In my recent blog, originally published on Social Media B2B, I discussed how we work with many B2B clients who want to engage with their audience via social media. We often get the question about investment in LinkedIn vs. Facebook. You would think LinkedIn would be better for marketing to B2B customers. It’s designed for business. People use it only for business. They want you to use it for business. 120 million business people use it.
The only problem is that it’s not as good as Facebook for B2B marketing.
That doesn’t sound right, now does it?
After all, we know Facebook is for posting pictures of the kids’ soccer games, for saying happy birthday, for following consumer products, for keeping in touch with your friends. I mean, it’s aimed at consumers, isn’t it?
On the surface, yes. Below the surface, the business audience is there because consumers are business people too. Ultimately, the overriding reason to consider Facebook over LinkedIn is that business people spend more time on it. Please pay attention: they spend more time on it, so you – the B2B marketer – need to take advantage of that one overriding fact. It will help make you successful in social media.
So, tell me, how could Facebook be better for B2B social media marketing?
6 Ways That Facebook is Better Than LinkedIn
1. Facebook has created a development platform that makes it easier to create custom web pages. It’s really hard to do the same thing, with the same ease, with the same nicely designed results on LinkedIn.
2. All those business people are already on Facebook. They may not have joined with business in mind, but they are there. The majority of the 800+ million are involved in business.
3. You can find them. Just like on LinkedIn, you can customize your search to find the people you want to reach.
4. You can find their friends too. Facebook is much more effective than LinkedIn at exponential reach through friends of friends, and it is likely that your business audience is connected with their professional peers on Facebook.
5. You can protect them, if you need to. You can create closed, invitation only communities and protect the information about individuals within that community. We’ve done that for very security-sensitive executive users (CIOs and CTOs)! Here’s a link to the VMware CxO Corner on Facebook.
6. People spend more time on Facebook. It turns out that this last point is a big deal when comparing Facebook to LinkedIn.
People log onto LinkedIn for a few key reasons:
- To update their resume
- To post a job
- To look for a job
- To make a connection, often associated with posting or looking for a job
People go onto Facebook for many, many other reasons, and as a result, they go onto Facebook a lot more often, and spend a lot more time on it. Businesses that take advantage of business people who are spending time on Facebook will engage with those business users.
I have seen studies showing that business people spend more time on LinkedIn. Hmmm. The studies are flawed. They typically ask where do business people go today for business information. Well, if we B2B marketers aren’t using Facebook for business, then of course, they get their information today from LinkedIn. Duh. The results of these studies will change only when you change your approach.
While LinkedIn is not to be ignored (it has many good qualities), if you’re going to focus your efforts toward B2B audiences, invest more in Facebook. How have your results compared between Facebook and LinkedIn?