Is Facebook any good for B2B marketing? This is a really good question.
There’s a short answer and a long answer.
Short answer: Since Facebook pages are now showing up in search results, as on Google and Bing, it’s to your advantage to have a Facebook page targeted to searches about your industry and Facebook.
Elaboration: Facebook pages are indexed in Google, just like any website page. When you are active on a Facebook page that ranks high for Google search results, your business has a better opportunity to be discovered through your Facebook page.
For example, as I write this, Google’s #1 result for the search “Facebook business page 2b2 marketing” (without the quotes) is the Facebook business page entitled: Business to Business Marketing | Facebook.
Google’s #2 result for the same search is also a Facebook page. It’s a Community Organization page in this case, for the Business Marketing Association page entitled: Business Marketing Association - | St. Louis BMA.
Everyone who is participating in the discussion on these 2 pages will be visible to people who click on these #1 and #2 links.
Creating a Facebook Page for your B2B firm is advantageous in 2 ways: 1) improving your visibility as a participant in discussion; 2) providing another opportunity for discovery via search engines.
The long answer: the way search engines and Facebook interact is changing and will likely keep changing. If people don’t search Facebook for professional purposes now, there is no reason to stop them from doing so in the future; Facebook is itself a search engine.
There is a complicated relationship between search engines, marketing and FB. First, while it is true search FB to primarily to find friends, finding you as a friend is an easy way to help them discover your business page while in Facebook.
A Facebook page is another door that leads to your business via search engines. Both Bing and Google have access to Facebook data in different ways. Google allows people to link their profiles to their Google account and see “social” results — results that show who in your social circle “liked” pages that are in your results. Bing has a different agreement with Facebook — Bing’s Web results show up in Facebook searches. Why shouldn’t your Facebook page be one of them?
(More details about the blend of social factors into Google and Bing results is in this article at Search Engine Land)
Second, Facebook has its own sharing mechanisms that foster word-of-mouth among friends. By enabling web visitors to “like” your website on Facebook, that visitor’s circle of Facebook Friends can see this activity on your friend’s wa.. “Like” widgets allow people to “vote” for your business on Facebook, and for their “votes” to show among their friends. Even though “likes” are not currently weighted in Google’s search algorithm, this may not always be so in the future. But the visibility you gain among people you don’t know yet still benefits you today.
You have 2 main options to help promote your own business in Facebook when you visit a Facebook page:
1) You can “like” the page – then comment on it. Your own comment appears at the top of the list, making your involvement visible, and linking back to your profile. What’s most important about his is — you can use Facebook as a business page – and you can comment as your business, which links your comment to your business page instead of your personal Facebook profile.
2) You can “add this to my page’s favorites” and a link to your page may become a fixture on the page you have liked. Your profile link may appears in the sidebar under “likes” for the page you have added as a favorite. This is dependent on the settings that the page owner has set for the page.
In sum, for search optimization reasons, I recommend to my own B2B clients that they 1- have a FB business page, and 2-post their blog excerpts to it and 3-optimize it for search terms their target market is likely to use when searching for information.
Down the road, you may not find your FB page is a lead-generator. However, if you DO find ways that your competitors are levereging their FB pages, and you have to start one from scratch, it will be like trying to catch up in a race against others who’ve gotten a head start.
If you are already on FB, having a business page requires a small investment of time to set up, and can be kept up to date with your blog posts automatically via WordPress.
Photo Credit: File 221132+221136 at Crewe.jpg by Chris McKenna (Thryduulf) on Wikimedia Commons.
*Question Credit: This question first appeared on Marketing For More discussion forum. This highly – recommended marketing mentorship program is available as a service of marketing guru Marcia Yudkin at marketingformore.com