What’s wrong with Facebook as a B2B marketing platform? A recent study sponsored by LinkedIn offers some insights into that question, and I think it’s right on the money.
The study, “The Mindset Divide,” is available here (behind a mandatory form). But here’s the key finding:
The biggest difference between personal and professional networking is purpose and mindset. We learned that people exhibit two very different mindsets when they engage on social platforms – a personal one to passively “spend time,” and a professional one to actively “invest time.” On personal networks, people are driven to socialize, find entertainment and generally kill time.
There’s also an infographic based on the study (click on the image for a full-size version).
According to the study, people are “more than 3 times as likely to use personal networks for entertainment rather than professional networks.” This trend shows in terms of people’s priorities; for example, they consider receiving “updates from brands” a much higher priority on professional networks than on personal ones.
It’s not hard to read between the lines here: “Personal networks” means Facebook, and “professional networks” means LinkedIn. I think that’s true for 95% of the people reading this post, and it’s certainly true for me.
In fact, it’s true for everyone else I interact with on Facebook. Aside from a few brand “likes” associated with Demand Gen Report or G3 Communications, I don’t like brands, discuss brands, or engage in any other business-related activity on Facebook.
I have befriended some of my professional colleagues on Facebook, but that actually underlines my point: I view these as personal relationships that grew out of business relationships, and that’s how I treat them on Facebook.
Why separate my business and professional social networking? Because it simplifies my life. Because I don’t want to over-share my personal life with business associates or brand marketers. Because I value my privacy. I have lots of reasons why, and so do many of you.
Your mileage may vary, of course. And while I also avoid engaging with B2C brands on Facebook, I realize that some people take a different attitude towards B2C social marketing, which can sometimes blur the line between business and personal life.
By all means, take the study with a grain of salt; LinkedIn does, after all, have a clear agenda to push here. Even so, I wouldn’t be surprised if B2B marketers increasingly look at Facebook as a secondary target, based on some of the trends illustrated in this study – and based on what those trends mean for social marketing ROI.
The DGR blog is a hub for our unique take on B2B industry goings-on, editors' commentary, event recaps, rich media resources, links to interesting videos, graphics and presentations. While articles on our web site provide more thorough, deep dive reporting, the DGR blog offers short snippets for industry insiders.