For many, Facebook is an obsession and a major part of their lives. It’s a source of incredible entertainment and social interactivity. Facebook has built its business around our relationships, and now we have relied on it to create and maintain connections with others. It’s meant to be a safe space.
However, recently, there were some major data breaches with Facebook, which influenced the social movement around the hashtag #deleteFacebook.
Have you deleted your Facebook?
About 84% of users are somewhat or very concerned about how their data may be used by Facebook, according to a new survey this week from investment firm Raymond James. Yet nearly half of people surveyed also indicated they would not cut back on how much they use the social network.
Due to its vast user base, extended network and the survey results, Facebook isn’t going away that quickly or easily. Instead, this movement has validated for some that this platform is here to stay and there must be some beneficial ways we as B2B marketers and sellers can utilize its capabilities.
But first, there are some challenges that must be acknowledged before Facebook can be used for B2B marketing.
The challenges (and ultimately excuses we hear so frequently):
1. It’s a huge time-suck & incredibly distracting
I get dizzy just visiting my Facebook page, and I haven’t even bothered adding that many friends or applications. There’s so much going on, and so much to do. If I start engaging with a fraction of what I see, I’ve wasted long periods of time with little return.
We’ve all experienced logging into Facebook to check a post or link, only to find ourselves stuck for an hour scrolling through the feed and losing track of time.
It will interrupt any prolonged period of productivity or focus on something more important – either at work or elsewhere. Sound familiar?
2. It’s become non-differentiated
Everyone’s doing it, exchanging the same stuff, buying each other the same $1 gifts, giving virtual high-fives and more.
When everyone’s doing the same things, and interacting the same way with each other, nobody’s unique. Nobody’s being remarkable. Facebook allows for very little individuality and thus very little chance to stand out from the crowd or get your voice heard.
3. It keeps people from getting out/talking in-person
I love the Web as a networking and communication tool. But as a social playground, I think it often goes too far. I’d far prefer to meet friends in the real world, which provides for a much richer, more meaningful interaction and experience. Sure, it takes more time and isn’t nearly as efficient. But that misses the point.
Facebook can become your life and isolate you from the real world by only enhancing superficial relationships. The offline hours are what counts and the experiences we remember, so spend your free time away from devices and enjoying your surroundings.
4. It’s not at all inclusive
Some of my best friends are not obsessed with the Internet (gasp!). One of my good friends doesn’t even check email very often (can you imagine?!).
If I’m relying on Facebook to drive my friendships and social interactions, what happens to these offline friends? Are they left out? Do they not count? Do they diminish in value or importance to me?
So, what are the benefits of Facebook for B2B marketers?
Do some of these challenges work the same way with our B2B audiences? What if we said, “Oh you don’t have a Facebook, we cant work with you…” excuse me, WHAT?!
When you don’t think of Facebook as a relationship-building tool and you think of it more as online awareness, there can be major benefits down the road.
Most of us keep Facebook so we see what out friends and family are doing without interacting every minute of every day – potential future clients are like that too. They will remember us for when a need arises and check in with us when needed.
To get the most benefit out of Facebook, thing about it in these four ways:
1. Facebook isn’t meant to be like LinkedIn – they serve different purposes
Facebook is the largest social network that connects over 2 billion users across the world. Its mission is to bring the world closer together by providing a place where friends and family can stay in touch, discover what’s going on in the world, and share and express what matters to them.
Although LinkedIn is also a social networking platform, its 106 million users are mainly business professionals and job seekers, which use the site for business networking and corporate recruitment. Nowadays, when meeting professionals the best way to get in touch or contact them is looking them up on LinkedIn. These platforms server different purposes: Facebook is connecting the broader population to create relationships, whereas LinkedIn is expanding a professional network and changing the recruiting process.
2. It’s more about awareness
Staying relevant in today’s hyper-connected, digital age is a challenge for any marketer. We have to fight through the noise of our competitors who are sharing many of the same ideas so how do we remain relevant and stand out from the noise?
The average user spends around 50 minutes per day on Facebook, and an average person sleeps around 8.8 hours a day, so we can conclude that 1/16th of our day is spent glued to this social network.
That’s 1/16th of an opportunity to reach someone, anyone in our potential buying committee (or even a future prospect who isn’t on our radar yet) simply because we use Facebook as a tool to generate awareness.
With easy access to potential influencers of a purchase decision, who we likely aren’t always reaching in our regular marketing and sales strategies due to other noise out there, Facebook can help reach them subtly.
3. Facebook doesn’t replace your marketing and sales strategies – it just enhances them
Don’t use Facebook to replace your B2B marketing and sales strategies. Rather, utilize this powerful awareness and brand-building channel. Given its audience reach and deep usage patterns (76% of users visit its site every single day), it is important for B2B brands to go where their audience spends their time, which means being present on Facebook.
By using industries or roles on Facebook to target your audience reach, you are still able to make an impression on people while they are participating in their “personal” time without being invasive (instead of calling while they are in a meeting, enjoying lunch or off at coffee with a friend, etc.).
The majority of B2B decision makers understand the power of Facebook in digital marketing and are spending 760 minutes per week leveraging their newsfeeds to get new information. This means Facebook’s platform is a valuable space to create extra touch points and increase your marketing and sales awareness.
4. Some people aren’t on Facebook and they will never be
Believe it or not, some people have yet to hop on the Facebook bandwagon, and many never will.
Why do people not like Facebook? Some don’t want to go through the lengthy process of setting up a profile posting photos, and devoting their time to the site, and others just don’t see the point.
With that being said, Facebook is great to provide targeted ‘air cover’ for your B2B marketing and sales campaigns you have running, but they wont reach everyone and there’s nothing you can do about that.
In conclusion, if you think about Facebook within the four confines mentioned above (but of course not limited to), you could maximize the following objectives:
- 1.Increase exposure to potential customers
- 2.Use page insights to see engagement, post performance, and reach
- 3.Grow brand loyalty and awareness
- 4.Reach a specific target audience
- 5.Increase web traffic to your page and website
Have you found success in any of the objectives above through your Facebook efforts? Do the benefits of Facebook outweigh the challenges for you and your business?