Making B2B marketing go viral on Facebook-why “Likes” may help more than “Shares”

Facebook Like or Share -StratoServeMaking your product message go viral is the ultimate holy grail for  social media marketers today. But is "sharing" on Facebook better or is "liking" better for B2B Marketers?

Since this blog gets this question ( eg. How to use Google AdWords and make your video go viral) here are some thoughts:

  • B2B purchases are for a business purpose: Unlike many B2C purchases that are for fun (eg. a video game, a movie ticket or football game) B2B purchases are for a business purpose and whatever is purchased is used to meet the business goals of the buying company. Businesses tend to avoid risk in buying while marketers keep emphasizing value.
  • Academic research on "viral marketing" : It turns out that academic marketing researchers are grappling with "how do you make your brand go viral" question for the last several years and and an article in the Journal of Marketing (January 2014) by Christian Schulze, Lisa Schöler, & Bernd Skiera provides a nice summary of "viral marketing" research  and interesting insights.They differentiate between Facebook apps  that are fun (like games) and utilitarian (more serious stuff like business,money) and find that in a fun social media platform like Facebook viral strategies that work, are different. If you are trying to improve virality for a fun product sharing,incentives and company broadcasts are better. On the other hand if your goal is to promote viral sharing of utilitarian products broadcasts (on fun platforms like Facebook only) it is better to promote "Likes" and avoid unsolicited company broadcasts.
  • B2B Marketing on Facebook: If you think about it, B2B marketing comes up with a solid review process in your customer firm involving the buying center and products are closer to utilitarian products in the B2C space. Facebook "Likes," particularly among the buying center member community can greatly help your brand awareness as decisions are made. Imagine trying to reach electrical engineers with details of a new switch, if a current user likes that switch you can expect great traction among that engineers Facebook electrical engineer friends. Expect awareness that can greatly help, do not expect leads and orders right away.
  • Banner Advertising on the web: Banner advertising can work for products like electrical switches when the ad is in context i.e. on the open web at forums that discusses switches. Reaching the open web is better with the Google Display Network that comes with  Google AdWords.

To summarize, if you are a B2B marketer it is useful to generate genuine "Likes" on Facebook  for say a new product. If you have millions of  fake "likes" for a specialized electrical switch, it can harm your brand, for the simple reason that all those millions cannot be electrical engineers, purchasing folks and  machine operators! Contact StratoServe.