Last week I wrote a blog post arguing why I felt Facebook was no place for b2b marketers. I seeded it in a number of Linkedin groups and it has developed some interesting debate. (Look up the B2B Social Media and B2B Online groups if you are interested).
The intention was to follow up immediately with this post, but the London Marathon got in the way. So by way of redress, here are EIGHT reasons why Facebook should be considered in your marketing mix:
1. You just can’t argue with the numbers. Scale: 600m registered users. Pace: Reached 150m in 5 years when it took TV 38 years. Removing the ‘interruption’ argument, some of your target customers will be amongst them.
2. Facebook remains quite cool and there is still an early adopter advantage. Few companies in traditional b2b sectors are embracing the business services available, the opportunity to build a brand, develop a hub for all online content, drive the creation of an engaged, opted in community and drive transactional traffic.
3. It is becoming increasingly harder to delineate professional-personal networking. Rather than using Linkedin and Facebook in markedly different ways and with different groups of contacts, a rising number of users are simply removing some of the more contentious material from Facebook and using it for professional purposes too. As engagement with brands, campaigns, viral and video takes off, we’ll inevitably see more b2c, b2b, public sector and media brands make the cross over to Facebook.
4. The tie up with Bing brings social-search closer. Let’s face it there was never going to be an agreement with Google. Facebook and Google are going to battle for Internet domination until one of them wins or until another platform rises to threaten them. There is much antipathy to Google around the world so integrating Bing search within Facebook simultaneously increases the likelihood of several things: more Facebook users around the world, users staying within Facebook longer, social media profiles and activity becoming more relevant to search results.
5. Facebook is viral by design. You want your content to spread, get it on Facebook. If it is any or all of the following – engaging, relevant, believable, accurate, amusing – it will be liked and shared. Having a page on Facebook is increasingly useful as it acts as a community creator and facilitator.
6. Facebook Places will inevitably dominate the location based sector. Though slow to take off, in comparison to the innovators at Foursquare and Gowalla, the resource that Facebook can bring to bear on their location based service, coupled with the attraction that an audience of 600 million provides, means it will become the most widely used platform of its kind.
7. And Facebook Deals will be the catalyst for this development as brands tap into the benefits of offering real-time offers to customers based on their location. Though this is largely restricted to big brand b2c at the moment, I’d expect a raft of b2b brands ranging from professional services, building and construction, IT, telecommunications and others to start to see the benefits of this.
8. Facebook offers highly targeted, low cost PPC advertising. Though it has been reported the costs are rising sharply, and the argument continues as to the overall effectiveness, Facebook advertising delivers in terms of reach, cost per impression and cost per click.
There are many more good reasons, and I’m sure there are scores of companies large and small, operating in mass market and the niche who will claim success in this area.
But what is your experience? Have you built a community from scratch? Developed your reach? Made a sale even?