Monday, May 9, 2011

Facebook vs. LinkedIn for B2B marketing

"What's a B2B marketer to do?"

The relentlessly hot topic of how social media fits within business-to-business (B2B) marketing continues to baffle many a marketer, so I've reached out to my social-media-intellect colleague, Garrio Harrison, the president of Doublethink (, a social media consultancy, and asked him his thoughts.

How should B2B marketers use LinkedIn?
Harrison states that LinkedIn has become the Facebook of the professional world. Though most people think of it as a central location to document career achievements and work history, it is also a way to curate one's professional social circle. When we meet other professionals at networking events or are introduced by a mutual colleague, we ask ourselves, "Is this a person I have an interest in getting to know further to develop my network, career or business?" If so, we "accept" him or her. At this point we are opting into the information this individual shares. We then have the ability to provide the person with "status updates" to position our company as a thought leader, spark interest in potential product offerings, or augment sales efforts by remaining top of mind.

How should B2B marketers use Facebook?
Harrison states that Facebook is most effective when leveraged as a PR communication channel and should be thought of as a long-term strategic investment in building and supporting your brand and corporate culture.

The initial hurdle for most B2B companies is to get customers to visit and "like" their Facebook page. You'll most likely need other marketing vehicles and a "call to action" to get them there. Once an organization is "liked" by a customer, the customer has now opted into the information the organization pushes to them through postings whenever Facebook is accessed.

The goal of a B2B organization should be to develop content that resonates with customers outside of its products or services. For example, customers may desire to know that the organizations they do business with are being good citizens and giving back to the community. This is an ideal opportunity to remain top of mind through showcasing your organization's core values through creating an active communication on community involvement and volunteer activities. This is an opportunity to educate customers while humanizing the organization, with the hope of creating affinity to the brand.

Keep in mind: In all that you do with LinkedIn and Facebook, remain authentic. Be a resource to your customers. Avoid pushing products and services. Social media is more effective when leveraged as a way to help customers choose your offerings by strategically explaining why they need your services and why you are most qualified and trusted to help their business.

When it comes to LinkedIn and Facebook, it's good to be "liked." Today, if you have a social media initiative integrated into your overall marketing plan, and you need resources to develop content and manage delivery, give Creatis a call and borrow some of our social media experts.

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