How useful or effective is Facebook for B2B marketing?

This is a common question most B2B marketers as well as publishers of B2B media have to contend with: how relevant or effective is social media and in particular, Facebook, in marketing to a business audience? The answer is– it depends on the objective of one’s marketing efforts and the expectations of the outcome from such marketing.

If the objective of the B2B campaign is  lead generation or business development, then Facebook (in its current form and with what it offers)  certainly isn’t a channel that the marketer should be expending too much resources on. On the other hand, if the objective is to create or spread awareness about the company and reinforce its position, culture, values etc., then Facebook is indeed a wonderful channel to be used smartly. After all, as some people have written in various forums, ‘businesses don’t make decisions, it’s people who do’ — and the people who can be influenced are on Facebook (even though their business personas may lie dormant for the most part on Facebook).

Another point to remember is changing demographics. As the Gen-I (Internet generation) becomes the major part of the workforce — and we are rapidly moving to that stage— there will be a major shift in the media consumption habits. The line separating social media for personal and business use is highly likely to be erased.

Overall, our recommendation is that if marketing is about being where the audience is, then be on Facebook too, even for B2B purposes. Moderate your expectations on what you will get out of it– or rather, use a different set of metrics to evaluate the success or value you derive from this.