There is a tendency for people to refer to social media as if it was a single entity. In fact, different social media platforms perform very different functions, and appeal to different audiences.
Because it is a social media platform, people approach LinkedIn the wrong way, confusing it with Facebook. While both provide inbound marketing opportunities, confusing the two poses a risk and can result in a failure to fully engage with target audiences.
Where Does Your Audience Gather?
“Audiences have different approaches and uses for specific social networks. Whereas Facebook is primarily social, like hanging out with your friends online, LinkedIn is far more slanted towards business”
Looking strictly at the numbers, Facebook has more users, but LinkedIn is much more of a specialist platform. It was originally established primarily for recruiters and job seekers to connect, and though it has moved far beyond this, it still is firmly rooted in business.
“With LinkedIn, you can make business contacts, develop leads and engage with prospects,” Nigel explains. “People tend to go to LinkedIn for something specific, while Facebook communication tends to be more casual.”
Groups and Businesses
Despite being primarily a social platform for individuals, Facebook is an avenue for businesses to connect with customers, with business accounts offering flexibility for B2C marketers to engage with target audiences.
However, LinkedIn’s opportunity for personal engagement, and its promotion of groups means its members can interact in a very targeted, sector-specific environment.
“Posting pictures of your cat on LinkedIn is hardly appropriate, but at the same time you can bring in a lighter, more personalised approach to present a broader picture of yourself and your business. It’s about your audience and the tone you take”
“LinkedIn enables people to connect with others in business and find online synergies that can develop into useful, mutually beneficial business relationships,” explains Nigel. “And it is still a very useful platform for job seekers and recruiters.”
Alongside its networking capabilities, LinkedIn is a highly effective publishing platform, which is invaluable in giving individuals the opportunity to build their profile as experts.
“LinkedIn’s business-oriented nature gives you the scope to build your personal brand, so that you approach others much more as peers than customers”
“Appropriateness is key,” Nigel advises. “Post things of some value and relevance to others that reflect on you and your business. In this context, LinkedIn’s versatility makes it a B2B content marketing platform and a business development tool.”
“Yes, LinkedIn is democratic in that you can do it all yourself but if you do get involved, do it in the right way for your business,” concludes Nigel.
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