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Can Facebook work for B2B?

June 27, 2013

Facebook is where people go to chat with friends, to see what people they know are doing, to organise meeting up. It’s a social environment where people might be receptive to consumer brands that are part of their personal life – but is it a place where they are likely to be interested in B2B messaging?

That depends.

If you have something to say that might feed into personal interests, you could attract a following.

A good example is Maersk Line. Heading for a million likes, their Facebook page has lots of content of interest to those keen on ships and the seafaring life. In a similar vein, a number of tech companies have lively pages focused on how things work, how the technologies affect our daily lives, what’s coming next. The problem is that no matter how good these pages might be at increasing awareness amongst the wider public, they don’t necessarily bring in leads from the target audience.

One example of a company taking a more focused approach is Steelmaster, a US-based company selling prefab steel buildings for agricultural and military use. They encourage customers to send in photos of their finished Steelmaster building and they also offer incentives – a current competition has a 1st prize of a $500 dollar Visa gift card plus the chance to be featured on the company website and calendar. In return, Steelmaster get highly shareable images of intriguing steel buildings they can post to spark ideas and generate questions from people who then become leads.

The difficulty is that not every B2B brand has the potential to capture the imagination in the same way - and if you can’t come up with posts strong enough to distract people in their leisure time, you probably won’t get far with Facebook. It’s a fact of life that most B2B products and services really are only interesting in a work context.

That doesn’t mean that there’s no place for you on social media. LinkedIn is, of course, designed for business use, and in many sectors, Twitter is as much a work a social tool. Most businesses are therefore likely to get a much better return on time invested in these platforms than they would on time spent on Facebook. Having said that, if Facebook is working for your business, we’d love to know!

Posted by Jenni Malley
Social Media

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