With its upcoming float, there’s lots of talk at the moment about Facebook’s value. But what value does it serve to businesses? It’s a theme we explored last week at our Citigate Social breakfast seminar: Facebook for Business.
Conducting some of our own research looking at how the top 100 B2B and B2C Superbrands use Facebook, we got an insight into how some of the most successful companies use the channel. Our research* found that:
- 87% of consumer-facing Superbrands have a Facebook page and, of those, 78% answer customer service queries on their page and 61% run competitions. The average number of Likes was 3,324,927, with 38,754 users ‘talking about them’
- Just 50% of B2B Superbrands have a Facebook page and, of those, 60% respond to customer service enquiries, with only 30% choosing to use Facebook to promote competition. The average number of Likes was 334,940, with 9,552 ‘talking about them’
The picture this paints, not surprisingly, is that consumer brands are using Facebook to promote their businesses way more than B2B brands. The ratio of Likes/Talking About also suggests more engagement. And for obvious reasons: most people would agree that Facebook has more consumer appeal, with LinkedIn seen as a B2B channel. That said, I still feel that it is sometimes appropriate for B2B brands to use Facebook. For example, if they are targeting the SoHo end of the market, promoting a CSR programme or to act as a recruitment tool, particularly for graduates.
A lot of consumer brands are nervous about Facebook because of the customer service issue, so it was interesting looking at their strategies for engaging with customers. Most engage with customers, but the most common strategy was to try and take the complaint offline – so clearly there’s an opportunity for the Facebook-centric customer support channels like Parature and Get Satisfaction (more on this in the next blog post).
Looking at the figures, there were some surprises about which were the most successful brands: for example, Ferrero Rocher (15 million + Likes), BMW (9.8 million + Likes) and Monopoly (9.4 million + Likes) all made the top 10 in the B2C side. Clearly, measuring success purely by Likes is a risky business, but it’s a reasonable indicator.
The next blog post about the event will cover a summary of presentations from our other speakers: Jas Dhaliwal from AVG and Roberto Kusabbi from British Heart Foundation – two people who are extremely knowledgeable about how businesses can harness the power of Facebook.
* - The Facebook for Business research was conducted looking at each of the top 100 business and consumer brands in May 2012 (please note Facebook Likes change rapidly). The research focused on UK pages first, but if none existed we used a global page. For the B2B figures, it’s also worth noting that in some cases we made decisions about whether a page was truly B2B or had an element of business communications – some brands, such as Adobe, eBay and Hilton are difficult to classify. Thanks to Melissa and James for helping with the research.
- Why Fans Break-Up with Brands on Facebook (boom360.com)
- How B2B Marketers Can Succeed on the 6 Big Social Networks (hubspot.com)
- B2C Marketers Have 100 More Friends Than B2B Marketers (hubspot.com)