Richard Warner | Marketing
Just look at the numbers: Facebook has 600 million users and LinkedIn has 100 million. Talk about an ocean of opportunity. If you’re in business development or brand building (personal or otherwise), you should be spending quality time with these two websites every day.
Manage them right and there’s a whole lot of relationship-building potential at your fingertips.
Manage them wrong and you’ll damage your brand. I’m always surprised at how many people don’t understand how these two platforms differ.
Facebook is personal. Information about your latest business win or new product rollout don’t belong on Facebook.
Facebook is where you show the happy people who make it such a great place to work. It’s where you showcase your swell new office space. Facebook is where you post photos of the office’s Friday at 5:00 party.
Your Facebook business account is where you post fun stuff that’s a diversion from the workday or philosophical advice on becoming a better person. Think photos, viral videos and articles with bullet points.
But don’t get too personal. Let’s say you’re a proud parent. Do your business contacts really need to see Junior making his first poopie?
Maybe you’re just back from a beach vacation. I mean, really…do you want that new client to see what you look like in a bathing suit? They’ll have to get past the mental image of you lying naked on the sand the next time they see you in a suit. Not good.
And perhaps you’re a rabid conservative or a passionate liberal. Great: this is America. Play to your base. Sound off! But 50% of your business network is going to have a different point of view and you’re not going to convince any of them to come around to yours. You will, however, build an unnecessary wall between you and them.
While Facebook postings are easy, you should limit the number of your posts to no more than a couple a day (at most) and only then when you have something interesting to say.
I do post the occasional check-in when I’m out and about, but only if it’s someplace interesting or an impressive client’s office that I want people in my network to see. No one cares that I’m at Steak ‘N Shake.
Yes, there’s a Facebook place for poopies and political passion. Create a second Facebook account for that personal stuff. Your family and friends will enjoy it. But for business relationships, build your brand by focusing on professional messages.
So that’s Facebook. LinkedIn, of course, is all B2B. Nobody posts poopie pictures on LinkedIn, but there are ways to get more out of LinkedIn that you might realize.
Here, again, it’s about brand building and relevant information. It’s OK to post an occasional client win or project launch on LinkedIn. Your friends will toast your accomplishment and your competitors will gnarl.
But LinkedIn is a treasure for one-on-one networking even more than shameless promotion.
I say it’s worth the $50 a month for a small to medium business owner to subscribe to the Business Plus, the LinkedIn level that allows you to send private messages to people outside your network in hopes of making a connection.
Here’s where you tailor a short message that directly relates to the recipient — not “My company is very good at ____,” but rather, “I notice your company just started getting into widgits. For about six months now, we’ve been making a new kind of widget for BigCompany and they’ve already reduced their cost by 15%. Would you be interested in some of the specifics?”
Do the messaging right and you’ll get a reasonable response rate: not 100%, but realistically one in three. Update your profile from time to time. People notice it.
Inviting someone new to join your network? Take the time to craft the invitation. Say something personal and unique that’s relevant to the person. Never use the canned LinkedIn “welcome” message.
As for LinkedIn posts, make them relevant. Limit the number of wry observations about traffic and American Idol. Focus instead on promoting your blog posts (which are useful, I’m sure!) or industry articles that relate to people or process.
An occasional post linking to a cool viral video is fine. The goal is for your postings to have value every time. The brand you’re building on Facebook and LinkedIn is relevance. When readers see your name, they need to instinctively know they need to pay attention.