B2B Marketing on Facebook: The Psychology of Likes

Andrea Fryrear on B2B Marketing Strategy

B2B marketing on Facebook requires not only an understanding on your own marketing messages, but also insight into how (and why!) people behave on the social giant.

Every Facebook user is cultivating their own online brand though Likes, status updates, and shared content. Your brand needs to be helping them to craft the kind of brand message that they’re striving for.

To take your Facebook marketing to the next level, consider how involvement with your brand will help hone someone’s online persona. In this pre-Like phase, before they have engaged with your Facebook presence by hitting the Like button, you must convincingly portray the emotional and psychological value of your brand.

Once you’ve earned the Like, you can then progress to providing ongoing value through the content and offers on your page. In this post-Like phase (the one most commonly addressed during discussions of Facebook marketing), you need to really deliver on the psychological and emotional promises you made in the pre-Like phase.

Why we Like to Like

Liking a brand or company page allows a Facebook user to exercise what psychologists call their voice:

“Voice is the opportunity you have to present your opinion in the decision-making process, before a final decision is made; as such, it can enhance your sense of satisfaction with your decision, as well as the process that led to it. Voice is instrumental because it helps you to increase control over the decision-making process, which in turn leads to a better outcome.”1

As marketers we need to recognize this strong desire for Facebook users to display their involvement in the buying cycle. Giving them the opportunity to Like a page, or a piece of content outside of Facebook, enables them to visibly comment in a tangible way in front of their online community.

Simply giving people the option to engage is valuable, because this opportunity “is interpreted as an expression of respect and appreciation, and thus creates positive feelings.” Obviously we hope that our brands will be associated with those positive feelings, leading to increased interaction and eventually a purchase.

This is often case: a recent study by YetiData and CollectiveBias revealed that customers who were Facebook fans bought 35% more than those who were not.2 And that lift is why marketers are on Facebook in the first place.

But obviously just giving people the option to exercise their voice isn’t enough. We have to clearly demonstrate how liking our brand will create positive repercussions for their personal Facebook brand.

Pre-Like Phase: How Will A Like Reflect on My Personal Brand?

Dr. Robi Ludwig, a psychotherapist in New York City, calls Facebook “the premier public relations platform.”3 Every status update, Like, and share acts like a press release, revealing and enhancing aspects of the online personality that they’re working to create.

So, when crafting their Facebook presence, B2B marketers need to consider how liking their page will help people in their public relations efforts on Facebook.

For example, this ad for the Dollar Shave Club regularly appears in my news feed:

dollar shave club 1

At the top is a list of my friends who have Liked this company (I left that part off the screenshot for obvious reasons). Most people consider this kind of exposure when they Like companies and brands on Facebook, and marketers should do the same.

If you ran an ad like this, would people want to be associated with the image and copy that you post? Would they look cutting edge, altruistic, sophisticated, materialistic, shallow?

These considerations are serious and vital, as “the like becomes a way to communicate their views and thoughts to other virtual users.”4  What views and thoughts does a Like for your brand communicate?

Showcase the Softer Side of Your Brand in Facebook Marketing

The way to convince Facebook users that a Like for your brand is worth it is not by fixating on your price point and value proposition. Instead you need to tailor your marketing message to what people are already primed to consume on Facebook: personal information and emotional content.

Make it clear how the values you share with your customers impact the way you do business, and make sure those who Like your page get the full benefit of being associated with your brand.

A Like is a way of showing support for your brand and what it stands for, and when someone clicks that button a notification appears in their newsfeed for all their friends to see.

This announcement reflects on their personal brand and reveals something about their personality, values, and lifestyle.

Consider what values guide your company, and which of these are likely to appeal most strongly to potential customers. Then craft your Facebook presence to highlight those.

Are you a fun, young software start-up? Play up this angle with photos and videos of your staff working and playing hard. People will enjoy being associated with an up-and-coming company with an innovative work environment.

Maybe you’re a more traditional financial company. The image of longevity, stability, and financial security can also create valuable PR vibes for Facebook users, so you can emphasize these traits through your written content and photos.

Above all, be authentic. Don’t stage events just for a Facebook photo opp; the internet is not kind to fakers.

After the Like, Keep Your Facebook Feed Valuable

Once you’ve gone beyond how a Like impacts their Facebook persona, you then need to keep your followers engaged with useful and interesting content that will encourage them to share with their community.

At the end of the day, people’s Facebook feeds are cluttered. If you’re boring or annoying, you’ll get booted. All the value alignment in the world won’t save the experience if your updates aren’t helpful.

Focus on content that coincides with the values that you highlighted to get the engagement in the first place. Stay lighthearted if you’re focusing on the work hard/play hard aspect of your company culture; if you made altruism your selling point, the feel-good updates should stay front and center.

Ask yourself these questions before you post:

  1. Is this post consistent with the values we promote in our Facebook presence?

  2. Will sharing this content reflect positively on our existing and potential Facebook fans?

  3. For non-fans, will this content intrigue them enough to visit our Facebook page or website?

Regardless of the content that you choose, make sure you incorporate visuals. Posts with images generate 53% more Likes and 128% higher CTR than those with only text.5

Of course you can sprinkle in promotional items every so often, as many people indicate that receiving regular updates and offers from brands is nearly as important as showing support for a brand when they choose to Like them.6

You should also take full advantage of the new call to action option that Facebook will be rolling out this year. Not all business pages have access to them yet, but once they’re available to you they’ll appear here:

dollar shave club 2

The available calls to action will be: Book Now, Contact Us, Use App, Play Game, Shop Now, Sign Up, and Watch Video. Since most business pages don’t have access to the CTA button yet the data on their effectiveness is anecdotal, but those companies that have tried them out are reporting good success.7


To effectively engage with users on Facebook, you need to consider their motivation behind engaging with brands in this space. They need to be confident that your company will bolster the online image they’re trying to cultivate, while simultaneously adding value through useful content and offers.

1. Psychology Today: Obsession With Facebook Likes Part 2
2. Engaged Facebook Fans Make for Higher Paying Customers
3. Facebook: The Premier Public Relations Platform
4. Psychology Today: Obsession With Facebook Likes Part 1)
5. B2B Lead Generation Facebook Secretes
6. Why Millennials Engage With Brands on Social Media
7. New Facebook Call to Action Button