While I am sure different companies have had different experiences and some readers will disagree with me, I have come to the conclusion that Facebook has turned out to be a marketing disappointment in the B2B marketplace. Although some B2C companies have been amazingly successful with Facebook, as to the B2B world, with few exceptions, it just never happened.
If you read the PR/marketing trades, you will see I am not alone in this conclusion. What many PR people are asking and writing about is just why it failed to live up to the expectations everyone had hoped for. According to a blog written by Jessica Malnik, a PR coordinator, some of the reasons for Facebook’s B2B failings are the following:
- The original goal of most companies for using Facebook was to create an online community. However, what has evolved is not a community at all. Instead, many B2B business sites have become little more than “glorified marketing channels,” says Malnik, and visitors are treating them as such…and walking away.
- While some “fans” or “likers” do want to associate with a brand and be a part of its online community, the majority of people who “like” a site do so because they will receive a discount, a prize, enter a contest, or win some freebies. Unfortunately, once the person receives the discount or prize, he or she is never heard from again.
- Related to this, many B2B businesses made the assumption that once people “like” a page, they will become brand loyalists. Well, the opposite is what most have experienced. According to Advertising Age, “only one percent of fans of the biggest brand pages actually engage with the brand at all.” In other words, they “like” it and then Hasta Luego, they’re gone.
My suggestion is that if you already have a Facebook site, keep it updated but lower your expectations. It can help with search engine optimization.
If you do not have a Facebook site at this time, consider some other options. One of the most powerful is a search-engine-optimized blog (written or video) or other web content that is well prepared and presented, with minimal if any advertising. That might provide the buzz you were looking for, replacing the Facebook yawn.