LinkedIn has been in existence for more than a decade, and is often referred to as the professional version of Facebook. Many others jokingly say that it’s only used for job searches as college students and graduates continue to be LinkedIn’s fastest growing demographic.
However, a lot of people seem to overlook LinkedIn’s arguably strongest trait: relationship building for BOTH individuals and businesses. As a professional and as a business owner, relationship building is crucial for guiding people along the sales funnel, and can turn strangers into customers. How does LinkedIn’s trait differ from the relationship building that can occur on other social networks? Let’s look at them one by one:
- Facebook: The largest social network is great for keeping in touch with old friends and joining group discussions with potential business pages. But thanks to the detested changes in the news feed, the chatter from businesses (that aren’t content publishers) has dropped to practically nothing. How can businesses even hope to build relationships on Facebook unless they pay for sponsored news feed slots or sidebar ads?
- Twitter: If harnessed correctly, Twitter is immensely beneficial for relationship building. Companies and individuals alike have amassed large, loyal followings on this platform by engaging in quick and genuine conversations directly with their audience. The one downside however is the nosey network. Roughly 500 million tweets are sent out a day, so it’s very hard to not only capture someone’s attention, but also establish credibility. This task is downright daunting for new Twitter users. A successful profile requires much more content than the other platforms in order to stand out. A LinkedIn presence is far less laborious to maintain.
- Pinterest: Pinterest is a set of virtual pinboards that, by definition, is not a social network. In fact, Pinterest’s CEO Ben Silbermann has gone on record stating that Pinterest is NOT a social network as it was designed more for the individual than a network. This hasn’t stopped certain businesses from getting on Pinterest. Certain brands can potentially achieve immeasurable success by essentially telling visual stories with their pin boards, showcasing their products and services in helpful, creative ways. Couple this robust platform with the ability to create group boards, and communities are born. This certainly makes Pinterest the closest to LinkedIn in terms of relationship building for both individuals and businesses. However, due to the type of content that gets pinned the most (and its inherently egocentric nature,) not all businesses can benefit from Pinterest.
- Google+: Google+ is the little engine that could in the land of social networks, and that’s because Google created it to basically be the anti-Facebook. Identity crisis aside, Google+ is a bit underrated as its user experience makes relationship building much less cluttered. The circles feature is invaluable as it prompts users from the get-go to organize who they follow making news feeds less cluttered. The community feature is also great. I mean, what’s not to like about joining groups with a common interest? Sadly, due to its identity crisis, Google+ just can’t compete with the other networks. Not enough people use it, so you won’t be fostering many relationships on Google+.
- Instagram: Like with Pinterest, Instagram relies heavily on storytelling. However, Instagram is much more individualistic (hence the plethora of selfies that keep popping up!) The network’s engine is its news feed, therefore constricting its scope for businesses to build relationships. Big brands have established themselves not only through their name recognition, but also through expensive sponsored posts. It’s much harder for smaller brands to do so considering that sponsored Instagram posts costs thousands of dollars, and they have not made that inventory readily available for small businesses. That’s not discounting hashtags but, like Twitter, hashtags on Instagram are pretty cluttered.
We are in no way denouncing these social networks as each one has specific audiences you can engage with. Different kinds of relationships can be fostered on these networks, but LinkedIn has built a steadfast reputation of being THE professional network. LinkedIn can foster relationships easier and better for both professionals AND businesses that other networks just can’t. In the following post, we’ll go over the steps to optimizing your LinkedIn profile and company page.
Andrea Misir is a Staff Writer and Social Media Strategist at Venerate Media Group. When she’s not busy writing about the wonders of social media and marketing and making social media marketing wonders happen for her clients, she enjoys yoga, going to the gym, and sipping on an occasional Old Fashioned Mad Men style. She is based in NYC and has worked with a variety of big and small brands, including Sprint, J&J, Showtime, and more.