Social media marketing is one of the leading digital marketing strategies for both B2C and B2B, with 80% of B2B marketers incorporating social platforms into their marketing programs.
You might already have some assumptions about how each platform can be used - LinkedIn is for professional networking and Facebook is for fun, etc.
But if you’re putting each into boxes, you are limiting what you can achieve on each platform.
Instead, read on about the features and drawbacks of both sites and where B2B marketers may struggle or succeed on each.
Each social platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and what may be a strength for one marketer could be a weakness for another. Comparing the features of Facebook and LinkedIn can guide you towards a platform that is more tailored to your needs.
Facebook is still the most popular social platform in 2019, with 2.38 billion users worldwide. This means, no matter who is in your target audience, you are guaranteed to find potential leads.
These users also spend more time on Facebook than on other platforms, at an average of about 35 minutes a day. The more time a user spends on social media, the more likely they are to encounter your content or ads.
Though Facebook is especially popular among B2C marketers, 43% of B2B marketers believe Facebook is their most important advertising channel.
Ninety-three percent of social media advertisers use Facebook Ads.
Facebook Ads have an impressively high click-to-conversion rate compared to other platforms; 26% of users who clicked an ad reported making a purchase.
Because there are so many users and businesses active on Facebook, organic reach can be difficult, so paid promotions are becoming more and more popular among marketers. Despite rising in popularity, Facebook is still one of the cheapest social platforms for advertising, following Twitter.
Ad impressions are also on the rise, having increased by 21% in 2018, which means more people are seeing your ads on a daily basis.
Additionally, the ad CTA buttons can almost triple your click-through rates. Not only are more people seeing your ads on Facebook, but engagement is increasing as well.
Facebook’s massive size is also an advantage for advertisers. All of the data collected by Facebook can be used to better target your ads, so potential leads will see your ad before they might even realize they are interested in your brand. This data tells you everything you need to know about engaging with your target audience based on information collected from your ideal users and other users like them.
Facebook might have the largest audience, but LinkedIn is the top social platform for lead generation. Though Facebook has more users, LinkedIn is more likely to have industry leaders you want to connect with as a B2B marketer.
LinkedIn has 610 million users - 303 million monthly active users, 90 million senior-level influencers and 63 million decision makers - and generated 80% of all B2B leads from social media.
How users view the two platforms may impact online activity. LinkedIn is often seen as a more professional platform, so users may be more inclined to engage with professional or industry-related content. This could explain the difference in lead generation between the two sites.
You can also better target your audiences on LinkedIn. While Facebook is great for B2C marketing, LinkedIn is often more up-to-date and accurate when it comes to B2B targeting.
If users most often user Facebook for personal use, there is less data to collect from those users regarding their professional lives. LinkedIn users are more likely to have their profile updated and accurate to represent their current occupation.
LinkedIn’s advertising supports much more precise targeting than Facebook. In addition to the standard demographic segments, LinkedIn has many criteria that allow you to break down audiences based on their company (connections, industry, size, follower of), education (field of study, degrees, member schools), and job experience (function, seniority, title, skills, years of experience).
All of these segments are especially important for B2B advertisers, which is probably why 89% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to promote their brands and 42% plan on increasing their LinkedIn advertising. B2B marketers believe LinkedIn Ads deliver the best value, with 58% reporting high ROI from Ads.
Though Facebook has an incredible reach around the globe, organic posts still struggle to reach fans. With billions of posts shared every day, it is easy for your content to get lost. Only 2% of followers see posts organically.
Despite Facebook’s impressive conversion rate, industries on Facebook have an average click-through-rate of 0.9%. This number may be disappointing at first, but combined with the conversion rate, it shows the value of targeted marketing. Although not many viewers are clicking your ads, those who do are more likely to make a purchase, making them much more valuable leads.
The cost of advertising is also rising with the rising popularity of paid promotions; the average cost per ad increased by 17% in 2018.
The size of Facebook and the information it collects from users is a huge advantage to advertisers, but this can be less impactful on B2B marketers. Though many businesses utilize Facebook, it is still seen as a casual platform for personal use. This means that when people log onto Facebook they might be less likely to look at work-related content and instead focus on B2C content. This information collected is then more related to user consumer behavior and may not represent their behavior as professionals.
Additionally, Facebook has made it more difficult for B2B marketers by removing segment options, including education level, field of study, employment status, and job title. These segments are often more important for B2B marketing than B2C and can be very useful when targeting content and ads.
Cost of Advertising
On average, LinkedIn Ads cost more per click than Facebook Ads. In 2017, the average CPC on Facebook was $0.97 compared to $5.26 on LinkedIn. This can at least be in-part due to the size difference of the platforms - you are more likely to attract more clicks from a larger group of people.
While the cost may vary wildly between platforms, CPC is not the only metric you should be looking at, nor is it the most important. Sometimes, it is worth spending more per click if it means more valuable leads.
The audience on LinkedIn is much smaller compared to the most popular social platforms, which immediately limits the number of people you can reach. LinkedIn users typically tend to be older professionals, making it harder to engage with younger generations.
While this is initially a limitation, it just means your LinkedIn marketing must be more targeted than Facebook marketing. Younger generations are on LinkedIn, they just might be harder to find. Only 11% of adults ages 18+ can be reached with LinkedIn ads, but 51% of college grads are now on LinkedIn, and that number keeps rising.
Choosing a Platform
Even after comparing, it can still be difficult to choose one to prioritize over the other. While there are many elements affecting this decision, certain metrics and factors are more impactful than others.
Analytics and Engagement
You want to choose the platform that performs the best. To do so, you must compare how content and ads on each platform engage with audiences and the value it adds to your marketing program.
Luckily, both Facebook and LinkedIn have Page Analytics that allow you to review how well your page is performing. Tracking and comparing important metrics like lead generation, overall engagement, CPC, and ROI will give you a clearer idea of what platform is most conducive to your goals.
ROI is one of the easiest and most important metrics to track. Whenever you spend money to further your business, you want to see some sort of greater return.
Comparing ROI for social media will tell you what platform is bringing in the most money, whether directly through sales or indirectly through brand recognition and audience engagement.
Where you invest money and how it affects your progress is entirely up to the needs and goals of your business. Comparing your returns is one of the easiest ways to determine what channels are more valuable and therefore what channels to prioritize.
Ultimately, you have to make a decision based on what you think is best for your unique brand.
If you feel that you receive more valuable engagement on one platform despite saving money on another, you need to choose the channel that brings you closer towards your specific goals.
The best part is, you don’t have to choose! Most marketers make use of several channels while prioritizing some. Use both Facebook and LinkedIn to engage audiences wherever they go, for personal or professional use.
B2B marketers face unique challenges compared to B2C marketing, and making use of both platforms may lead to a more effective and comprehensive B2B marketing program. Always check in on your progress to ensure you are always working towards your ultimate goals.