I posed the question on LinkedIn and Twitter and was amazed about how many responses I received and the differences in viewpoints. There many differences, but I thought I would highlight five differences that business owners should be aware of.
On LinkedIn, you are always in business mode and on Twitter, you are a person who does business. When you use LinkedIn, think of it as wearing a suit and tie. What would you say in a board room or a presentation to a new prospect? Everything is about business. Twitter is like going to a familiar networking event where you know a lot of people. You are aware that you are a business person, but you show your human side, you connect with people on a personal and emotional level. So it is good to bring up the weather, family and sports because you want to find people who are like you. It is about social dialogue.
Nobody on LinkedIn wants to hear what you are eating, whereas, people on Twitter love talking about food. In fact, my tweet on macaroni cheese recently, had far more interaction and engagement than anything else I had spoken about that day. Yet, all the people I was interacting with were business people.
- Action Point: Do not feed your Tweets into LinkedIn automatically unless every single one of your Tweets is about business. If every single one of your Tweets is business, then is Twitter the right place for you?
Professionalism vs. Likeability
LinkedIn is all about professionalism. You show this through providing your experience and skills for anyone to read. You connecting with other business people and show your expertise by answering questions relevant to your industry. Everything is available in one place.
Twitter is all about letting people see who you are so that they know, like and trust you. Your personality comes out in less than 140 characters. People get a flavour of not only of your expertise, but also how you interact with other people. You let people sample before they buy. For people to get a full picture, they need to go off site to your website or your blog. People get an impression of what you are like over time.
- Action Point: Make sure your profile is 100% filled in on LinkedIn, you may only get one chance for someone to look at your expertise. On Twitter, remember that you are a business person and what you say also reflects on your business. Do not Tweet drunk!
Expansion vs. Brevity
Twitter allows you to say things in 140 characters or less. This leads to abbreviations and jargon and shortened links. The benefit of it is that people can be very succinct and witty in a sentence. I chuckle away to myself reading some tweets. The disadvantage is that it is easy to be misunderstood and it is not long enough to expand on what you mean. To get into detail, you need to produce a blog article, get someone to call you or email further information. LinkedIn allows you to elaborate on points and it is easy to expand on what you mean sending messages, but there is an art to the short form. I have had essays as responses to some of the questions I asked in groups.
- Action Point: Craft your Tweets so they get your message across clearly. On LinkedIn, remember, just because you have the space to expand doesn’t mean that you should be verbose.
Continuity vs. Immediacy:
Although Tweets are permanently searchable, they are only visible for a moment in time; it is hard to track back to conversations if you have a busy stream. They need to be repeated to allow for their short lifespan. LinkedIn status updates, group discussion and internal messaging makes it easier to elaborate and it can be easily referred back to. An illustration of this is I asked the same question on Twitter and LinkedIn. After about an hour nobody answered the Twitter question, yet I am still getting answer on the LinkedIn question twenty- four hours later. I have all the answers to all the questions I have asked on LinkedIn.
- Action Point: For immediate feedback Twitter is brilliant, but for longevity LinkedIn wins. However, don’t underestimate how long people will remember a funny or punchy tweet!
Twitter makes contacting anyone very accessible. You can build up relationships very quickly and if you are being authentic, those relationships will build into real life conversations and working relationships. LinkedIn is more formal, you have to know the person to connect with them, be a member of the same group or ask someone for an introduction. On Twitter you can follow anyone you want. The one advantage LinkedIn has over Twitter is that you can own your contact database; you can download it and keep it.
- Action point: Both sites are good for building relationship, but you won’t build any if you are not proactive about following or connecting with people in the first place and then starting a dialogue with them.
I would love to have your comments about these differences. Do you agree or disagree with me?