Going Social: LinkedIn vs. Facebook

Mandy Arnold
December 29, 2013
| Operations

Some companies are intimidated by social media, especially when it comes to opening up to public comments. But the reality is that even if you aren’t using social media—be it LinkedIn or Facebook—you are. There are conversations—good and bad—already taking place about your company on the web. At the very least, you need to be aware of these conversations so you can respond accordingly. And to do so, you must go social.

Before making the leap into social media, however, there are things you should know and plan for. First, you must set realistic expectations and goals, taking into consideration each social network’s unique audience, user profile and unwritten rules of engagement.

For example, LinkedIn is a great network for increasing awareness of your industry expertise. LinkedIn is a professional network, so posting information irrelevant to your professional life might not be of much interest to users. Instead, set up a company profile page and use it to promote services, products and employment opportunities. You can use LinkedIn to drive traffic to your website, support your SEO (search engine optimization) strategy and provide content for redistribution by your sales team. Any employee who interfaces with a client should have a LinkedIn profile. Set standards for profiles to ensure everyone is representing the company in the most desirable manner. Engage your sales staff to “like,” share and redistribute content to their networks to build followers of your company page’s content. Facebook should have different goals than LinkedIn. It is great for interfacing with consumers but it’s not necessarily a lead generation tool; it’s a brand building, SEO and engagement tool.

Facebook should be used to distribute content that establishes who the company is and what it does, but not in a way that feels like advertising in every post. No one “likes” your Facebook page to hear about double-hung or casement windows all day. Consumers like your page for a specific kind of interaction, usually triggered by a special call to action or upcoming need.

Facebook is personal. Using the network to create a personal brand story for your company should be the goal. This approach helps to increase the likelihood of sharing content and building brand affinity, trust and general awareness.

Case in Point

Window retailers and lumberyards that have the most success with Facebook use it to talk about their involvement in the community, put faces to the organization, run promotional contests/sweepstakes and share examples of work through pictures.

As an example, our client National Lumber, a lumberyard in Baltimore, wanted to increase Facebook “likes.” To build a targeted Facebook audience, it worked with the local Habitat for Humanity to launch a “Dollars for Likes” campaign. For every new page like, the company donates a dollar to the local Habitat chapter. Using email marketing, Facebook advertising and enticements to share content, National Lumber’s likes increased by 66 percent, and counting. To keep new audiences engaged, National Lumber posts content on Facebook that provides a behind-the-scenes look into the company, before and after photos, and information on its community involvement and the events it hosts. The campaign is driving likes, awareness and brand equity by connecting the lumberyard with local community groups.

Once you outline goals by audience, you can parallel an approach on the appropriate network. Don’t take on too much at once. It’s better to have more success on one network, than not much on several networks.

Arnold is the president of Gavin Advertising, York, Pa. She has more than 15 years of seniorlevel marketing experience, having previously served as VP of marketing at Lightstyles Ltd., as well as a member of the National Retail Council for Marvin Windows & Doors. Contact her at 717/848-8155, www.gavinadvertising.com.