Today there are hundreds of social networking sites (Friendster, imeem, Flickr, Myspace, Plaxo, Xanga, the list goes on) that are connecting people around the world with different backgrounds, interests, hobbies and professions.  The two major sites that remain at the forefront are Facebook and LinkedIn.  What, you may ask, is the difference between the two?  Which one will be the most beneficial for your business?

I have said it many times before that for any B2B business, LinkedIn is the place to go. Not only can you create new connections, but in comparison to other social media sites, it’s four times better for B2B leads and almost three times more effective for generating new business leads.


LinkedIn:

For B2b marketers, conventional wisdom says that LinkedIn is the best social media platform to reach business decision makers. It’s built for business networking so you would think LinkedIn would be better for marketing to B2B customers. Let’s go through with some burning truth:
Most of the Top Level Executives use LinkedIn for their industrial networking and promoting the business. Approximately 22% has been devoted to LinkedIn for industry networking and 20% for promoting the business.
While, Middle Management professionals primarily use LinkedIn to keep in touch with other people (24%) and industry networking (20%). Hence, as a social networking site for professionals, LinkedIn seems to be delivering on its brand promise.  

Facebook:

More importantly, nobody seems to love Facebook anymore.  People seem mostly tolerate it, because it's convenient. And that's why Facebook remains vulnerable.
Consumer-oriented social networking sites are like television networks: People will switch when there's something better on another channel. With its awkward design, 1990s-style layouts, weird privacy policies, and intrusive advertising, Facebook is vulnerable to the next best thing. Frankly, I think it's just one online conversion program away from losing its customer base and becoming the next MySpace.

Verdict

Facebook is the site if you don’t mind combining both professional and personal aspects of your life.  With the greatest number of users, it requires little time and upkeep to create a profile which can potentially help drive other users to your company website or blog.  It is the more casual of the three and with the rising number of add-ons and features, your profile can become quickly cluttered with unwanted junk.  However, with Baby Boomers being the fastest growing demographic on Facebook and over a million Americans joining by the week, it would be a good idea to jump the Facebook bandwagon and begin “friending!”

LinkedIn is primarily geared towards professional use only.  Your profile summarizes your professional qualifications and expertise. LinkedIn promotes you with your connections, your connections’ connections, and the people they know… thus opening the door to literally hundreds of potential clients, associates and customers.  The time to set up your LinkedIn account, upload a picture and link your websites is well worth it.