When to use LinkedIn and when to use Facebook for your Business and Networking.
The accepted view
I’ve seen a lot on here this week about the LinkedIn vs. Facebook posting etiquette debate. The general consensus being that LinkedIn is for anything business related and Facebook is the place for personal or more frivolous content.
While I would broadly agree that LinkedIn is not the right platform for cutesy memes, photos of your lunch or videos of cats soothing fractious babies, I take issue with the idea that Facebook is purely for social use and out of bounds for business.
I’m not talking about direct Facebook advertising - those little re-marketing or sponsored ad rectangles down the righthand side of the screen. I’d actually argue that Facebook can be a good platform for business in far subtler ways.
Obviously the place for a business to start is to have a Facebook Page. A lot of businesses, especially B2B companies, feel that Facebook has nothing to offer them, and I guess if, for example, you’re supplying shelving to department stores and supermarkets, or similar, having a company presence of Facebook might not be the best use of your time.
However, for any retailers, service industries, food and hospitality brands, arts and entertainment individuals and companies - or basically anyone who has an established, or potential audience comprised of individual human beings, having your brand on Facebook is essential.
Based on number of users it is, let us not forget, Facebook is the third largest ‘country’ in the world.
So what do you do with your page once you have it?
- Make it representative of your brand in style and content, so that your audience knows it has come to the right place
- Keep content fresh. There is nothing worse than coming to a Facebook page and seeing that the most recent post is a year out of date.
- Engage, engage, engage. That means responding to comments and posts to your page, replying swiftly to messages, commenting on other company pages to create a sense of community, extend your reach and build your network.
- Be visual - post photos and videos to keep the page looking exciting and alive.
- Engage some more - have competitions on your page to allow you really interact with audience.
- …and, as always, be human. Have a little humour now and then. Be relatable - the kind of brand your target audience can identify with.
There is no excuse for not making your Facebook page compelling and relevant given that Facebook has created the Pages Manager App and Adverts Manager App. They are far from perfect, but they do allow you to stay in control of your page while on the move…and they are being refined and updated all the time.
There is even the new Facebook Live, that allows you to broadcast live from your page. How much more immediately engaged with your audience could you be?
...but back to the LinkedIn = business vs. Facebook = personal debate…
I realise that the core of the discussion is about what you put on your own timeline / profile, rather than how you might use your company page, and I am aware this is a topic that gives rise to strong opinions, but I don't think a little push for your company on your personal Facebook timeline is necessarily a social faux pas.
We all have to make a living, and we all occasionally need a little help from our friends. The key word there being 'occasionally'. Letting Facebook friends know about a new product or service, or about something you may have achieved within your industry, as long as it isn't too often, is absolutely fine, in my opinion.
The Golden Rule
Just be mindful of your message, whichever social media platform you happen to be on, and take care not to try the patience of your audience. Getting this right can really benefit your business or brand, getting it wrong can be disastrous.