I kind of fell into the world of marketing. I never studied it at university or even knew what a CTA was until a few years ago. But as a copywriter, I’ve worked with many marketing agencies and eventually joined the marketing team at VeraContent

It’s an exciting world—but it can also be overwhelming. I have learned a huge amount but there’s always the feeling I’m playing catch-up. Everything moves so quickly and there are so many opinions that it can be hard to see the wood through the trees. 

So, I decided to make it my mission to make sense of marketing aspects that are cluttered by too much noise. I want to see what leading marketing minds are saying about current and emerging trends and find straight answers for the kinds of issues there aren’t yet straight answers for. And I thought Facebook is as good a place to start as any.

Facebook is historically the definitive social-media platform, but is it any use at all when it comes to B2B marketing?

It’s a no-brainer

Is Facebook any good for B2B marketing?

I find facts and figures fascinating. But sometimes they can seem to tell you one thing until you look a little closer. For example, at first glance, the question of using Facebook for B2B seems to have an easy answer. According to Hootsuite’s 2018 Global Barometer Report, Facebook is the top platform for both B2B and B2C. In fact they claim that 89 percent of B2B companies use the platform, while other sources rank it in the top three for B2B marketing. Fine, so case closed: Facebook is great. 

Except the numbers aren’t as cut and dry as they seem. As soon as you look a little closer you find that only 30 percent of B2B marketers view Facebook as effective according to one source, while another is slightly more positive at 38%. Whatever source you use, there seems to be a disconnect between those who use it and those who see it as useful.

Analyzing the expert insight

Is Facebook any good for B2B marketing?

Like me, you may be thinking—if it’s not that useful, why bother using it? Or, even more bafflingly, why do top marketers like Jeff Bullas still advocate for it? According to Jeff:

“The image of Facebook as purely reserved for B2C with its casual terms of ‘fans’ and ‘friends’ has slowed its adoption by companies that sell to other businesses not just consumers. Facebook as a B2C marketing and online asset is easy to see but you need to think a bit harder and longer to realize its potential as a B2B.”

Is it just me or even when supporting Facebook as a B2B tool, Jeff is consistently qualifying his answers? The fact that you need to think long and hard to realize Facebook’s potential doesn’t inspire me with confidence. Even less so when he goes on to say:

“For those B2B companies that want to forge ahead with Facebook as a marketing tool, use the social network wisely. It should not be the only social network used, and marketers should probably not make it a priority unless data shows otherwise.”

A downward trend

Is Facebook any good for B2B marketing?

I don’t want to disregard Bullas’ advice outright. I’m not even sure I disagree with him. If the data makes sense and you have adequate resources, by all means use Facebook for your B2B needs.

But this seems to refer to increasingly exceptional circumstances and, the more I read, the less convinced I am about Facebook as a viable platform for B2B. And I’m not the only one. There’s a downward trend of marketers using the platform. According to a 2019 report, for the first time in five years, Facebook is losing marketers across the board.

Is Facebook useful at all?

To get a personal perspective I reached out to Carlota Pico, Sales Manager at VeraContent, to see how she uses the platform. In her ten years working in international business development and cross-sectorial communications consultancy, Carlota has developed a wide range of experience in B2B sales.

After speaking with Carlota, it seems she agrees with this current Facebook trend, seeing it more as a B2C tool – if anything. In fact, she says that in a B2B context:

“The most useful way of using Facebook is to manually go onto a company’s fan page and reach out to their community manager. They can then offer the name of the person that is in charge of the area that your company is interested in.”

From there, Carlota would generally move to LinkedIn or call them outright.

“In general terms, I would stick to LinkedIn or even better, to a sector-specific platform/network for B2B marketing. By sector-specific networking platforms, I’m referring to networking platforms that are built for a concrete events or for a large group that host smaller companies within it like a chamber of commerce.”

So, should I use Facebook in my B2B marketing efforts?

In my opinion, Facebook’s popularity among B2B marketers does not represent its ROI potential if you’re in a small-to-medium-sized business. Although there’s a huge user base, targeting the right people is often more trouble than it’s worth. Let me explain.

First off, Facebook should only ever be used for top of the funnel. You can go ahead and treat this as a steadfast rule: a Facebook B2B marketing commandment, if you will. Beginning a super-targeted, bottom-of-the-funnel, sales-oriented campaign for B2B is a fantastic way to waste money. Instead, you should focus on awareness and education. Perfect—so I launch a paid campaign that targets individuals with how-to videos about my product. This is the advice I see most for B2B marketing campaigns.

Is this right for me?

On the surface, this makes sense and it can be an effective strategy. But you need to be careful to consider your particulars. Ask yourself: is this right for me? Businesses that have a basis of brand awareness will find this more effective than those still trying to break into the market consciousness. There’s a sizable difference between making people aware of a new solution your established company provides (think Microsoft offering new software) and a company convincing people they are trustworthy, and have a solution worth purchasing.

Both are top of the funnel activities, but the funnels are very different. The degree to which you have to educate your target and raise awareness influences the effectiveness of your campaign. But you decide that even with the handicap, you want to continue your awareness campaign. After all, you have to raise awareness anyway—why not use Facebook?

Compare with other platforms

It’s at this stage that you have to compare the effectiveness of different platforms. Twitter has hashtags. LinkedIn has hashtags and inmails. They are both more easily disposed to targeting, and host B2B communities that are ready to engage with you. In fact, you’re more likely to find people actively looking for solutions to their B2B problems.

For me, these seem like more natural platforms to begin a concerted campaign—especially if you have a smaller business.

So, should I use Facebook in my B2B marketing efforts?

Long answer: It’s always there as a means of establishing initial contact and if you have tutorial videos that can help other brands understand your services, by all means add them. But for the majority of your efforts, it’s better to look elsewhere.

Short answer: Sure. But don’t waste your budget on it.

Agree or disagree with me? I’m always looking to gain new insights, so leave a comment and give me your take on the subject.