LinkedIn is NOT Facebook
I will start by saying I am a big fan of both Facebook and LinkedIn. I am a fan of them for many different reasons. Many of my "friends" on Facebook, I have met through work. But it is important to understand some of the etiquette and differences between the two.
BUSINESS VERSUS CONSUMER
LinkedIn, is an essential tool for the business professional. Largely, that relates to the "Business to Business" professional. It is where sales people go to engage potential clients and the general public will us it to find a job. The business community will use it to fill job openings and to gather intelligence about their competition (at least, they should). Facebook, certainly has a business component (what are they worth? A billion dollars or something like that?). But you don't search for recruiters on there. But here is a good point, recruiters will certainly look for you. Specifically, they will look to see what you post, what language you use, and how your present yourself. If you think you can avoid detection by changing your last name or using a false name, you are fooling yourself. For both platforms, don't say or do anything that you are not willing to say in other environments.
PLAYGROUND VERSUS CLASSROOM
Facebook is my playground. I talk about comic books, baseball, swap funny pictures and jokes with friends and family and I share opinions on things that have almost nothing to do with work. LinkedIn is my classroom. That is where work gets done. I find contacts, I create relationships and I prepare for client meetings with extensive research.
RULE ONE: PROFILE PICTURE
On Facebook, it is perfectly fine to have a picture of you with your spouse or your kids or your pet or your car... You get the idea. On LinkedIn, you really should have a professional head shot that is updated about every five years. If you cannot afford one, make sure the photo is you in professional attire and is a clear close up of your face, so that may people can readily recognize you.
RULE TWO: POSTING CONTENT
On Facebook, you can post just about anything you like. But again, it is important to be smart. Topics like religion and politics are always open for heated debate, some inspiring, others not. Be aware of the consequences of your posts. On LinkedIn your posts should be relevant content to your purpose. If you are looking for a job, share content that shows you to be a subject matter expert in your field. If you are looking to engage potential customers, share information relevant to your field that can be of benefit to those clients.
RULE THREE: CONNECTING
On Facebook you can "friend" anyone you like and they choose to accept or not. On LinkedIn, if you attempt to connect with too many people that you don't already know, LinkedIn will shut down your profile.If you don't know someone and want to connect with them, ask a friend to introduce you. If you don't have a friend already connected, start with an email. There are many great websites like www.data.com that can give you access to professional emails to engage with other business professionals and start that next key relationship.
WHAT ARE YOUR BEST PRACTICES?
I wanted to keep it to three points today. What are some best practices you have for using both platforms? Please share your big wins and if you know of horror stories share them (just don't name names, we want to protect the innocent). Let the conversation begin! I look forward to hearing from you all.