Making sense of the Big 3 – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – Social Media for the Confused

Social Media Soup

Confused by the difference between Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn?

If you think all 3 are basically the same and spend most of your time on Facebook, or

If you have all 3 of your accounts connected to share every post equally no matter where you originate, or

If your only goal is just to get the most followers or connections

…THEN YOU DON’T GET IT.  Let’s break them down…

Twitter:

Twitter is marketing yourself outside of your established spheres of influence, helping people in your area of expertise, and engaging with people you don’t know – yet.

This is real-time posting at its best. You are literally trying to catch hundreds or thousands of tweeters attention as much as you possibly can without hogging the timeline or spamming yourself to everyone.

So how should you approach Twitter? 

Share remarkable quotes less frequently – once a day at best. Quotes are way overdone – be selective with quotes, and comment per your industry in terms of their relevance.

Don’t inundate the timeline with links – twitter is meant for speed, quick glances at what’s happening now. If you must share a link, give it a clear and descriptive headline to avoid wasting followers time on irrelevant (to them) material.

Stick to your bio’s directive.  Don’t wander all over the place. Followers want to know what to expect from you, don’t confuse or bore them.

Nobody cares that you’re having coffee at your favorite bistro. Save that for Foursquare or Facebook.

Actually read and comment on others’ tweets. If you are just scheduling posts and ignoring others’ tweets, tweeters pick up on that and they’ll start quitting your feed. Check out Twitcleaner.com. Not only can you clean your follower stream, but they’ll rate your Twitter reputation for you. Find out how you rate in the eyes of your followers – TODAY! (after you finish reading my blog post, of course!)

Facebook:

Facebook is talking to friends, old friends and family, and sharing what’s important to you.

OMG! Your BFF from high school? Your cousin in Oshkosh? Your friends and neighbors? That’s your Facebook audience. This is where there really aren’t any rules. Except –  “don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.” Or that you wouldn’t want your employer or business associates to see. PEOPLE DO look up your profiles when they meet you and consider getting to know you – personally or professionally. Why would you want to sabotage your reputation or future with a stupid, ill-thought-out post?!

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn is a realm of professional peer support, staying Front and Center in your professional loop, and enhancing your professional reputation through discussions and interaction.

LinkedIn is so underused! You’re NUMBER ONE PRIORITY IS TO COMPLETE YOUR PROFILE!  Anyone who is the least bit business savvy is going to check out your profile on LinkedIn if they are thinking of doing business with you. Better to not be on LinkedIn at all, than not have a complete profile!!! If you don’t know where to start, look at other people’s profiles who are in the same profession or your business associates to give you ideas to get started.

Once you have a COMPLETE LinkedIn profile…

(Again) pay attention to, read, comment and like your connections’ updates.

Join groups relevant to your profession and interests.

Actually participate in the group discussions. Don’t spread yourself too thin. It’s ok to lurk on some of them, but focus on participating in the few groups that with your discussions or comments you can really show your expertise.

Visit Discssion Groups regularly and answer some questions or pose your own. You can get business this way.

Follow companies – learn what’s buzzing in their world and you can see whether you might want to pursue working there – or learn more about what your competition is up to!

Recommend others – but only if you sincerely can. Politely decline if you truly have not witnessed their work. You have to protect your own reputation and any professional connection should respect that.

CONNECT with others – it is rare that there should be a reason not to.

I can’t list all the perks of LinkedIn here – you really need to search the site and browse the support page to find what will work for you, but it is a hefty ROI in visibility potential.

Make sense? Now go for it! Start using each one wisely and you’ll reap the rewards!

2014 Update: I would be painfully remiss not to discuss Google+ in this post, but then the title would have to change. At the time of this post, G+ had just cut its baby teeth. It has grown exponentially and should not be ignored. Let me recommend Google Plus – Hot or Not for Small Business