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Facebook versus LinkedIn for the Professional

I often have entrepreneurs and small business owners ask me, “What is the difference in Facebook and LinkedIn? Which one do I need to concentrate on?” My response has always been, “That depends on what you are trying to achieve.”  In this day and age when new social media applications and platforms are being launched nearly daily, it is important to understand which ones professionals can best utilize to accomplish their goals. Facebook is crucial for B2C interaction and LinkedIn is crucial for B2B connecting.

Let’s start with the basics. Facebook is a social media platform that allows you to connect and share with anyone. There is no criterion for this connection beyond mutual consent. With 955 million monthly users and 552 million of them logging in daily (Source: Facebook Securities and Exchange Commission filing), it is safe to say that nearly everyone you know is on Facebook.  That is a good thing because, for instance, it enables you to share pictures of your Mom’s birthday party with relatives that are scattered around the country that couldn’t make it. It enables you to reunite with old classmates between reunions. It enables you to build friendships with acquaintances, business or otherwise, without having to spend time or money. In other words – it enables you to be more social.

So how does Facebook fit into your professional life? Very carefully.  Remember that if you list your employer on your profile, you are representing that company, and posting something controversial to your personal Facebook account can cause conflict in the work place. You do have freedom of speech, but common sense is strongly encouraged. My best advice is this:  if you wouldn’t want your family members to see what you post, do NOT put it online. Period.

The very 552 million daily users that make you rethink every keystroke are the very reason most companies should have a presence on Facebook. It is THE place that most people visit daily. As a business trying to reach those consumers, you need to be there as well. Picture it as a virtual neighborhood gathering. Users communicate with others via posting pictures, expressing their thoughts and voicing their opinions.  When they “like” your company page, it signals to their friends that they approve of your organization.  This free endorsement is not something most companies can afford not to capitalize on.

So where does LinkedIn fit into the picture? LinkedIn has a much more focused objective. It is about connecting the professional with other professionals and companies that share their interest.  It is about professional networking.  It is about showcasing your abilities and accomplishments.  You can and should establish yourself as an expert in your field, explore opportunities, and connect with colleagues.  Build your company page. Where Facebook is the place you want to use caution when referencing your place of employment, LinkedIn is the place you want to highlight it.

To sum it up, Facebook is a global platform to socialize and LinkedIn is a global platform to network. The chart below should help with the comparisons.

If you want more in-depth information regarding social media, the ASPE, Inc. Social Media Boot Camp is a good place to start. Also, watch this blog for further post as we break down each site and how you can utilize it to obtain the utmost experience.

About the author:
Shelli Dallacqua is the Founder and President of Shelten Media, LLC. She is a member of the NC State Alumni Association and is a keynote speaker on the topics of social media marketing and reputation management. Connect with Shelli via Twitter by following @ShelliDallacqua, on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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