Facebook vs. LinkedIn - Who Will Rule the B2B World?
Reading time: 6 minutes to really get it down
The B2B marketing game is highly competitive with everyone wanting a piece of the game. But over the last few years, LinkedIn has easily been the main and only ‘real’ player in the digital B2B marketing space. We even wrote about a blog about its game changing targeting and monitoring features, just last month.
Facebook, on the other hand, has always been the premier social media platform for consumer goods and the more ‘fluffy’ verticals such as, music and video, fashion. But when it came to leads, the focus was always consumers. Now, Facebook is opening its advertising and content to become more business oriented. It’s still quite a few steps behind LinkedIn, but it’s definitely becoming a force to be reckoned with.
The Setbacks of B2B Marketing on Facebook
- State of mind - There’s no doubt that we’re all on Facebook regularly. Worldwide, there are over 1.71 billion monthly active users who generate 4.5 billion likes daily. The main issue is that while we’re all spending time on Facebook, we mainly, if only, use it personally. Few Facebook users use their work identity on Facebook and even less use Facebook with a business development mindset. The people who do, are mostly marketers focusing on self promotion in order to build their brand identity.
- Targeting- Unlike LinkedIn, which collects business data such as job title, skills, seniority level, and company information, Facebook is more focused on the after-work lifestyle instead of the 9-5 profile. This can make it difficult for B2B companies to market to the correct audience.
The good news for B2B marketers is that Facebook does have features that we can use to our targeting advantages and continues to add more in the attempt to win the B2B lead generation race.
- Facebook Groups: This one isn’t new, nor was it built as a B2B targeting tool, but it sure is a great one! By allowing anyone to create a free Facebook Group, Facebook has opened up the opportunity for Groups that are industry and locatin specific. And, unlike most groups on LinkedIn, these groups are active and highly engaging, meaning that B2B marketers and businesses have a platform that can be completely dedicated to building a target audience.
- Ads Targeting Data: Facebook has never had the same business data (job, skills, company information) that LinkedIn has enjoyed, because it was built as a peer to peer platform. For this reason, Facebook had to come up with original ways to allow targeting for B2B companies.
- Custom Audiences: where you upload a CSV file of customers that you’ve obtained from email signups and get Facebook to find similar people based on job titles, companies, etc.
- Lookalike Audiences: where you can target people who are similar to your customers by choosing users based on your current Page fans, customer lists, or website visitors.
- Website Audiences: where you target people who have already visited your website.
- Facebook Business Manager: The new Business Manager option allows your company to keep all of your Facebook business assets in one place. It gives you access to Pages, Ads Manager, Power Editor, and other assets all in one organized and secure location. You can add or remove marketing members with ease and control exactly who sees what and what roles they have, so it’s easier than ever to manage your Facebook marketing.
- Facebook at Work: Facebook at Work is a brand new product that’s currently in beta with very large corporates. It allows users to create a separate work profile for business-focused Facebook use. It transforms Facebook into an intra-company communication platform where your employees can join groups, collaborate, send messages, and get notifications about important company data. It connects your personal identity and work identity, giving Facebook more business data than ever. What it also does is connect employee emails with their personal email on Facebook- allowing B2B marketers to find more audiences based on their B2B data.
- Whatsapp Targeting: Coming soon, Facebook will tie user identities with their phone numbers. This will allow businesses to upload phone number lists to Facebook and then target ads to those specific users and their lookalikes as well.
At Marketing Envy, we’ve always found success using Facebook marketing. Lately, Facebook has been driving the most cost-effective leads for our big data and cybersecurity clients. The secret is to use:
1. Very narrow targeting (accurate user profiling) - not just interests but also age, location and financial data
2. Ads that lead to free offers such as whitepapers - not direct call for demo
3. Lookalike audiences narrowed down with interests and demographic data.
Bottom line - Facebook or LinkedIn for your social marketing?
Facebook is focussing on improving their paid and organic targeted marketing campaigns and continue to develop new & innovative features appealing to B2B companies all the time. Although LinkedIn is still the platform of choice, Facebook is giving them a run for their money and before long could become the first choice for B2B marketing.
Learn which is right for your business with our Lead Generation eBook for SaaS and Cloud Tech companies.