Skip to main content

Facebook vs. LinkedIn: 5 Key Differences In Etiquette


Increasingly I observe that people are using Facebook in addition to LinkedIn for professional networking, albeit of a subtler kind. It's the natural thing to do, as well as the strategic one, for the reasons outlined here.

If you want to boost your use of Facebook for professional branding, here are some basic cultural differences between the two platforms to keep in mind.

1. Trust: The universal currency of social media is trust. On Facebook, it's trust that you're a decent and honest person - a mensch. On LinkedIn, it's trust that you know what you are talking about, as measured by your level of stature and/or wealth. If you're a mensch as well, that's a bonus. This distinction alone is reason to focus your efforts increasingly on Facebook-based networking, because people prefer to do business with those they feel positively about. Generally speaking, being a good person enhances the likelihood of this happening.
2. Status: Facebook favors the humble person striving to be more than their challenging circumstances would dictate. LinkedIn favors the person, humble or not, who has amassed an impressive portfolio of professional accomplishments. Again, this is a reason to focus your efforts more on Facebook than on LinkedIn, because anyone can meet the first criteria versus few can truly own the second.
3. Emotion: On Facebook, it's a positive thing to share your passion for causes you care about. LinkedIn favors dispassionate discussions of topics related to professional expertise. Where passion is "allowed" it's normally about improving some facet of the workplace. One is always conscious on LinkedIn that a boss, potential boss, or partner could be watching. Even the most stilted and self-conscious person can manage some level of emotion on Facebook, because it can be accomplished through posting or sharing a photo or other graphic that expresses an emotion that one agrees with. Yet a third reason to migrate toward FB.
4. Expansiveness: Facebook is about displaying one's dimensionality as a human being. Therefore, multiple kinds of sharing are encouraged. Unless they're promoting a product, service, or cause, people who focus only on one thing are seen as a bit obsessive. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is about brand specialization and focusing on a single area of expertise is a positive. Unless you are a one-note pony, a fourth reason why Facebook suits most regular people.
5. Boundaries: Facebook is about being the same person at all times. That is the source of your authenticity - that you don't "put on a face" depending on which environment you're in. As a practical matter this means mixing the personal and the professional. LinkedIn is about keeping the two worlds separate, and excessive sharing of personal matters is frowned upon just as it is in the workplace. As a practical matter, life and work commingle frequently, so Facebook wins out on this count as well.
__
Photo by Andrea Costa Creative via Flickr (Creative Commons). All opinions are the author's own.

Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between "brand positioning," "brand mantra," and "brand tagline?"

Brand positioning statement: This is a 1–2 sentence description of what makes the brand different from its competitors (or different in its space), and compelling. Typically the positioning combines elements of the conceptual (e.g., “innovative design,” something that would be in your imagination) with the literal and physical (e.g., “the outside of the car is made of the thinnest, strongest metal on earth”). The audience for this statement is internal. It’s intended to get everybody on the same page before going out with any communication products.Brand mantra: This is a very short phrase that is used predominantly by people inside the organization, but also by those outside it, in order to understand the “essence” or the “soul” of the brand and to sell it to employees. An example would be Google’s “Don’t be evil.” You wouldn’t really see it in an ad, but you might see it mentioned or discussed in an article about the company intended to represent it to investors, influencers, etc.Br…

Nitro Cold Brew and the Oncoming Crash of Starbucks

A long time ago (January 7, 2008), the Wall Street Journal ran an article about McDonald's competing against Starbucks.
At the time the issue was that the former planned to pit its own deluxe coffees head to head with the latter.
At the time I wrote that while Starbucks could be confident in its brand-loyal consumers, the company, my personal favorite brand of all time,  "...needs to see this as a major warning signal. As I have said before, it is time to reinvent the brand — now.  "Starbucks should consider killing its own brand and resurrecting it as something even better — the ultimate, uncopyable 'third space' that is suited for the way we live now.  "There is no growth left for Starbucks as it stands anymore — it has saturated the market. It is time to do something daring, different, and better — astounding and delighting the millions (billions?) of dedicated Starbucks fans out there who are rooting for the brand to survive and succeed." Today as …

Should I Add My Beer-Focused Instagram Account To My LinkedIn profile?

This is my response to a question originally posed on Quora.

The answer, like lawyers tend to say, is: “It depends.”

Not knowing what you do for a living, let’s assume that your LinkedIn profile is typical, meaning that it reflects the image of a corporate professional.

Would your boss, or a prospective employer, think badly of you for promoting your passion for beer?

Traditional product branding says that you should focus on your unique selling proposition fairly single-mindedly. Your goal is to create a space in the customer’s mind dedicated to your brand so that when they want to purchase something like it, they shortcut all alternatives and go straight to you.

So from a product branding point of view, putting a personal beer account on your professional profile is distracting. It tells an employer that you’re not totally focused on the encyclopedic and ever-evolving knowledge, skills and abilities required to do your valuable type of job.

However, people are not products, and appl…