Does Facebook Work for B2B Lead Generation? Hell Yes!

To the folks out there who say that Facebook is not an effective lead generation tool for B2B, I will tell them that they need a new strategy.

Facebook boasts the largest user base of any social network and it’s essential that you have a presence here or your business will simply be missing opportunities. Over the past few months I have been experimenting with different types of ads, new content, eye catching visuals, and tracking my success using Marketo and Facebook insights. What I have found out is that in order to have success, you need a perfect storm of content and tactics.

In the data below you can see that in August I ran only standard Facebook ads along with a few promoted posts. In September I began focusing more on Promoted Posts in addition to standard ads and the number of targets went up while cost per target went down. In October Marketo released the Definitive Guide to Social Marketing and I added more budget into standard Facebook ads to promote it.  As you can see, the cost went up along with cost per target. In November I put a heavy emphasis on Sponsored Stories and utilizing Marketo’s new publish a landing page to Facebook feature, and launched a new custom Facebook app. Focusing less on standard Facebook ads and mixing it up with engaging apps and running promoted posts around our custom Facebook tabs, we were able to generate a record number of targets at a cost per under $7.00. Facebook is now our number one program for generating targets for the month of November.

What’s the takeaway here? If you have limited budget, focus on Promoted posts and Sponsored Stories. The fact that we used these types of ads around our Marketo landing pages within Facebook gave us even a higher boost in engagement. I think this is because we were keeping folks within Facebook instead of sending them to an external landing page.

Here is the hard data. We are not even finished with the month of November, and you can clearly see how the inclusion of custom Facebook tabs, promoted posts, and Sponsored Stories are clearly the winners for driving both engagement and prospects.

Here are a few tips for success in using the tactics mentioned above.

  • Content is still king. The reason that these ads work is because they are promoting your good content.
  • Peer to peer recommendations and sharing are powerful tools. Sponsored stories and promoted posts get your content into the newsfeed and make it easy to share.
  • Wittiness is terribly underrated. B2B marketers like to have fun too. They are not on Facebook to be sold to. Entertain them a bit, and then tie it back to something useful.
  • Experiment with your ad combinations and try new things. It’s all about trial and error in the world of social. Figure out what your target audience engages with, then amplify it and do more.

Now it’s your turn. The strategy that I use here at Marketo can easily be replicated and customized for both B2B and B2C companies. It’s all about how much time and effort you really have to invest. For more information and details around how we use social media for inbound marketing, check out our brand new ebook How to Optimize Social Media for Lead Generation.

Related Resources

  • http://twitter.com/MaureenB2B Maureen Blandford

    So what your title actually should be is “Does Facebook Work for B2B LeadGen When Marketing to Marketers?” Your data seems to support that. But it definitely doesn’t support the generalized claim in your title, right?

  • http://twitter.com/JasonMillerCA Jason Miller

    Hi Maureen,

    Although these numbers are case specific, I think it’s more
    important to look at the bigger picture. Facebook has crossed 1 billion monthly
    users. That means that decision makers from practically every industry or those
    that influence decisions around a B2B buying cycle are here, and they are most
    likely active. So with the right strategy, a lot of what I describe in this
    post, along with the correct targeting will absolutely yield results by reaching
    prospects and customers who may have never engaged or even heard of your
    product outside of Facebook.

    Thanks for the comment!

    Jason

  • http://twitter.com/MaureenB2B Maureen Blandford

    Actually, when making recommendations, specifics are more important than the ‘big picture.’ You’re making several leaps here not the least of which is ‘most likely active.’

    It doesn’t serve anyone to take case-specific data and then make suppositions about what may or may not be happening with other groups. If you’ve got proof for other groups, cite it. If not, tout the data you’re certain about.

    Stratifying matters.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonMillerCA Jason Miller

    Duly noted. The bottom line is that many B2B marketers are looking for success stories with generating leads from social. The exact strategy that I used above could very easily be applied to many of the B2B companies out there looking for answers to what works and ideas to liven up their FB engagement.

    Whether it’s generating leads, nurturing prospects, engaging with customers or simply staying top of mind, it’s a very good idea to have an active presence on FB and the tactics mentioned above, even minus the case specific metrics, are proven to work.

  • http://twitter.com/kokasexton Koka Sexton

    No one will argue that marketers “get it” and that generating leads with them through social media is much easier but its not the only case for it.

    I’ve built a marketing machine when it comes to generating leads on social media, be it Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn for a B2B company that focuses on an executive sales audience.

    The same model applies across many industries and I just spoke at a company earlier this week that is generating B2B leads selling IT equipment. It works, I see it every day.

    Pulling inbound leads from Twitter and Facebook isn’t the same animal as ‘traditional marketing’. The “content is king” promise holds true and engaging with social communities yields actual revenue and has an extremely high ROI when you look at it from a CPL basis.

    Traditional marketing through ad buys and other means can cost a company anywhere from $30-$100 per lead. Social media is such a great marketing channel because you can generate leads for far less.

  • http://twitter.com/KevinBaldacci7 Kevin Baldacci

    Maureen, we are a B2B company who targets the sales industry. Namely, our most prospective leads are VP to C-level employees – those you would not expect to find on Facebook. However, with the correct strategy and numerous trial and errors, we have found a number of campaigns to generate a multitude of leads resulting in opportunities and closed deals.

    In my experience, many B2B companies take a soft approach when generating leads through Facebook. Of course they hold contests and provide landing pages, however, there is rarely a follow up on the back end. As Jason noted, it is imperative to generate these leads, nurture them appropriately and have a solid follow up with sales.

    In your response to your first comment, we are a B2B company that targets sales industries and have seen a number of leads generated on Facebook. However, nonetheless, I’m afraid from your comments below, I don’t see too much meat to the bones of your stance in this argument, mostly just looking for holes in the blog post.

  • Mordy Karsch

    Is there a CPL estimate for Social marketing efforts? How is it calculated?

  • Mordy Karsch

    Is there a CPL estimate for Social marketing efforts? How is it calculated?

  • http://twitter.com/JasonMillerCA Jason Miller

    Hi Mordy. It really depends on your strategy and the content you have available to support your organic and advertising efforts. We of course use Marketo to calculate CPL based on scoring all of the names that come into the campaign. The ones that meet the profile for a Marketo buyer are then called targets. Then we divided the total cost of the program by those qualified targets/ prospects. The total names collected in the case above is actually much higher than the actual targets.

  • Anonymous

    Jason, thank you so much for opening your playbook and sharing it. In the ever changing landscape it is always helpful to learn from the successes of others. As you noted, there is a a certain amount of trial and error, testing and tweaking and these types of case studies are immensely helpful in providing guideposts to apply to our own situation. I’ve gained some great ideas from your success and can’t thank you enough for the help.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonMillerCA Jason Miller

    Hi Karen, thanks for the comment. Glad you found it helpful!

  • http://twitter.com/NurraizanA nurraizan azal

    Hi Jason

    Well done on the campaign.

    Can I also share an insight?
    http://socialmediajewel.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/facebook-ads-vs-google-ads/

    I think everyone should have their presence felt on FB, but for B2B, it’s not about leads. It’s about engagement and basically lots of expert voice per say.

    I think why a B2B wants to connect to you via facebook or twitter, is because of the need for latest product updates or events notifications and of course promotions.

  • http://twitter.com/NurraizanA nurraizan azal

    Hi Jason

    Well done on the campaign.

    Can I also share an insight?
    http://socialmediajewel.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/facebook-ads-vs-google-ads/

    I think everyone should have their presence felt on FB, but for B2B, it’s not about leads. It’s about engagement and basically lots of expert voice per say.

    I think why a B2B wants to connect to you via facebook or twitter, is because of the need for latest product updates or events notifications and of course promotions.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonMillerCA Jason Miller

    Thanks for the comment. It is indeed about engagement, but if you are not driving leads or revenue, then what’s the point? There absolutely needs to be a balance of both with an end result that drives new business.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonMillerCA Jason Miller

    Thanks for the comment. It is indeed about engagement, but if you are not driving leads or revenue, then what’s the point? There absolutely needs to be a balance of both with an end result that drives new business.

  • http://twitter.com/TobyLeads Toby Marshall

    Jason, what a great article. As a B2B marketing firm, we still believe having a presence Facebook is beneficial for all, whether you’re B2C or B2B – like you said, Facebook is a great Lead Generation tool that no-one should undervalue! At the same time, you’ve got to have great content to generate those leads.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonMillerCA Jason Miller

    Well said Toby! I couldn’t agree more. The lines are blurring between Facebook for B2B vs B2C and if you don’t have a presence, you are simply missing opportunities. Thanks for the comment, very much appreciated.

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Jason Miller is Senior Manager of Content Marketing at LinkedIn. Previously, Jason was Senior Manager of Social Media at Marketo and focused on optimizing social for lead generation and driving revenue. He is a regular contributor to leading marketing blogs such as Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today, and Marketing Profs.

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