Hotwire PR released a brilliant report recently talking about how Facebook is now the preferred social channel for B2B decision makers.
1 in 4 respondents cited Facebook as their preferred social media platform when seeking information on a purchasing decision, ranking it ahead of B2B stalwarts LinkedIn and Twitter.
The research surveyed 1000 business decision makers, with LinkedIn cited as the preferred social channel by 17 per cent of respondents, and Twitter by a mere six per cent of decision makers.
Rather worryingly, the report also revealed almost a third of marketers do not plan to use Facebook in their own B2B marketing.
Why are decision makers turning to Facebook?
It’s easy to see why this is happening – an IT Director I used to work quite closely with reported that he receives several prospecting inmails a day – the clunky technology that Linkedin uses also continually sends these to his personal inbox as well as reminding him that he has unread messages.
If he posted a question such as, “I need a new IT supplier, anyone recommend any Dell specialists?” he is guaranteed to be inundated with salespeople responses, calls and emails rather than the opinion of his peers that he used to value.
While Linkedin has been busy educating sales teams on how to use social selling effectively and improving tools so prospecting becomes easier – Facebook have been working in the background almost as a silent assassin allowing IT Directors to gain recommendations in a less intrusive way.
Most people have Facebook. However, not only do most people have Facebook—most people check their feed regularly. Although LinkedIn is the professional network, how many people are logging in to the site for in-depth perusal every single day?
Also, a recent report by the B2B marketing agency Sacunas highlighted that Millenials are now the largest generation in work – 73% of which are included in decision making at some point in the buying process.
These decision makers are extremely digital-savvy and likely to research suppliers extensively in order to aid their decision. They’re also very unlikely to be loyal – focusing on innovation as an easy nudge to get them to switch providers.
A user’s Facebook network is also a lot more personal than Linkedin. You have the trust that if you asked your network to recommend a decent telephony provider, they would have some experiences to share and be unlikely to recommend a poor provider at the risk of damaging a friendship.
As a user, I’m a huge fan of Facebook advertising, it is un-intrusive and highly targeted. Although I’m usually tempted by fashion and fitness, there’s a few main targeting strategies within Facebook advertising that are extremely effective when it comes to B2B decision makers.
Industry: This list is incredibly extensive, so whatever industry your product is catered towards, you won’t have any issue finding it on this list.
Job Titles/Seniority: Job titles/senority can sometimes indicate a person with the power to buy – you can also search for these individuals and target them.
Interest Targeting: Interest targeting gives you a whole host of great options, such as those interested in just about anything under the “Business and industry” category. There are a large variety of categories, including investment banking, digital marketing, web design, real estate, and more.
Business/Office Size: If you are looking to connect with businesses of a certain size, this targeting criteria is fantastic. You can target users that work in a small office or business, for example, and even those who work at home.
The theory that Linkedin is becoming more and more like Facebook highlights that users enjoy looking at content that resonates to them emotionally rather than just relevant to their field of professionalism.
The most successful B2B Facebook pages provide fun posts but ensure they remain relevant to their mission statements. For example, a recruitment agency highlighting the most popular days of the year for employees to pull a sicky – but carrying a message on preparing for business recruitment needs in time for predicted shortages.
Likewise, an SEO company providing stats on the most googled types of pie – also highlights thought leadership into effective search strategies and experience.
What you don’t see enough of is customer communities within B2B Facebook pages – what a great opportunity to communicate with your customer base and encourage them to share their experience with potential prospects or smaller accounts. Some critics may suggest that this would be unprofessional but Facebook is the most personal of networks and the honesty would paint your business in a good light. Other businesses are afraid that customers may speak ill of them on their feed – however a responsive and efficient solution to a customer issue would demonstrate excellent customer service.
So there you have it! Hopefully some brief inspiration to start managing that B2B Facebook page you set up years ago. If you have a strong client base already, start engaging with them on the platform. If you’re after leads, start reaching out to potential customers with interesting content, promotions and lots of differentiators.