Written by Russell Davies
Last week we talked about LinkedIn and how it can be used effectively to reach the people you care about. This week, we turn the focus to another equally powerful tool – Facebook.
A question that we often hear is whether or not Facebook is the right platform for B2B marketers. And, indeed, this is a very good question when considered alongside the success of its more professional counterpart, LinkedIn. But the fact is that Facebook – despite its fun and fluffy reputation – can add real value to your business, and shouldn’t be overlooked as part of your wider marketing strategy.
Let’s consider audience size as a starting point. Back in June of this year, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had officially reached 2 billion active monthly users, confirming its position as the largest networking platform in the world (compared to LinkedIn with 106 million, and Twitter with 330 million). In other words, there is over a quarter of the world’s population available on Facebook, all of whom are actively searching for engaging content.
But is this audience the right audience for B2B? Well, in 2016 Grist surveyed over 200 senior media executives at FTSE 350 organisations to better understand how they engage with content. The results revealed that Facebook was the social network where senior business executives were most likely to engage with thought leadership content. This means that there are high volumes of business audiences actively using Facebook more than any other platform to do their research and interact with content.
If we consider the fact that Facebook now accounts for over 90% of all content shares (according to Contently), suddenly Facebook starts to become quite an attractive tool for B2B marketers.
Given the amount of time that an individual user typically spends on Facebook compared to LinkedIn, it is also a significantly cheaper platform to advertise on. In fact, in our experience, we’ve found that Facebook is almost 10 times cheaper than LinkedIn by cost-per-click comparison.
But of course, none of this means very much without the ability to target effectively. Luckily, Facebook has you covered. It offers state-of-the-art targeting capabilities that allow you to get very granular with your segmentation, right down to demographics, interests and even purchasing behaviours, making it easy for you to get in front of the people that you care about most. Don’t forget that Facebook advertising is all programmatic as well, which means that the entire online bidding process is automatically optimised to give you the best return possible.
Even more interesting is Facebook’s unique ‘lookalike’ targeting capability. Essentially, Facebook uses machine learning to create a new audience based on the traits and characteristics of an existing audience. There are three ways in which this can be done:
- Custom audiences: This involves uploading an existing target list of accounts to the platform. Facebook will then find people who resemble this list.
- Website visitors: This involves placing a Facebook pixel on a specific page of your website. Facebook will then create a list based on people who have visited this page.
- Page fans: If you have a Facebook page, then you can create an audience based on people who like your page.
All of this allows you to be more confident that you are speaking to the right audience with your messaging, which in turn helps to improve your overall ROI.
Facebook also offers some effective remarketing options. One option is to target users who have shown previous intent or visited your company site before. You can send these users content that is more appropriate to their position in the buying cycle. Alternatively, if you already have a target list of accounts, you can upload this list to the platform and promote specific messaging to this audience group. Both options allow you to create a more personalised buying journey for your customers, helping to accelerate them down the funnel through to conversion, sooner.
It’s important also not to overlook Facebook’s powerful organic capabilities. Outside of Google, Facebook is one of the first places that many will go to conduct their initial research, so it’s important that your profile looks the way you want it to, and has new and relevant content posted regularly. Facebook offers a fully customisable profile allowing you to align it to your brand identity, allowing you to provide a seamless visual experience to your customers. Indeed, if you’re running paid Facebook advertising, it’s worth considering how these efforts could be complemented by an organic strategy to help maximise your return.
Combine all of this with Facebook’s pretty snazzy ad units such as the immersive full screen ‘Canvas’ experience, its in-messenger ad placements or Facebook Lead Ads, and you have an incredibly powerful way of connecting with your target B2B audience and driving results in 2018.
Our verdict? If you’re not at least experimenting with Facebook as part of your wider B2B marketing strategy, then you are missing out on one of the most effective ways to engage your audience today.
Get in touch today to find out how we can help you super-charge your existing marketing efforts using Facebook.