Facebook (3)

The idea that Facebook is dead as a B2B marketing tool looks to have been quashed by new research which suggests one in four decision makers checks a company's Facebook page before making a purchase.

A joint report by Hotwire and Vanson Bourne, which looks at where senior decision makers search for information, found that 24% say Facebook is their preferred social channel of choice when seeking information on a purchasing decision, ranking it ahead of Twitter and LinkedIn.

The survey of 1,000 business decision makers on their habits, preferred channels and the sources of information that influence their purchasing decisions, reveals Facebook is more frequently used when making purchasing decisions than LinkedIn, which is cited as their preferred channel by just 17% of decision makers and far ahead of Twitter, which was the primary source of information for just 6% of decision makers.

Despite this preference for Facebook as a source of information, nearly a third (30%) of marketers do not plan to use Facebook in their own B2B marketing – highlighting the gulf between the way decision makers use social media themselves and how they think their peers use it.

The report reinforces the importance of social media as a source of information for decision makers. The vast majority (87%) of decision makers cite traditional media sources and social media as being equally important as sources of information and as reference points for purchasing decisions.

John Brown, Group head of engagement at Hotwire, said: “It’s time to put to bed the myth of some channels only being suitable for B2B comms and others for B2C. Social media has eroded these divides and created an environment where what matters is how compelling the story is, not where decision makers see the story.

“We need to stop making assumptions about what our audience want and allow research and insight to guide how we create multichannel campaigns. B2B businesses who ignore channels because they view them as only being for consumer are in for a rude shock when they realise no one cares about the channels they’ve lovingly invested in.”

You can find the full report here.