The controversy of which platform is better for B2B Marketing has been chewed over and over in the last years by marketers, entrepreneurs and bloggers.
For years, Linkedin has easily been the main ‘real’ player in the B2B Marketing space.
But lately, Facebook is focusing on improving their paid marketing campaigns and continue to develop new and innovative features appealing to B2B companies and marketers alike.
It is commonly thought that B2B Marketers should use LinkedIn first, which makes a lot of sense since LinkedIn is obviously a business network. But some marketers swear that Facebook is actually a better channel for B2B advertising. Although LinkedIn is still the platform of choice, Facebook is giving a decent fight and slowly becoming the first choice for more and more B2B Marketers.
This article takes a bit of a different approach from the dozens other wrangled ones out there when it comes to evaluating Facebook vs LinkedIn for B2B.
Facebook vs. Linkedin
LinkedIn has a large user base to tap into with more than 450 million users compared with 1.86 billion users on Facebook. Although not nearing Facebook user numbers - 94% of B2B Marketers still finds LinkedIn more reliable to use for distributing business related content.
The platform targeting capabilities are especially helpful if you plan on running an account-based marketing program, whereas it's great for targeting people based on their job titles, employers, industry, seniority level etc.
Most B2B prospects are looking to LinkedIn for business opportunities, The Linkedin stage is set for sharing content that adds value to these prospects. Consider that the average decision maker reads 10 pieces of content before finalizing their purchase decision. Linkedin provides an opportunity to get in front of them at early stages of their buyer’s journey and help position your company as such that understands their challenges and can help them.
Engagement-wise, though it only accounts for about 2.5% of social shares of all content, Linkedin drives more than 25% of shares for content focused on B2B topics.
Advertising - wise, LinkedIn launched a conversion tracking pixel at the second half of 2016, making it possible to launch advertising campaigns and gauge your ad’s performance beyond impressions and clicks.
Facebook, on the other hand, has always been the premier social media platform for consumer goods and the more ‘fluffy’ verticals such as music,video and fashion. But when it came to leads, the focus was always consumers. Now, Facebook is opening its advertising and content to become more business oriented. It’s still quite a few steps behind LinkedIn, but it’s definitely becoming a force to be reckoned with. With its better targeting abilities, greater traffic volumes, better variety of ad types and cost effectiveness, and more efficient optimization algorithm, it's no wonder advertisers believe it to be more efficient in terms of better Reach or CPA.
While Facebook seems like a network that’s separate from our work lives, it really isn't. As with Linkedin, Facebook also offers a growing number of professional groups B2B companies can engage and position themselves in and are a great source for consulting and finding business related content and personal tips from industry influencers.
Settling the argument with an Inbound Marketing approach
The highly competitive game of ruling the world of B2B Marketing is always changing and evolving and the topic is generating endless conversations and opinion articles around the globe. But when looking at the issue from an Inbound Marketing perspective - one can come to an understanding that there wouldn't and shouldn't be just one ring carrier, but different rings for different needs and stages.
Enter: the Buyer's Journey
In short, the Buyer’s Journey is the active research process a potential buyer goes through leading up to a purchase. In order to generate quality B2B leads, a business should create relevant content for its audience with respect to their stage of the buyer's journey.
Regardless of the platform, trying to sell to a prospect that doesn't trust you by using direct response ads is a sure way to fail. You need to figure out what your prospects needs and challenges are and be there to add value when they are searching for it.
With this in mind, it’s a lot easier to evaluate each platform strengths and weaknesses when planning your B2B Marketing strategy. That means using LinkedIn and Facebook in conjunction. And using them in the right way for each stage.
Both platforms are a great fit for distributing TOFU (Top-of-Funnel) content.
Typical content used by Inbound Marketers at this stage is aimed to satisfy the need for general knowledge on a specific problem, without mentioning particular solutions or vendors. Creating eBooks and unique content offers and offering them as gated content in return for the prospects email address, is a great way for providing value and generating leads who are interested in learning from you.
Having a deep understanding of who you are marketing to (your buyer personas) and how they use these platforms at each stage of the buyer's journey, will enable you to become more customer centric in your marketing.
Instead of focusing on which platform is better for your marketing strategy, simply being aware of how and when to use each on the potential journey your prospects go through before they decide to buy from you can make a dramatic shift in your marketing strategy.
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