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It’s been about a month since Facebook launched its Facebook for Business Portal. The site focuses on defining the ways this mega social portal can be used to target advertisements demographically for your focus market.

Facebook for business portal

Facebook for Business Portal

For some of us, this was nothing new as the tools have been around for quite some time, and I personally have been using the targeting and demographic tools available in Facebook to increase brand awareness for my companies’ products for a little more than a year already. However, the recent updates to the design of the Facebook stream, business pages, and advertisement placements have been a shot in the arm for people like me. (More about these enhancements in future posts.)

Surprisingly, though, there is a an overall sentiment in the B2B sector that Facebook is pretty useless for real marketing for both lead generation or event marketing purposes.

Questions and doubts raised across the marketing industry include:

  • The intent of the audience that is spending time on Facebook
  • Facebook’s ability to collect business emails from its users as it is primarily a personal tool
  • Facebook’s ability to collect relevant business and employment information from users
  • Uncertainty about the targeting tools and effectiveness of these tools

Having successfully navigated around these questions to get an allocated budget and now consistently delivering marketing results through this platform, I have some specific observations about each of these issues I would like to share.

Audience Intent

Perception: One of the biggest concerns that B2B marketeers have when deciding to run lead generation campaigns on Facebook is the state of mind of the users who are looking at their Facebook stream. The nature of the majority of Facebook content is a mix of personal pictures of your friends, their kittens and dogs, and funny videos/news about happenings that your friends find interesting. Naturally, it is difficult to imagine that anyone would be interested in an advertisement promoting any kind of business services.

Corporate Pages with huge popularity is making facebook a place for business

Some business pages are immensely popular.

Reality: The reality is that we are seeing a shift in the volume and reasons for using Facebook, driven primarily by the increasing presence of almost all large corporations within the cybersociety in the form of Official Facebook Pages. Companies are asking their employees to Like their pages and get involved in the stream, which makes it more acceptable to use Facebook in the workplace and also shifts the focus from just checking on your friends to doing more. Strategically placed advertisements that pique the users interest can generate substantial results for a lead generation campaign if done right.

Availability of Business Contact Information

Typical Profile has business and employment

Most profiles contain employment and education information.

Perception: Another concern that has plagued B2B marketeers is that most Facebook users tend to use their Gmail, Yahoo, or other web-based email services as their primary email. This means that if you use Facebook integration to create a Login/Register with Facebook interface on your websites, you may end up with a lot of nonbusiness email addresses.

Reality: Let’s look past emails, okay? Anyway, your email marketing campaigns have a 2-3% click-through rate, and most business users filter all email coming from outside into folders that are never opened (and that’s if you successfully navigate their spam filters!).  Think about getting eyeballs… Facebook lets you reach the eyeballs of these users without them having to drum up the time and energy to open your incredible email.

As I mentioned previously, with all major companies having a Facebook page, most users are now adding their employment details on their profiles, which lets us get their company information if not their email addresses. Also, the Gmail addresses you collect from registrations are most probably better places to reach those people anyway, especially if you want to catch them when they have a moment to spare for new stuff.

How to Reach the ‘Relevant Few’ among the Facebook Billions

Perception: There are billions of people on Facebook and if we run ads on the platform, we will reach a lot of irrelevant individuals, and in turn, gather a lot of useless leads. Most of these people register for stuff because they are freeloaders and will download anything free or sign up for things that promise personal rewards.

Reality: Facebook has come a looooooong way in the last two years when it comes to targeting. Have you heard of Audience Lists? Interest Targeting? It’s a whole new marketing world out there, and I’m surprised by how many #Savvy Facebook experts I’ve meet these days who are only scratching the surface of targeted Facebook marketing. This is a topic that is so big that I’ll need to find time to write a whole separate blog post about this…

Hopefully, some day soon.