Among the dozens of social networks, LinkedIn and Facebook are the most potent lead generation platforms. Compared to others, these two networks provide marketers with better tools and targeted markets for lead acquisition.
LinkedIn, with more than 530 million active users allows users to follow and interact with the brands of their choice. What’s better, the platform encourages peer-to-peer connections, making it possible for “like-minded” parties to find each other with ease.
B2Bs, in particular, have every reason to market on LinkedIn. Studies show that a whopping 80% of global B2B leads come LinkedIn. What’s more, 94% of B2B marketers have a LinkedIn profile. Some studies even suggest that 46% of social media traffic coming to B2B sites is from LinkedIn.
This means that if you’re a B2B company, then nearly half of the social media traffic you see on your site is coming from LinkedIn. It follows, therefore, that you should be channeling most of your resources into this network.
Facebook allows users to easily follow the brands of their choice, giving SMBs an opportunity to generate and convert leads. And, although not as good on the B2B front as LinkedIn, the network’s enormous user base (1.3 billion people right now) is a big factor.
In 2015, for instance, Facebook influenced 52% of online purchases. That’s a huge number, and a sign that leads coming off the platform are of the highest quality.
This high ROI has forced a majority of SMBs to join Facebook. More than 50 million small businesses are already marketing on the platform.
Lead Generation Ads
It gets better, in addition to organic leads, both LinkedIn and Facebook allow for advertising and have gone as far as providing marketers with full-fledged advertising platforms within the respective networks.
LinkedIn describes its recently improved lead generation forms as “a new solution that helps marketers drive even more high-quality leads from sponsored content campaigns.” Among other things, the lighter, shorter lead-capture forms present advertiser with a quick way to nick more leads with minimal effort.
Facebook’s lead ads could be said to be even better. The ads guarantee a substantial ROI while simplifying the advertiser’s work. Additionally, the ability to target Facebook leads by a whole range of parameters make the ads quite useful.
Choosing Between the Two: Which Is Better?
Assuming that you can only pick one of the two for your lead generation campaign, the following is what you need to know to make the right choice;
LinkedIn Lead Generation
LinkedIn has evolved significantly over the years. Initially known as a job hunting ground where people seeking employment would visit in the hope of meeting their next employer, the platform has changed to become a place where professionals go to find and build connections.
A majority of the users dip into and out of the platform throughout the day as they receive notifications on their mobile apps. Some also prefer to scroll through their newsfeed in between meetings and during lunch breaks.
The top three activities on the platform are;
- Soliciting recommendations for tools and vendors
- Prospecting for new business
- Researching competition
It’s worth noting that since LinkedIn acquired Lynda.com, a lot of people also visit the platform to learn. The network’s official learning platform is called LinkedIn Learning. Additionally, LinkedIn allows users to blog on their profiles – a feature that can help marketers build loyal audiences. There are plans to expand on that to allow video upload too.
The recently rolled out lead generation forms feature is another very enticing addition. Launched in April 2014, LinkedIn lead generation forms, also known as Lead Gen Forms, are targeted specifically at mobile users, removing the need to fill contact forms if a user clicks on sponsored content from their mobile phone.
Pros of LinkedIn Lead Generation
There are many benefits of using LinkedIn for lead generation whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer;
The platform boasts a very specific audience; all the users are people seeking to advance their careers. As such, everyone on the platform is highly organized in an effort to present their best image to the world. LinkedIn users also have a very professional attitude. The result is that any connections coming off the platform tend to be reliable and trustworthy.
Target based on “firmographics”
Firmographics refers to the information LinkedIn knows about a user’s resume and company profile. Some of the information includes the user’s; generation, language, geography, industries, current and past companies, and LinkedIn groups joined. Such information can be crucial in finding the right leads.
In-Mail Email Advertising
Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn also allows sending of emails primarily for advertising purposes. It calls these emails InMails. InMails come with a host of advantages such as direct delivery to the user’s inbox and communicating privately. This too can help with lead generation.
Finally, LinkedIn offers more sophisticated targeting features compared to Facebook and other social media networks. For instance, advertisers can use “account targeting” to look up a list of companies to target. The list can even be refined by professional demographics to reach decision makers.
You can also utilize “contact marketing” where you upload a list of contacts and target those on your list. Lastly, you can go as far as to “expand your audience” to find contacts similar to those you’ve selected.
Drawbacks of LinkedIn Lead Generation
There aren’t many cons of generating leads on LinkedIn especially if you’re doing it organically. But, if you’re using the paid platform, a few challenges come up such as;
Compared to Facebook, LinkedIn is a bit expensive. The good news is that the professional nature of the leads means you have a higher chance of conversion.
While InMail may seem like a godsend for marketers seeking to close leads quickly, sending unsolicited advertising emails to contacts amounts to spamming.
Facebook Lead Generation
Just like LinkedIn, Facebook has come a long way. The introduction of Facebook Messenger in April 2015 changed the social network in many aspects, and when Facebook Live was introduced, the revolution was complete.
Messenger allows marketers to chat and engage leads in real-time, giving you the power to accelerate the journey to conversion. If you can remain human enough in your chats and leverage ads to drive the message home, you’re on your way to success.
Facebook Live is just as useful if not more valuable. According to Business to Community, Facebook Live videos reach more people compared to YouTube videos and even produce better engagement metrics. In the first quarter of 2017;
- Facebook Live Videos reached 16.7% of the audience on average while YouTube videos reached 11%. Instagram reached 3%
- The videos engaged 4.9% of the people reached. In that period, YouTube engaged 2.8% while Instagram engaged 2.4%
- A total of 700 million people viewed Facebook Live videos
People mostly use Facebook to connect with friends, pass time, promote their work, and support a social cause.
Pros of Facebook Lead Generation
The biggest advantage of using Facebook for lead generation is its vast user base. Nearly 70% of social media users have a Facebook profile, giving marketers a large population to work with. Other than that, Facebook is known for;
Facebook offers an array of targeting tools, making it very easy to reach specific targets. Whether you’re looking to target college students in a particular city or work-at-home moms in an entire state, it’s all possible. You can also target users by age group, hobbies and interest, marital status, and so much more. This helps marketers consistently generate high-quality leads.
Compared to LinkedIn, Facebook lead generation is less costly. LinkedIn bidding starts at $2 for keywords that aren’t even competitive. To rank for the most competitive keywords, you need to pay as much as $5 per click. On Facebook, meanwhile, the minimum required daily budget is $1. As long as you’ve done your homework, created excellent ad copies, and targeted your audience right, you could end up generating plenty of leads without paying over the odds.
Build relationships for customer loyalty
Today’s consumers have access to enormous information, making it extremely difficult for businesses to convert them into loyal customers. It takes ongoing engagement and “heart-to-heart” moments to persuade them to stay with you. Facebook provides the means to interact with customers at a personal level, enabling marketers to build lasting relationships and earn customer loyalty.
Perfect for B2C
Facebook, unlike LinkedIn, doesn’t focus too much on an individual’s professional life. Yes, it allows users to mention their professional achievements. But, the primary focus is on social interactions. This approach works excellently for B2C marketers who are mostly just looking for customers and not their professional accomplishments. The casual nature of the platform allows marketers to try every trick in the book. And this, when done right, can generate B2C leads in their numbers.
Drawbacks of Facebook Lead Generation
There are two main challenges of using Facebook for lead generation;
Limited organic views
Facebook has in recent times made it impossible to generate organic traffic. Their updated algorithms are designed to ensure that only 8% of your fans see your branded messages.
It’s not suited for B2B
Being hyper-social, with photos and videos of users’ personal lives filling up the place and contests being the order of the day, Facebook just doesn’t cut it for professional engagements.
Making a Decision
To arrive at an informed decision, it’s important to first think about your goals. What are you aiming at? Who do you market to? Where do these people hang out?
The rule of thumb is to go with Facebook marketing for B2C and LinkedIn for B2B. Beyond that, consider the professionalism of your audience; if you’re marketing to a highly professional audience, such as engineers and lawyers, then LinkedIn would be the obvious choice. Otherwise, Facebook would be ideal.
Where possible, however, it helps to find a way to fit both channels into your campaign. This especially applies to B2B marketers. Using both platforms would allow you to reach all your targets in both their professional and social circles, increasing your chances of conversion.
Hero photo by Evangeline Shaw on Unsplash