Stop and Rethink B2B Social – Part 3

With 2 billion users worldwide, Facebook is simply too big to ignore – even in B2B.

Facebook is the largest social platform in terms of active users, followed by YouTube with 1.5 billion and WeChat with 889 million.

Apart from YouTube, the only other social media platforms with more than 1 billion users are Facebook Messenger and Facebook owned WhatsApp with 1.2 billion each. You can bet that Instagram (Facebook owned!) won’t be far behind.

With a 17% hike in users this year, Facebook is growing faster now than any year since 2012, despite the fact that the platform no longer appeals to younger users – an audience that doesn’t really concern us in B2B.

The ubiquity and reach of Facebook alone should be reason enough for B2B brands to invest in the platform – B2B buyers are Facebook users too.

Yes, it’s true that the usage profile of people on Facebook is different to that of LinkedIn and Twitter. And it’s true that people typically aren’t using the app for work, but show them something great that happens to be work related, and they’ll click on it.

People use Facebook to be distracted and entertained. Maybe part of the problem is that in B2B generally, we’re not confident enough in our ability to entertain. Long sales cycles and complex propositions are frankly poor excuses for not at least trying to bring a little joy to B2B marketing.

To explore the difference it can make, we did some A/B testing on a recent Facebook campaign for Dell EMC, comparing static image ads that were on-brand with gif based ads featuring a distinctly off-brand dancing man. The dancing man outperformed the brand ads by 194%.

B2B brands need to stop fearing failure and push themselves to discover and deliver what audiences really want and the best place to do that is on Facebook.

Facebook vs. Twitter

To understand how B2B audiences stack up on Facebook, I consulted TrackMaven’s 2016 B2B Social Media Industry report and discovered that in B2B overall, the average audience size is bigger on Facebook than on Twitter.

The only industries cited in the report where that wasn’t the case are Pharmaceutical, Chemical, Medical and Engineering. People working in those industries are still reachable on Facebook using targeting parameters like Job Title, Field of Study, Employer and Industry, but how many marketers in those areas are exploring Facebook’s potential?

Part of the problem is there are too many senior stakeholders in B2B marketing who don’t use Facebook, don’t like it or literally don’t know a thing about it. We need to set aside our personal preferences in the same way we do with traditional media. I don’t read Tunnels and Tunnelling magazine or Medical Design Technology but I understand the role they play in reaching certain audiences. I also know that many of the people who read those magazines are on Facebook…

Cost-effective, scalable advertising

Of course there are many millions of companies with Facebook Pages. Over 50 million in fact, but only 6% of them are actively advertising. That’s a massive untapped opportunity. But it’s only a matter of time before the 94% catch on!

Facebook is the most cost-effective and scalable advertising platform on the market, and without doubt, the best video ad buy for your money right now. We often see CPM rates as low as £2-£3 on Facebook that are likely to be £20-£30 in three or four years time.

Facebook data shows that in the US, the average person now spends approximately 60 minutes each day on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. That’s almost 50x more than the average time spent on Twitter, and for comparison, the average LinkedIn user only spends a couple of hours a months on the site.

Think of Facebook as TV. That’s how Facebook thinks of itself these days. Facebook doesn’t care about Twitter or LinkedIn. Facebook is going after Amazon and Netflix. Facebook Live will soon be as big as TV for advertising. Certainly around those Superbowl type moments.

Facebook Live essentially puts TV cameras into the hands of anyone with a smart phone. However, fear of failure is stopping B2B brands from exploiting the opportunity to deliver real-time and personal brand experiences in the most cost effective way imaginable.

The critical forces driving the success of Facebook (like mobile and video) have already converged and you need to ask yourself are you in step and are you moving with the curve?

In next week’s blog… The truth about social content.

Click to read part 1 and part 2 in the Time to Rethink B2B Social series.