b2b-facebookOne of the hottest debates in social media marketing circles is whether or not Facebook is a good choice for B2B marketing campaigns. About half the social media marketing experts warn professionals not to waste any time on Facebook for B2B. The other half insist that Facebook is the Next Big Thing for B2B.

Who’s right? Let’s review the arguments.

B2B social media marketing on Facebook: No way! Because…

  • Facebook is designed for B2C marketing. Even if you do pick up B2B leads, they aren’t very likely to convert into sales.
  • You risk stirring up resentment against your brand. For many people, including business people, Facebook is where they take their personal life. They don’t want to think about business.
  • The numbers aren’t encouraging: A recent BtoB magazine survey found that Facebook trailed blogs, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter in B2B marketing effectiveness.
  • Many of the “Facebook B2B success stories” are misleading. Most of the successes are really B2C campaigns, targeting business professionals (for training, recruiting, and personal purchases for career use) rather than B2B campaigns targeting decision makers for corporate purchasing programs.

B2B social media marketing on Facebook: Yes! Because…

  • Facebook is too big to ignore. Because of the size of the market, Facebook is a party that your company can’t afford to miss.
  • Social media innovators are doing Facebook B2B. Far-sighted companies like Cisco and Intel use Facebook to generate robust discussion, using interesting topics and relying on Facebook followers’ “shares” to get the word out. In short, they see the Facebook frontier as a long-term investment.
  • Stealth campaigns. Facebook is a natural for nurturing ongoing B2B relationships, allowing the company to interact with the client in a relaxed environment.

Well, maybe…

It turns out that much of what I discovered about B2B social media marketing on Facebook falls in to the “yes, if” or “maybe” category.

  • It works for events. Facebook pages turn out to be effective at driving attendance to B2B events that are perceived as a mix of business and fun.
  • Your competition may be there already. According to David Rodnitzky of FBPPC.com, the appearance of B2B ads on Facebook has been growing in recent months.
  • You can use Welcome pages to generate leads. Facebook’s Welcome pages, an underused tool, are like having your company website on Facebook.
  • The new Custom Audience tool improves targeting. It allows advertisers to target Facebook ads by email address — great for B2B campaigns to known leads.
  • Try the special features. Some companies report that Facebook works for B2B lead generation if you invest in the whiz-bang extras, including ads, promoted posts and sponsored stories.

My conclusions?

While Facebook should not be the core of your B2B social media marketing strategy, it’s well worth considering. You should probably give it a try if:

  • Your company’s target groups are already active on Facebook.
  • You are willing to invest the resources needed to keep your Facebook presence lively and entertaining.
  • You take a strategic approach. Periodically compare the ROI from Facebook campaigns to that of your other social media activities.