November 1, 2014

Entrepreneurs Need Both Facebook and LinkedIn

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LinkedIn for managing your business interests and careerFor several years I have been using LinkedIn and getting good value from it. For anyone who is not familiar with LinkedIn, it’s a useful site where you can create a professional profile of yourself, almost like an online resume.

These days, few of us get a job for life. Instead, you have to take charge of your own career, and LinkedIn helps you do that. Many entrepreneurs today shift in and out of being employed and then owning our own businesses and back again (read the On Again Off Again Entrepreneur). It’s important to be open to career opportunities at all times and from all directions.

Some of the value I find from LinkedIn includes:

  • LinkedIn serves as your online resume. Through LinkedIn you can always be “looking” for a new career opportunity 24/7. Your credentials are logically laid out for the world to see in a profile at LinkedIn.
  • You can also go over to LinkedIn to get a quick, immediate snapshot of other peoples’ professional backgrounds. You can see where someone works currently, past work history, the businesses they own, and even the side businesses they run. If I am checking someone out, I immediately check to see if they are on LinkedIn because it is usually the most streamlined place to scan someone’s professional qualifications.
  • You can connect with other professionals at LinkedIn. You might wonder, what’s the benefit of connecting? For one thing, you can find service providers if you need them. For another, you can keep track of co-workers, past co-workers, and colleagues. For instance, if you need an email address for one of your connections, you can usually find it there. Some people also include an electronic business card (Vcard) containing other contact details. I have hundreds of contacts in my line of work and despite my best intentions, about 80% of the time I do not update my Outlook contacts file.
  • LinkedIn serves as the 21st-century equivalent of the recommendation letter (who uses those anymore, right)? Former employers, colleagues and co-workers can give recommendations.
  • LinkedIn notifies you when one of your connections updates his or her profile. That way you can keep up to date on their career moves. And you can keep other people up to speed on your career moves, too.
  • You can submit questions (and answer others’ questions) at LinkedIn. This is a way to share knowledge and in the process bring some added visibility to yourself, your business, and your expertise.

And there are a lot more benefits to LinkedIn. Some early adopters may have moved on from LinkedIn to the latest shiny object. However, I find that the mainstream entrepreneurs and professionals are very active in using LinkedIn. I regularly get new connection requests.

That tells me that other business people are finding LinkedIn a valuable and enduring tool. And that is the real test of whether a social networking site is worth your time. It’s not whether the site is the hot fad of the moment (only to cool off just as quickly when another shiny new site comes along). Rather, does it remain useful over the long term?

Facebook helps you connect with other entrepreneurs and business ownersEnter Facebook into the picture. In the past two months I have been receiving multiple requests to connect in Facebook. I finally took the time this past week to explore Facebook in detail and determine whether it is worth the time to learn it and use it.

I’ve decided Facebook definitely is worthwhile for business owners, entrepreneurs, and other business people.

Do I see Facebook as a replacement for LinkedIn?

No.

Facebook is a different kind of tool, but just as valuable in a different way:

  • Facebook is more about seeing the “whole” person — the personal side and some of the professional side, too. You can create a profile of yourself, but I have not seen any profiles that are nearly as detailed about work history as LinkedIn profiles. Also, LinkedIn has specific job-hunting tools that Facebook does not have.
  • Facebook, however, facilitates more interactivity with those in your network. For one thing, it allows you to upload photographs, something LinkedIn does not enable.
  • Facebook also allows you to add other content to your Facebook page, such as RSS feeds of your blog and Flickr photo streams. That way, others can see what your interests are and see more of what you do in your daily life.
  • It is much easier to communicate within Facebook with your network. Facebook shows a running stream of commentary and shows recent events like when you’ve added a new “friend.” You can leave short messages on other people’s pages.

I can see value in both Facebook and LinkedIn. Facebook seems suited for furthering relationships and for getting to know the complete you. LinkedIn is suited for maintaining an online resume of your professional credentials and for finding employers, employees, service providers, and those who can introduce you. My plan is to use both.

What do you think? Do you use or plan to use LinkedIn or Facebook? Will you continue to use them?

PS:
My LinkedIn profile here.

My Facebook page here.

44 Comments ▼
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Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

44 Reactions

  1. Anita, I too have been a member of linked in for a few years, and I like it a lot. it is easy to use, and very search engine freindly.
    There is another one that is very enjoyable to use,, and it, too, gets ranked high on the search engines.
    It is called:
    Fast Pitch.
    I encourage your readers to take a look at their site, http://www.fastpitchnetworking.com
    I have met some cool folks on it!
    Thanx for the post!
    Joel Libava AKA Franpro

  2. We (all those 25 and under) have been on facebook for years now and are just discovering LinkedIn! I’m a big fan of both!

  3. Hello Anita, I found your article very interesting. I have been a LinkedIn user for many years and just about a month ago I visited Facebook.

    I agree with you on today’s importance of LinkedIn in the business world, I however still struggle with the long term value of Facebook, but you gave it an interesting twist on the facebook profile being a more wholistic one.

    There is however, an opportunity on a product like LinkedIn, but the great networking attributes of Facebook.

    food for thought.

  4. Anita:

    Giovanni Rodriguez has a fun post on all of Silicon Valley moving to Facebook over the July 4th weekend. It is at: http://hubbub.typepad.com/blog/2007/07/ad-hoc-nation-h.html

    I too recently joined Facebook, to both the amusement and horror of my teenage children.

    In terms of real life use, the Society for New Communications Research Facebook site is quite active and useful.

    Steve

  5. Anita, it must be the way the universe moves — i’ve heard this from tons of LinkedIn users lately. I’ve been working on a post for my own blog on advanced tactics for LinkedIn to help the new user get value right away.

    Even though both are very intuitive, many of the newbies i know struggle with “what do i do with this now that i’ve posted my profile? Do i just post and wait?” I think you would agree that LinkedIn is most powerful when you are proactive and use it to network appropriately. I’m a big fan of the InMail feature and purchase them when needed. I also like to push friends to use the Advanced Search tool and click the OpenLink box because you can then connect to other heavy users.

    The biggest challenge i’ve had with any of these tools is the people who don’t “get it” and screen/filter all of the introduction requests. Part of the beauty of LinkedIn is found through connecting with people you don’t know, but may who be useful to some aspect of your professional life. If you are not going to help people when they ask for an intro, then why are you here on LinkedIn? My benchmark has become less than 50 contacts in someone’s network and they very likely are not going to be helpful. That is not totally fair or statistically tested, but i’ve found the more connections someone has, the more likely they understand how it all works and why it can be meaningful to connect others to those in your network, even when you don’t totally know why or how that connection will be meaningful.

    More than two cents, but what i’ve seen. Thanks for an awesome resource site.
    TJ McCue
    Q4 Sales

  6. I think an important aspect of Facebook involvement for entrepreneurs who are more in tune with LinkedIn is to
    1 – understand “the other side” of social networking – that is the more playful side…
    2 – see opportunities related to the Apps framework for your specific products/services (which is what we study at our blog at http://apprap.blogspot.com), as it’s a quick way to reach millions.
    3 – Watch how other entrepreneurs use the facebook platform as a launching pad.

  7. For those entrepreneurs on LinkedIn, you can join the OnStartups LinkedIn group (great way to connect with others interested in startups).

    Here’s the link:

    https://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/2877/30950504D0B7/

  8. I was surfing the web yesterday and I fund this great Global Entrepreneurs Social Networking site http://www.biztoo.com It very well layout and already has Entrepreneurs for all over the world…

    Check it out!

    http://www.biztoo.com

  9. I have tried several “networks for professionals” and none of them have any professionals there exept for linkedin. The problem with linkedin is its Bring your own address book. If you want to meet anyone new, you have to pay or be introduced through someone you both know. I found a newer site that only features professionals. My profile is here: http://www.congoo.com/user/publicprofile?profile_id=1665525

  10. Zoodango is another social networking service worth checking out. Though it was launched only recently, Zoodango has the perfect balance of promoting professional networking (also by encouraging face-to-face meetings) but as well as including info about personal life (photos, blogs, etc.). It’s a good mixture between the strictly professional theme of LinkedIn and the personal side capture by Facebook.

  11. I’d pretty much agree with this assessment. For today. Who knows what tools and trends will be here tomorrow?

    LinkedIn and VirtualCV are both great for displaying your skills and connections. Facebook is better for actually connecting with people or keeping up to date with geographically distant contacts. And, of course, the rounded aspect is fine, if you want to share your photos with business contacts. I generally don’t though. It’s enough to be on Facebook, personal stuff is restricted to friends on there.

    And, as with all networking sites, I’d recommend you keep it closed except to contacts. Only display contact information to the world, not everything.

  12. This is great to use to network for business or as an interest. I passed a course in Small Business Planning and informally study and related subjects.

    Thank you Ms Anita Campbell

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