Although it feels like social media has been around forever, their effectiveness for B2B marketing is still much debated.
With this in mind, I have taken a quick look at the good, bad and ugly of the three most popular social media channels for B2B marketers: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. (Instagram is catching up...but that's for another blog post!)
Facebook is a cost-effective way to engage with your key target audiences
It provides the opportunity to build communities and re-target to customers and prospects using a wide range of organic and paid adverts and posts - including their new 3D formats.
Because of its huge audience, one of the main uses of Facebook advertising is to raise brand awareness, and it is a great way to target prospects with brand messaging.
- Advertising with Facebook can increase your SEO rankings as search engines rely on social signals when it comes to organic rankings
- You can use remarketing to re-engage prospects and customers
While Facebook has its benefits, it also has its disadvantages.
According to Digiday, Facebook has one of the most inconsistent Ad management platforms. There have been numerous cases where people have tried to use the platform, but the platform was having a bit of trouble handling the data... (...Since when did Facebook ever have problems handling data??)
With some companies needing immediate access to post new content by strict deadlines, the re-occurring problem with the platform becomes a real big problem. LinkedIn has recently rolled out their new platform which is nearly a clone of Facebook's - does that mean we are going to see the same problems there?
Like Facebook, Twitter is another very low-cost advertising platform, but with slightly more innovative targeting capabilities. Through hashtags and keyword targeting, you can display your (paid) messaging right in the middle of a hot topic at that time. For example, when a new malware attack hits, a cybersecurity player can be first in mind for that topic.
Also, the level of viewability can increase your following rapidly, as long as the ads are well constructed and engaging. When done well, Twitter can generate you some really good results. But...
Like Facebook, one of the biggest issues when advertising with Twitter is the platform. Speaking from experience, I think it is a nightmare.
It is not an easy platform to navigate around, and there is too much information and data displayed in one instance. There must be a more simple way to display this?
Unlike both Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn distinguishes itself through their higher cost clicks and granular targeting. But, you get what you are paying for. With over 560 million professionals using the platform and the ability to drive leads and revenue with the extensive number of features made available. They have recently introduced lead generation forms and automated bidding. These are great new releases to help them catch up with the competition, but they still need a bit of fine-tuning.
While the new lead generation forms are a great way to feed sales teams with new contact details, I question the quality of them. Unlike traditional content syndication where you can be guaranteed business card information, LinkedIn lead gen forms are pre-populated with information that is accessible from your profile. So that could mean you end up with a bunch of personal e-mail addresses as people would be unlikely to change the details if they are already there.
Each platform has its own flaws, but the benefits outweigh them by a mile.
Paid Social is becoming more and more integral to brands' marketing plans each year, to generate awareness and traffic from audiences that are not currently engaged with them.
If they can work on improving the functionality to the advertiser, there'll be nothing much Ugly about them in the future.