Is there a place for B2B brands on Facebook?
The demographics of Facebook are rapidly evolving, and some of the fastest growing segments are in unexpected areas. For example, Hewlett-Packard's fastest growing community on Facebook is for retired employees. As demographics change, there will be more and more opportunity for B2B brands to develop a presence on Facebook. For the moment, however, those pioneering B2B brands typically have a consumer division. Staples is an example of this. Boca Bearing Co. is another. Its page includes a Twitter feed, videos featuring educational content about bearings, a product catalog with quick links to purchase from the company's site, as well as links to other social content.
In many respects, Boca Bearings has created a hub on Facebook that extends its website onto the platform and aggregates its social efforts. This does offer some value to the community simply by bringing content closer; however, future development might include platform-exclusive promotions or competitions to drive deeper community engagement.
Before pursuing these opportunities, however, brands should consider how they are segmenting their communities. In this case, Boca Bearing is actually serving an "RC Hobbies" community, a "Recreation" community, and its B2B community. Facebook might be a great place to showcase user-generated video content or host a competition based on that content for each one of these communities. But does it make sense to have them all on the same page? There is definitely a small but growing opportunity for B2B brands on Facebook, but they need to focus carefully on these kinds of questions in order to be successful.