Which is best for your small business – Linkedin or Facebook?


This is a guest post from Bill Zipp

It’s a question I’m often asked by my clients as we’re discussing social media, “What’s better: Facebook or Linkedin?” Perhaps you’ve pondered the answer to that question as well. Here’s some food for thought.

As of this writing Facebook has 400 million active users and 50% of them log in any given day. More than 1.5 million local businesses have active fan pages on Facebook and 20 million people become fans of these pages each day. Business fan pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans according to Facebook’s self-published demographics.

LinkedIn, by comparison, claims to have the world’s largest audience of affluent, influential professionals. As of this writing it has 55 million users with an average annual income of $107,000. Over 52% of Linkedin’s users would be considered business decision-makers according to Linkedin’s self-published demographics.

Both platforms have their adherents. Clara Shih, author of The Facebook Era, advocates strongly for a relational sales model via the Facebook platform in her recent blog post, Using Facebook to Grow Your Business. Lewis Howes, author of LinkedWorking, is a vocal advocate of Linkedin in this entertaining video, 8 Reasons Chris Brogan (And You) Should Stay on Linkedin.

Which is better for YOUR business?

Both platforms allow you to create a personal profile and update your status on a regular basis. Both have a robust events feature and apps that allow blog and Twitter feeds. Facebook and Linkedin both have targeted advertising options and you can form groups in both to build community and establish your authority. Of course, both are viral in nature. What you post on your page is posted on the pages of everyone who is connected to you.

If you have a product or service that’s primary sold in a B2C context (business-to-consumer) or if you are a non-profit organization, Facebook is probably your best option. You can build fan pages with an unlimited number of members and secure a customized URL for that page. You can upload photos, publish PDF documents, customize your tabs, and utilize thousands of apps (as of this writing over 75,000), from streaming video to sweepstakes contests. Don’t make the mistake, however, of setting up your business on a personal Facebook page. Here’s a clear and concise explanation of the differences between fan pages and personal pages by the Social Media Hound.

Most of the people on Facebook are NOT business people (or aren’t there to conduct business), so be careful. The vibe is very much about connecting with family and friends. For a great example how to use a Facebook fans page to build your business, check out one of my clients’ fan page The Retreat Salon and Day Spa.

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