Guest post from Jason Wietholter:
Social Media is an institution now in the internet marketing sector. It’s been expected for years that every company or respectable service professional have their own website, but now, Twitter & Facebook has overtaken that. In fact, visiting Social Media sites is now the 4th most popular online activity – ahead of email (Nielsen, Global Faces & Networked Places 2009).
Your clients are out there, your competitors are out there, but most importantly, your potential clients are out there. So let’s break down these two giants and take advantage of each service’s inherent strengths.
Twitter is all about what you know. Facebook is about who you know.
Twitter is a massive stream of multiple conversations. People learn by exchanging information or re-tweeting it amongst followers. The importance of finding the what is obvious in the recent re-design of Twitter.com’s home page.
It’s gives precedence to searching the vast Twitter stream and the current trending topics. In the Twittersphere, you want to share relevant information and find others who share in those pursuits. The experts engage their readers and attract business through authoritative information sharing. It’s an instantaneous, global reaching network of people all searching for and discussing different topics.
Facebook on the other had is all about who you know. Facebook suggests friends and connections based upon where you went to school, who you worked for, what groups you are in and what you are a fan of.
Facebook even uses these connections to extend your network to similarly connected people. It’s a vast community of personal ties.
What about LinkedIn?
Some of you may use LinkedIn and ask where it fits into this puzzle. The short answer is that it is virtually equivalent to Facebook except that it focuses on professionals, not as much on personal connections.
All right, now we know what they do. Where do we fit?
Don’t fit in one. Take advantage of each service’s strengths. The three are not mutually exclusive and it is a definite benefit to you and your firm to be a part of all three.
Twitter is an engagement platform. Post relevant content and people will find you. Twitter is very much a system built on mutual respect. If you give enough good information, people will recognize that and follow what you have to say. It’s all about starting a conversation.
Facebook will generate exposure for you among friends and family. It’s a superb referral network. Facebook can seem bloated at times, but you can cut down on that by making every effort to post only necessary and important information about you and the happenings around your firm.
LinkedIn, as mentioned before, is really a sort of equivalent to Facebook in terms of its strength, but it focuses on professionals. My advice, use Facebook for friendly referrals, especially with personal clients (those involved in personal injury or employment disputes) and focus your LinkedIn marketing towards professional clients like business owners or expert witnesses.
Most of all, get out there and join the conversation. Don’t be afraid to share information. It will benefit you in the long run.
Jason Wietholter is the part-owner and technology director of Opveon and Opveon University. You can catch him and his company on Twitter as well @opveon. Jason also hosts his personal site at jasonwietholter.com and you can find him on Twitter @jasonwietholter.