Facebook vs LinkedIn vs Twitter: which one is better for business?


Alice

Each one of these social networking sites has its own merits when it comes to business use. They are all individual, have a totally different target audience, and have their own uses within the corporate world.

Facebook: this is an excellent space to promote your brand awareness. In spite of its teenage reputation, it does have the advantage of a being one of the largest sites on the internet, thus giving you a huge potential audience. Springing off the profile page, you can take advantage of the business ‘fan’ pages to provide a visual and interactive medium designed to converse with a local B2C base, using group interaction to give you feedback and more information to further your Facebook functions. Oh yes, you can advertise your business or your product with impunity, and you can feed your blog and Twitter stream to your profile and fanpage to enhance your social networking progress.

LinkedIn: this is a much more serious and professional social networking site, specially designed for business use. Your profile acts like your online CV, providing a trustworthy representation of your working life as you progress through your career. It is not a place to promote your business’s corporate brand, more of somewhere to promote you, a chance to show off your skills and expertise (through the Answers section) and interact with like-minded people in the Groups, where you can start or join in discussions, and paste in links to your blog posts as well. Any corporate activity is purely B2B, with slow activity designed to get leads, keep in touch with colleagues and customers, grow your contact base, and highlight your skills to potential employers or headhunters. You can enhance your profile with appropriate keywords, and there is much less chance of being bothered by spam.

Twitter: this is a hard place to target for business, because it has such a short shelf life. Dealing with real-time networking, Twitter is compiled of quick updates that thrive purely on viral-type networking, sharing ideas and practices that can be linked to elsewhere for more detail, generating a lot of traffic to websites, blogs and other social websites. Its contents restrictions mean you have to be very concise and relevant – long-winded ramblings are not tolerated here, as also are selling and promoting. It is ideal for research purposes, breaking news, trend watching and, most of all, interacting with as many people as you can. The main purpose is to encourage, educate and entertain many followers, promote your own expertise and news by standing out over all the ‘noise’, and above all to have fun!

My verdict? Use them all at the same time, as long as you are aware of each personality, the kind of customer that will be using them, the different audiences that pass through and the varied facilities that are on offer – and increased usage will enhance your online visibility no-end!

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5 Responses

  1. So true you need to work on all 3 but if you get the mix right social networking does work.

  2. Great post, Alice!

    In an ideal world, it would be great to use all three — but as a sole trader, I admit I’m struggling to make the MOST of all three. If I were to start out again, I’d probably pick one that resonated with both me and my target audience and work on optimising that social network, then later perhaps migrating to another if time allowed (for time is the most expensive ‘commodity’ for a freelancer or sole trader). ;0)

  3. I probably spend too much of my ‘social media time’ on Twitter (it can be unnervingly addictive!)! I guess at the moment, it’s 40% Twitter, 30% Facebook and 30% LinkedIn. I didn’t intend for that to happen; it just kind of developed that way. Of course, I would approach it entirely differently if I were to start out again.

    What about you — which takes up most of your time?

    • For me it is mainly blogging, of course. I also spend time tweeting and answering questions on LinkedIn and its group discussions. I’m sorry to say Facebook comes a poor third, though I really ought to do more.

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