Making the case for Facebook and Instagram in B2B Marketing
Years ago, when I was finishing up in what was a primarily B2C Marketing role (my first) to move to a more B2B-orientated one, I recall chatting to my then-manager who asked how I felt about the new job. When I mentioned my slight apprehension about needing to change tack for the Business-to-Business role, she simply replied “B2B, B2C, it’s all the same”. Of course, there are some quite distinct differences between the two sectors, they had a point though. It's not untrue to say that there is still some crossover in their basic elements. After all, marketing is ultimately about appealing to a prospective customer’s need for your product or service, be they a general consumer or a Procurement Officer seeking a new supplier. There's no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to marketing in general (even within B2B or B2C). And yet, it can’t be denied that there are some channels to can be effectively adapted for both sectors. Let’s take a look at some examples.
Can Facebook be used for B2B Marketing?
When I first started taking courses in the world of Digital Marketing the emphasis (as one might expect) was that Facebook/Instagram is for B2C, and LinkedIn is for B2B. It's an opinion a lot of people still hold today. However, in my experience in working in both B2B and B2C sectors, it’s not necessarily as rigid as that in practice. I don’t need to tell you how effective Facebook is as a B2C selling tool. The IPSOS MRBI Social Media Tracker for January 2022 showed indicated that 63% of Irish people are on Mark Zurkerburg’s leviathan. Now, think about that for a second or two. That 63% includes key decision makers and procurement officers from businesses large and small. And while they may not (or may) be in ‘work mode’ when browsing on Facebook, a well-executed B2B ad will grab their attention nevertheless. I’ve had success in previous roles in targeting B2B ads on this nominally consumer channel.
Surely Instagram has no place in B2B Marketing?
When it comes to B2B marketing, Instagram is not a channel to be sneezed at. As with its big Metaverse sister, it has secured the attention of a sizeable proportion of Irish citizens (48% according to the aforementioned IPSOS MRBI report). Again, that 48% includes many of the decision makers B2B firms tend to target. A targeted B2B campaign on Instagram has the potential to pay off big time. For example, one such campaign I worked on grabbed the attention of a company director no less when they saw our ad on Instagram and asked an employee to contact us to find out more. The product being pushed had quite a high margin too. Do you reckon the Sales team reckoned us marketing a B2B product on Instagram was a waste of time?
Think about where Business Owners spend their online time
As can be gleaned from the earlier paragraphs, a large proportion of Irish people spend time on Facebook and Instagram. And, as I've stated, that includes decision makers that B2B Marketers need to target. In my experience, when it comes to smaller Irish businesses some owners only have a presence on nominally consumer channels. There are also those who have a LinkedIn profile but tend to forget about it, yet remain active on Facebook. In many cases, these business owners are also the de facto procurement officer for their small enterprises. So, if you're trying to sell your products to such business owners, which channel would you spend your ad budget on? That's no slight on LinkedIn, a solid B2B marketing campaign can pay big dividends there. However, when it comes to targeting small or micro-businesses, I've found Facebook and Instagram campaigns to be more effective than their LinkedIn counterparts.
In essence, Facebook and Instagram can be highly effective channels when it comes to executing B2B marketing campaigns. LinkedIn is not to be overlooked, but if you have a small budget it's well worth considering using the Meta channels. The trick is to select your target audience effectively and craft your post copy (and creative) wisely. You'll be pleasantly surprised by what you can achieve.