Does Your Target Market Care About Facebook?

Are you assuming that people don't like to mix business and pleasure on Facebook? Well, you're probably wrong! Here's how to find out.

Do you think nobody in your target market is on Facebook? Maybe, you’re laboring under the delusion that they are … but that they don’t want to engage with your company in a “personal” environment. As a B2B social media marketer, I’ve gone back and forth on this. There have been times when I’ve thought that B2B marketing and Facebook go together about as well as vodka and milk. Then, I swing the other way and realize that there is a real business opportunity to engage business people in their online “homes.” Instead of guessing, it’s time to take a (slightly) more scientific approach.

I wrote a piece for IR magazine‘s blog a few weeks ago, “Who ‘likes’ investor relations on Facebook?” It was a short piece, explaining to the investor relations market how many people in their community go so far as to “like” investor relations on Facebook (the answer is 420 people in the United States, with a handful in Europe). It was a higher number than I expected, frankly. I didn’t take this as a bad sign, largely because of the traffic to IR magazine‘s Facebook page, which suggests it isn’t constrained by the number of people who list the profession as an interest in their profiles.

This got me thinking … how would it work for other industries?

Instead of monkeying around with fields that are more likely to attract interest on Facebook, I decided to go straight to the worst. I spent a few years working in the reinsurance industry, so I decided to see if anyone lists it as a “like” or an interest in Facebook’s advertising tool. This time around, the results were far worse than I expected.

Zero. Nada. Zilch.

Nobody likes reinsurance on Facebook. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t the sort of field that gets people dancing in the streets, but it is pretty interesting, and I enjoyed my time in it. I figured at least a few hundred people would have come through, but the absence of any shows the contrary. In fact, it also makes me face the reality that I’m part of the reason it’s zero.

So, if you were in the reinsurance industry (imagine with me, for a moment, even if it is difficult), would you set up a Facebook page for your company? Maybe commit some capital for an ad buy?

I get the sense that you’d probably skip this platform. But, it pays to look a layer deeper – this is something you can use in any industry. If the profession or market doesn’t show up in your “like” search, move further down the screen to the “Education & Work” field. Take a look at the companies in your target market.

Sticking with the reinsurance example, I looked up Swiss Re and found 360 people on Facebook in the United States alone. Adding Munich Re, again in the United States, brought in another 200 people. Including the United Kingdom in the search brought it to 680. And, that doesn’t even include insurance companies with reinsurance divisions or intermediaries.

Now, it’s time for the moral of the story: do your homework. For real. Instead of making assumptions about your target market, get into the weeds. Once you’re there, get even dirtier. Think broadly, from the perspective that Facebook is an appropriate marketing platform for your company. Then, try to disprove it. You’ll wind up with an opportunity you never knew you had.