There appears to be a very ill-informed debate about whether LinkedIn or Facebook is better for B2B marketing. To me it’s a no brainer, LinkedIn wins every time. Why bother wasting time on Facebook when it won’t work for you?
Here are five reasons LinkedIn beats Facebook for B2B marketing:
Targeting and inmails:
The data on LinkedIn is fantastic. You can create any number of campaigns around content and advertising to target decision makers. The ace in the pack though is inmails. With inmails you can target decision makers precisely with a warm soft selling mail directly to their inbox.
To create your target list you can specify any criteria you want, any sized company, any country, years of experience, groups joined, position in the company, industry etc to ensure that your inmail hits the right person precisely. (More on how to use inmails in next week’s LinkedIn blog).
You simply can’t do this on Facebook. Targeting people with advertising only to people who are “like this person” is not the same.
Warm leads/personal branding:
There are no cold leads on LinkedIn. Why do the inmails work? Why does content marketing work? The person sending the inmail can check your personal profile on LinkedIn and ensure you are the right person to contact at your organisation and in fact that you are the right kind of organisation to receive it.
The person receiving your inmail can check out your personal profile, your company profile, mutual connections and your content shared and then reply. None of this can be done on Facebook in a business context.
Personal branding in a business context has never been more important than on LinkedIn for this very reason. If you have an incomplete personal or company profile and don’t share content or interesting content then your inmails will more than likely fail.
You can also contact people who have viewed your profile, engaged with you on a business discussion on a group, shared your business content or are merely 2nd/3rd connections or been recommended by other contacts on LinkedIn. All of this enhances your understanding of who they are to you and who you are to them.
Once you check out their business profile on LinkedIn and because you have already shared business content and started to build a business relationship you are consequently creating a warm lead start to build a potential beneficial relationship. So much better than cold calling or cold emailing or cold Facebooking.
Facebook is a social, personal platform. LinkedIn is a business platform. It’s worth saying it because there are people on both platforms who think the opposite. If you’re a CEO of a large company or an SME and you have a personal Facebook account with lots of lovely family and friends content, do you really want to be contacted by someone selling you services with your family/personal hat on? No.
LinkedIn is a business platform. When you are contacted on LinkedIn it is for business reasons in a business context not a purely social or personal one. If this same CEO is contacted on LinkedIn they will look at your mail/contact/content/message in a business context in the same way that they would ignore it or be annoyed by the same approach on Facebook. They will have their business hat on. It’s all about the context of your approach and the platform you choose, people keep very different and separate profiles. Respect this and you will benefit.
You can create a business focused content marketing plan on LinkedIn. Purely based on a proactive content marketing strategy it will enable you to engage potential customers and to win new business through content engagement. Potential clients and partners can get to know you and what you do through your content. It’s a very warm and effective way to generate reactive business lead generation and to succeed with proactive business proposals.
People buy people. They are much more likely to accept your inmail or connection request if they have heard of you and/or read your content and think both are interesting and relevant to their business and that you know what you are talking about. You can’t do this on Facebook because it’s not a business platform.
There is a world of difference between a company page on LinkedIn and one on Facebook. B2C brands thrive on Facebook. Even brands on Facebook they will tell you it’s very hard to prove that any of the likes can be linked directly back to sales. CocaCola’s CMO famously confirmed as much last year about their 60 million Facebook fans saying that he couldn’t track any sales to any of these millions of likes.
LinkedIn’s company pages and showcase pages (those additional free 10 pages that can split out your services and target specific content to specific audiences matching your specific showcase page) are created with business in mind. If done correctly (and there are many HR people who control a company’s LinkedIn company pages who post nothing but jobs who are not creating engaging content) then you can inspire employees, future employees, shareholders, investors, future investors, clients, future clients, media and in fact all stakeholders.
You can’t do the same on Facebook because most of these people will not want to follow your page on Facebook. You will only be followed by interns, students, employees, ex-employees, competitors, bots and not decision makers. Plus any content shared form these pages onto your personal pages and with your connections won’t be shared in a business context and won’t be shared with decision makers because you are unlikely to be followed by or be following decision makers because Facebook is social/family and personal and LinkedIn is business.
Content shared on company pages on LinkedIn also remains on the page unlike on both your personal feed or Facebook where it disappears through time. By creating separate showcase pages to do with FAQ’s, corporate brochures, membership levels etc and hosting content on these pages you can actually both control the content and leave it there for people to see on an ongoing basis because it remains there. The 11 pages that LinkedIn give you free offer you this flexibility which you can’t get on Facebook.
Social selling has never been more powerful because of LinkedIn. 75% of decisions about whether people will accept your inmail/return your message or accept your invitation will have happened because the target client has been able to check out who you and your company are on LinkedIn first.
(Chris J Reed has 25 years of senior marketing experience on both the client and agency side in the UK and now in Asia-Pacific based in Singapore. He is the CEO and founder of Black Marketing.)