It is almost taken for granted that any business serious about digital marketing must have an active presence on both LinkedIn and Facebook. However, is this strictly true? Can you operate a marketing strategy without engaging seriously on social media? This is a pressing question for many businesses, especially in companies that have limited spare time available to ‘waste’ on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Arguments have been put forward over the years on both sides of the debate, which are summarised below:
Yes, Facebook & LinkedIn Are Both Essential Marketing Tools
- Reasons to use LinkedIn for business
There are strong reasons why hundreds of millions of B2B professionals around the world choose to engage with LinkedIn. It is a unique network marketing platform, allowing businesses to establish a reputation as thought leaders in their industry, gain valuable insight into trends, carry out market research, develop their reputation and build links with suppliers and customers through LinkedIn groups.
- Reasons to use Facebook for business
As the world’s foremost social network, Facebook provides businesses with an effective channel to communicate with prospects, suppliers and customers. There are dozens of ways in which this can be done, ranging from advertising blog content, liking and commenting on other people’s content, posting live videos, sending and responding to messages and paying for targeted adverts.
Simply having a Facebook account will radically increase your online exposure, with all of your potential customers pretty much guaranteed to have a Facebook account. As your company page accumulates likes, your reputation as an influential player in your industry will grow, both within Facebook and beyond. A growing number of businesses now use their Facebook profile as their main online hub, supplanting the central position once held by the company website.
No, You Can Operate A Successful Strategy Without Using Facebook Or LinkedIn
- “You don’t need to use social media at all if your business has a purely local customer base and relies on other channels for lead generation.”
People using this argument cite local shops and tradespeople as examples of non-social media using businesses. These businesses will still usually have a website and engage in some kind of digital marketing strategy e.g. through PPC adverts, supplementing off-line forms of advertising. Please note that it is highly debatable whether this category of business actually exists in 2017. There is abundant proof that social media engagement is beneficial to businesses of all sizes and sectors, with social media adoption being widespread among even the smallest of businesses.
- “You don’t need to use Facebook or LinkedIn if you primarily use another social media channel.”
Many Facebook and LinkedIn users do not use Twitter, or use it only occasionally. Should the reverse logic be true – that using a channel like Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat makes Facebook and LinkedIn unnecessary? Some businesses do make that argument, especially those which rely heavily on real-time customer interaction and image-based marketing, such as photographers. However, even these companies are likely to benefit from the advertising potential of Facebook, even if just to draw attention to new products which are then followed up on Twitter.
Facebook and LinkedIn are important as passive channels as well as active ones; meaning that it isn’t always what you do on these platforms but who is looking that makes the main difference. Both Facebook and LinkedIn are now commonly used as search engines in their own right. Businesses without a presence on either platform miss out on a lot of potential web traffic.
Facebook AND LinkedIn?
There are strong arguments in favour of using either Facebook or LinkedIn as part of a digital marketing strategy, as well as some opinions that downplay their importance. However, if you accept that both channels are valuable in principle, does it follow that you need to be established on both? In other words, do you need to spend time creating content and engaging customers on Facebook and LinkedIn, or will one or the other do?
Some businesses do use one of the platforms and not the other, but this is a diminishing market. There is such a strong interplay between Facebook and LinkedIn that the majority of businesses use both – even if just nominally.
Why do this when it is usually the same people you are trying to reach on both platforms?
The answer is that using both platforms gives you two different ways to engage with prospects. A committed hard-core of LinkedIn users are enthusiasts who regularly check the app throughout the day, but this is a minority. Most users view LinkedIn as an extension of their work, so may just check in once or twice a day when at their office.
Facebook, on the other hand, is truly a lifestyle app. A lot of Facebook users check the platform on their smart phones several times a day. They use Facebook to catch up with friends, to post content, to shop for deals, find local events AND research business opportunities. There is no clear distinction on Facebook between personal and business use, giving you additional chances to build relationships with decision-makers – even when they not officially ‘on duty’. A senior director or small business owner will always have half an eye on business opportunities, even when browsing through their friend’s posts at the weekend.
So yes, in many circumstances it makes sense to use both platforms, but make sure you diversify your content strategies for Facebook and LinkedIn. It is easy to fall into the trap of posting exactly the same updates on all your social media accounts, especially when using scheduling software. Don’t do this! Facebook and LinkedIn both need personalised approaches consistent with their style of use. LinkedIn content should be weighted towards value driven networking opportunities, whereas a more direct advertising style can be taken on Facebook.
Social media plays such a vital role in digital marketing that it is hard to see how you could operate a successful lead generation strategy without a presence on at least one of the major platforms. Facebook and LinkedIn are the obvious choices for many businesses because of their accessibility and relatively low time requirements. We recommend that every business establishes a professional company page on both platforms. However, this does not mean that you need to give equal weight to both LinkedIn and Facebook. You may find that your target customers are predominantly LinkedIn users, in which case it makes sense to focus more on developing your LinkedIn content strategy.
As we have seen, some types of business are also suited to other social media channels, with Twitter being the most popular. If you have the time to invest in real time management of a Twitter account then it can be a powerful lead generation tool. If this turns out to be a successful way to engage your market, you may be able to take your foot off the pedal when it comes to your LinkedIn and Facebook input. Speak to us about the best strategy for you, because no two businesses are the same. Every company has to develop their own way of using social media, based on the browsing habits of their customers and the nature of their industry.
To chat with one of our JDR digital marketing specialists, please send us an email or get in touch by phone on 01332 343281.