Why B2B marketers should take Facebook seriously

Why B2B marketers should take  Facebook seriously Ross Howard is part of the team at Insights For Professionals - a content hub that provides free access to expert advice from industry leaders in marketing, IT and HR.

The prevailing attitude amongst digital marketers has seemingly been that Facebook is good for B2C but not worth it for B2B.

The assumption here is that most users don’t want to be bothered by or want to share work-related posts on Facebook.

While B2B social media efforts are usually focused on Twitter and LinkedIn, there is evidence that Facebook ads deliver the best return on investment.  

Here’s a rundown on why Facebook is a great marketing platform for all business types, and how it can be used effectively as part of any B2B strategy.

A monopoly on sharing

With 1.65 billion users worldwide, Mark Zuckerberg’s social behemoth provides access to an unprecedented potential audience. 

But when it comes to B2B, volume is mostly irrelevant and it is the quality of engagement is what actually matters.

According to Fractl and BuzzSumo’s 3 Billion Shares report, Facebook is responsible for over 90% of all social sharing, with Twitter accounting for just 6% and LinkedIn only 2.5%.

So, even though it seems to have a confused reputation amongst B2B marketers, Facebook is certainly the place to be if you want to get noticed. In fact, it recently introduced job ads to try and muscle into LinkedIn’s core space.

Advanced targeting

With its sophisticated targeting measures, Facebook is starting to win over reluctant B2B operators.

In addition to the standard metrics like age, gender and location, you can also pinpoint people based on levels of education, job title or even current workplace – allowing you to zone-in on dream prospects.

If you run a digital agency, for example, and have great experience in helping architects raise their online profile, you could create ads that specifically target marketing managers at, or owners of, architecture firms within a 30-mile radius.

When these targeted prospects turn to Facebook to distract themselves with cat videos and political rants, you can catch their eye with a perfectly crafted ad.

The Custom Audiences feature also allows you to target existing client bases, a useful way of nurturing long-term loyalty. You simply upload your contact list – either email addresses or phone numbers – and a potential treasure trove of qualified leads will be presented with your ads.

Additionally, the Lookalike Audiences tool allows you to target similar people to your current clients, removing some of the guesswork when it comes to finding new prospects.

You can also experiment with ‘dark posting’ to attract attention by targeting specific customers with posts that won’t clog up your business page with self-promotional messages.

Successful remarketing

As annoying as some may find it, being followed around the web with ads for recently-viewed products can yield impressive results.

In a recent AdRoll survey, 92% of B2B respondents said that retargeting was equal to or more effective than pay-per-click, email, and display ads.

To get your Facebook retargeting up, you’ll first have to add a Facebook ‘pixel’ tracking code onto your website.

As people browse your site, the pixel will then attach a cookie to their browser, which then advises Facebook to display your adverts when they’re scrolling their news feed.

Additionally, you can segment your retargeting efforts according to which page of your site people looked at. For instance – using the digital agency example again – you can show ads about SEO services to those who visited that specific page, and ads for social media management to people who’ve shown an interest in that.

This can help ensure your services are at the front and centre of a potential customer’s mind, helping your finely-tuned sales process to run smoothly.

The future

Let’s face it, when stuck behind a computer all day, there’s a good chance you’ll turn to social media at some point to blow off steam and keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the world. If you can identify with this pattern of behaviour, there’s a good chance a high proportion of your audience will as well. 

There are many facets to successful social media marketing in 2017, and with Facebook boasting such high active user levels, coupled with the ultra-specific targeting of ads, focusing your B2B marketing efforts on the platform could put you on course for a very profitable financial year ahead.

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