We’ve all been hearing the constant revelations about ways Facebook has been playing fast and loose with our profile data. You might have also heard that a lot of what gets posted isn’t true — and that as much as half of all Facebook accounts themselves may be fake.
Look, we all know Facebook has been the subject of a lot of criticism and scrutiny over the past year or so. Some of the reports are problematic and important, some of them considerably less so. Meanwhile, the jury is still out on whether the platform will remain as central to the lives of the next generation of your customers.
But honestly, I’m not sure why anyone is shocked by the lack of privacy protections on a thing called Facebook. It’s a book. For your face. We’re on there because we want people to see and hear our thoughts and experiences. Why else would we install an app designed to track us everywhere? Heck, FB can even track you if you don’t have an account or aren’t logged in.
But come on — what else did we think would happen? This is the very reason for Facebook’s existence, and it also happens to be how the company makes money. It really should come as no surprise that Facebook has been profiting off all that info.
I’m here to tell you that you should be profiting, too.
Despite all the bad news, the fact is that Facebook remains the most amazing, powerful advertising platform in the world. You probably already know this from your own use or that of your family and friends. There’s plenty of data to back it up, too. According to one report, people spend about 41 minutes a day on Facebook!
If you aren’t taking advantage of Facebook as a marketing tool, you’re missing the single greatest opportunity to reach, engage and nurture more prospects that fit your ideal customer profile.
Why Is Facebook So Powerful and Effective?
Because unlike, say, Google, Facebook uses its app to track you as an individual person. Google, on the other hand, is mostly tracking you as a user via cookies.
As a result, Facebook can track you across devices, browsers, and computers, to places that Google will typically lose track of what you as an individual are doing.
Even if you recognize this advantage, you might still be dismissing the potential. For some reason, many B2B marketers have the off-the-mark impression that they won’t find new customers on Facebook.
Isn’t LinkedIn a Better Place for Finding Customers?
It’s designed for business, after all.
LinkedIn is pretty good for networking with other professionals. But actually, its niche as a business networking tool is exactly why it isn’t as effective as a marketing tool. People who are doing something for personal pleasure, such as spending time on Facebook, are much more susceptible to a marketing message.
Much of the LinkedIn experience, by its very essence, feel like people putting on airs. Even if you have an upbeat, entertaining presence on LinkedIn — and plenty of people do — the reality of your audience’s mental state is that as soon as it’s about work, it simply isn’t as fun anymore.
Who’s interested in buying in that environment? Moreover, who is logging on to LinkedIn throughout the day just to hang out and see what’s going on, the way so many of us are doing on Facebook?
This pattern is borne out by the data, and it goes well beyond average users. In fact, although you might not expect it, Facebook claims business decision makers spend 74% more time there than other people on the platform. Imagine that: Business leaders are really just regular people, even more so!
Despite all that, LinkedIn is the leading social media channel for B2B marketers by a pretty wide margin. The upshot? Facebook is dramatically underutilized as a B2B marketing tool, meaning there’s a great opportunity there.
Hey, But What about Google?
Hold on a second. I am certainly not advocating giving up your B2B Google Adwords efforts (I’m not even saying you should discount LinkedIn). On the contrary: you absolutely should be trying to tap into every Internet search by your target customers that’s relevant to your value proposition. And the vast majority of these searches is happening via Google in some form.
What you should be doing is combining Facebook and Google to get powerful results.
The reason is that your B2B customers may be anywhere in the decision-making process for your product or service. Digital media as advanced by both Facebook and Google play a key role in this journey. For each of these stages, there are different attributes of Facebook and Google that can support your marketing effort in those stages.
For example, we can consider these attributes through the five stages of product awareness categorized by Eugene Schwartz in his influential book, “Breakthrough Advertising”:
Completely Unaware – Your prospects don’t know they have a problem, and they don’t know the solution. You can target your ideal client by importing a lookalike audience in Facebook and advertising a solution before they even start searching.
Problem-Aware – They’re aware they have a problem, but don’t know how to solve it. Here’s where they’re most likely to begin searching for a solution, so it makes sense to target Google ads to these queries.
Solution-Aware – They’ve found some solutions to their problem. Start retargeting this customer on Google and Facebook with resources to help them better understand their options.
Product-Aware – They’re aware of your solution and how it applies to them. Remarket with emails pushing case studies and testimonials supported by ads on both platforms and posts on Facebook to build social proof.
The Most Aware – They know what they want and they’re looking to close the deal. Exploit all channels to be top of mind and show multiple reasons to connect with you and purchase your solution.
There are plenty of nuances to all these scenarios, and every business is different. But as you can see, it’s going to take a multipronged approach and an understanding of your data and the capabilities of each platform to meet your future customers where they are and pull them through your sales pipeline.
This all might sound like a lot to manage, and it is. But we can help you create and execute the right plan for your business. When done right, the sum of your efforts will exceed the individual parts, with exponential sales growth for your business. Facebook may be weathering strong storms these days, but it’s plenty big enough to ride it out. That’s why should stay aboard to keep sailing on its vast ocean of opportunity.