Sorry if you were looking for a more definitive answer, but the real issue is that Facebook – as a company – is moving in a new direction and not giving the rest of us a roadmap. Once they went public, they, understandably, felt pressure to monetize their social media platform more aggressively. Although the vast majority of your customers and prospects are on Facebook and you can still find ways to get them to LIKE your page, the likelihood that they will actually see your posts without you ponying up some cash lessens every day.
Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is still a great place to be. In January 2013, a reported 167 Million Americans were on Facebook and a 2011 Nielsen study showed that Americans use Facebook an average of 7 hours 46 minutes per month. You need to be where your audience is and Facebook is especially effective if you post on a regular schedule, use a mix of text and images, and focus more on “engaging” rather than “selling.” However, these days, using Facebook’s Promoted Post features is the only way to ensure that
your fans will see your posts.
The good news is that Promoted Posts are fairly inexpensive and do not look like traditional online ads. They do not sit in the right hand margins with the Sponsored Ads; they show up in your fans’ News Feeds along with the posts from their friends. There is a small label identifying them as Promoted Posts but, if you have created a good post with an engaging image, that label should not be deterrence.
Promoted Posts ensure that your posts gets to all of your fans, which is increasingly more difficult since Facebook gives a much higher priority these days to putting posts from friends – not company pages – in the News Feed. For a little more money, a Promoted Post can also go to the friends of your fans getting around the need to rely on your fans to actively share your posts with their friends.
The cost of Promoted Posts varies by the number of fans that you have – the more fans and more friends of fans, the higher the costs. However, $10 - $35 seems to be the range for pages with a few hundred LIKES. Promoting a post per week is not a big budget item and the effectiveness can easily be measured with Facebook’s online reports.
My suggestion: Put aside $250 and give Promoted Posts a try. See if you get more LIKES than usual; see if you get more click-throughs on links you place in your Promoted Post.
So the real answer to “Is Facebook Really Effective for B2B Businesses?” is “Yes, if you budget for Promoted Posts a few times per month.”