We often get questions from well-meaning manufacturers and distributors about Facebook. They hear a lot of buzz about B2B social media marketing, and assume that their business absolutely has to have a Facebook page to be competitive.
While social media marketing can play a big part in a B2B online marketing strategy, it isn’t an online marketing strategy in and of itself. And while a Facebook page can be a part of your social media marketing efforts, it’s rarely that simple.
While all businesses are unique and some have different social marketing needs than others, here is a quick three question quiz that can help you determine the answer to that nagging question: “Does My Business Need a Facebook page?”
A. We’re on target, but still making improvements. I think we’re ready to do more.
B. We have a website and do some stuff like email blasts, but that’s about it.
C. Strategy? What strategy? I’m not even happy with our current website.
A. We’re running a promotion this month for current customers, and we just published an article that I think my customers would find interesting. I’d probably pick one of those.
B. We just launched a new product line. I’d write about that.
C. I’d talk about why our company is an excellent choice to fulfill our customers’ needs.
A. We are already doing a lot of online marketing and content writing, but I think we could squeeze it in.
B. We have some resources available, but I’m not sure if it is the best use of our time.
C. Time? What time? We don’t even have enough time to keep up with our website.
If you answered mostly As: You can consider Facebook as part of your B2B online marketing strategy. It seems like you’ve got a good handle on your online marketing efforts, and some thoughtful content to share.
While it is likely that your business will never have thousands of Facebook fans or “likes,” you can use it as a vehicle for content marketing. If you engage with and invite current and prospective customers to follow you on Facebook, and focus on sharing content that they’d find interesting and valuable in their own business lives, you can use Facebook to help nurture leads through the sales funnel. Search engines can also pick up “signals” from social media platforms like Facebook. While other ranking factors are generally more important, a presence on social media sites (including Facebook) that includes meaningful customer engagement can make a difference.
If you answered mostly Bs: Tread carefully. While you’re doing some online marketing and have some content to share, it seems like you may get better “bang for your buck” by considering and enacting other online marketing strategies before you get on Facebook.
The exception would be if you’re in a business where people congregate on Facebook and are receptive to business messages there. Take a look at your competitors. Do any of them have Facebook? How’s the engagement? You can get a feel for the opportunity and make a decision from there. For many B2B companies, other social media platforms like LinkedIn are generally more valuable than Facebook. Think about it this way: Facebook is a social media platform that most people use on an extremely personal level. They share photos, connect with friends, etc. They may or may not be in a frame of mind to read and engage with business content. On the other hand, when people used LinkedIn, they are doing so for business reasons. They will likely be in a better frame of mind to accept with and act on business content.
So, if you only limited time and resources, Facebook may not be your best choice.
If you answered mostly Cs: I wouldn’t recommend getting on Facebook. You’ve got plenty of other things to worry about that will lead to better results. Don’t let building a Facebook page distract you from getting the basics right. For example, a website with good content and strong calls to action will trump a Facebook page every time.
Furthermore, you don’t want to build a Facebook page and then not update it at all. What kind of impression do you get when you visit a page that hasn’t been updated in two years? Don’t let that happen to your business. Do the big things right first, and then attack Facebook when you have more time and resources.
If you already have a Facebook page, but haven’t done anything with it, you’ve got some work to do.
Don’t delete it. You don’t want a social presence to just disappear, especially if you have a few “likes” or followers. Instead, follow these steps:
Remember: whatever is worth doing, is worth doing right. Don’t let your desire to “be on Facebook” lead you to make decisions that will prevent your company from getting the best online marketing results possible.