has asked anyone asked to raise their hand if they have found new business from Facebook. Never have a I seen a hand go up.”
Unless you have a specific need to attract the Facebook crowd (an event, perhaps), throwing B2B tactics at Facebook is like fishing for trout in the middle of the ocean. Sure, you may attract tons of other eyeballs, but what’s the point if all those eyeballs bounce? No wonder B2Bs say things like, “We tried social media but it doesn’t work.” Um… yeah. Try fishing in the right pond and with the right bait and you will sing a different tune.
LinkedIn: where the B2B fish hang out
It’s true that Facebook is an ocean compared to LinkedIn. All the traffic stats are bang on: Facebook generates four times more traffic than LinkedIn. That makes sense: Facebook has over 1 Billion users where LinkedIn has 200 Million. But as I already mentioned, what’s the point of spending all that time and effort to generate traffic that results in unqualified leads? That’s just not good business. How many high-school students need B2B products? How many OEMs use Facebook when procuring a million dollar account? Strategic, targeted campaigns using the right tactics for the right demographic will always net higher returns. The chart from Hubspot on the right is a perfect case in point. Although LinkedIn only drives 1/4 of the traffic that Facebook generates, it yields four times more lead conversions than Facebook. Which would you rather have? Four times for traffic or four times more conversions?
Why is LinkedIn more effective than Facebook for B2B?
- LinkedIn is a business network, Facebook is a social network.
- LinkedIn has a higher conversion rate (2.6% vs. Facebook’s 0.39%).
- LinkedIn is growing faster (60.7% YOY vs. Facebook’s 20.7% YOY).
I know I’m going upset some B2Bs that are seeing some success with Facebook. The point of this post is to focus on strategy before jumping into tactics, a common B2B marketing mistake. Facebook can work if it’s done right and for the right audience. For example, Dell created an excellent campaign for their Dell For Business division by integrating a targeted inbound strategy for both Facebook and YouTube. It can work if you plan your work and work your plan. It also helps if you have the brand awareness Dell does (that’s a tip).
Last time I checked, lonely single people, students, and retired seniors don’t make good B2B leads. If you’re going to hunt for B2B leads on Facebook be sure to have the market research in your corner to back you up when you start spending your hard-earned dollars. LinkedIn is a better choice but it too requires proper planning and execution in order to make it work.
What are your experiences in driving qualified leads on Facebook and LinkedIn? Share your thoughts and sound off in the comments below or on Twitter (@SterlingKlor).