LinkedIn vs. Facebook Business (and Ministry) Applications

LinkedIn and Facebook might seem very different, but both are seeking to build their business followings with new applications.

Facebook has over 500 Million users and an estimated value of $50 Billion dollars compared to LinkedIn’s 85 Million users and a value of only $3 billion, but is that all that matters?  Let’s compare some features and benefits of each.  This is not meant to be an all inclusive comparison, just my opinion of how I believe they stack up to our needs today.

Focus, Following & Purpose:

LinkedIn is known for being a professional network, a closed platform, and a trusted place for professionals to network.  Facebook has been more of a social open network that began with college students, and includes a huge base that uses it for everything from sharing photos and messages with friends, following companies and ministries, subscribing to religious and political movements, to playing games for entertainment.  Neither LinkedIn nor facebook have an overt focus on ministries, but that doesn’t mean ministries cannot take advantage of this media to help them ‘extend their reach into the kingdom’.

LinkedIn certainly has a dominant presence with professionals, job seekers, and recruiters that focus on the member’s experience, education, and recommendations.  Facebook has been successful at attracting many corporations, businesses, and ministries, largely because of their tremendous personal/consumer following and has recently launched a career networking site called “BranchOut” http://branchout.com/#st for sharing career data only.  This social media growth opportunity hasn’t gone unnoticed by the news media or LinkedIn.  Both companies are seeking to capture what they believe will be a shift in corporate advertising from traditional media to social media.  Both facebook and LinkedIn offer their own version of advertising that appears on users pages.

Business & Ministry Pages:

To combat facebook’s dominance in business pages, LinkedIn recently announced enhanced company pages that include a business (ministry) overview, employee listing, services available, analytics, and career listings.  The services can be “shared” (similar to “liked” on facebook); users can comment and post recommendations for specific services, as well as see what their connections said.  The analytics give the company an idea of how they compare to similar companies, and for larger companies (i.e. Target http://www.linkedin.com/company/target/statistics , Best Buy, etc.) can show lots of details about employee experience, education, and universities attended, as well as who you might know and how you are connected.  LinkedIn also has a new widget that can be added to a web page allowing a company’s products and services to be recommended without going into LinkedIn.  This is in addition to LinkedIn allowing companies to be “followed” last year, similar to facebook allowing users to see their connections who “like” a page.

With LinkedIn’s base less than 20% of facebook, it’s interesting to compare various companies that have pages on both sites;

  • Proctor & Gamble (P&G) has 13,000 followers on facebook and over 50,000 on LinkedIn,
  • Hewlett Packard (HP) has a little under 200,000 followers on facebook and 180,000 on LinkedIn,
  • Coca-Cola has 18,000 on LinkedIn and almost 21,000,000 on facebook,
  • Apple has less than 100 on facebook and over 75,000 on LinkedIn. 

While Ministries don’t overwhelm either network, facebook seems to be the leader; Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church has 1,100 followers on facebook and 300 on LinkedIn, T. D. Jakes, The Potter’s House has 5 LinkedIn followers and over 150,000 in facebook.  It’s clear that facebook holds the consumer lead, but LinkedIn still dominates the professional numbers.

Personal Profiles:

LinkedIn’s personal profiles still appear more like a professional profile or resume by including experience, education, personal recommendations, connections, websites, twitter, your public profile URL, a summary, interests, groups & affiliations, honors & awards, and contact information.  LinkedIn just added new categories to highlight skills, certifications, and publications raising the bar just a little higher.  The applications on LinkedIn’s personal profile allow you to post your reading lists with recommendations, SlideShare and Google presentations, box files for document sharing, events, blogs, portfolios, and travel planning.  Facebook isn’t letting LinkedIn profiles have the upper hand; they recently have added profile additions that allow you to share your classes & education, work, projects you’ve worked on, interests, activities, your philosophy, religion, and political affiliation.  LinkedIn allows one profile photo and a corporate logo, while facebook allows profile pictures and multiple albums of photos.

LinkedIn’s Groups:

Facebook has 300,000 Business Pages.  As stated earlier, that leads LinkedIn’s Company Pages by a good margin, but LinkedIn’s real strength is in its 800,000 Groups, and they constantly add new options to their already powerful groups.  Until now, LinkedIn groups have been private, allowing only members to participate.  LinkedIn recently announced that groups can become public.  Making the group public or ‘open’ to the web, would allow web search engine to find them, and allows the new LinkedIn widget to share on your profile and the LinkedIn group too from anywhere.  LinkedIn added new moderation tools last year that allow the group managers to screen submissions before they are posted.  That gives the group moderators the ability to eliminate inappropriate material before it’s posted to a group discussion.  One facebook equivalent to a group discussion is under their ‘notes’ tab.  There lots of differences but two of the major ones are LinkedIn group discussions allow more room than the facebook status update boxes, and subscribers can choose between a daily or weekly notifications to new discussions or comments, more overtly encouraging participation.  LinkedIn also allows group leaders to send announcements to all group members at once, and group members can communicate with other members if the members choose that option. 

Companies and ministries that have a facebook page should certainly consider expanding their reach into the kingdom by starting a Public LinkedIn Group, and depending on the strategy, might want a private group too.  In the case of my “Anothen Life Deliverance and Inner Healing Network” LinkedIn Group, the purpose was to allow deliverance ministers of all backgrounds to share articles, teachings, questions, discussions, experiences, and events with each other.  Some of those discussions might not benefit from being open to the public, so it will remain private, but a group to allow the public to ask questions and receive input might also be a good idea.  In the case of my “Linked4Ministry” LinkedIn group, its mission, along with the blog at http://Linked4Ministry.WordPress.com , is to help other Christian ministries use LinkedIn and other social media to “extend their reach into the kingdom”.  Since the blog is public, making the LinkedIn group public wouldn’t add any value so I’ve chosen to keep the LinkedIn group private, at least for now.

Conclusion:

It’s clear these two social media giants have historically had different strategies, features and strengths, but how you can use them to best benefit your company and ministry is a challenge that we all must consider to succeed in the 21st century social media advertising phenomenon.  I clearly don’t have all the answers, in fact I’m not sure I have all the questions, but waiting until you have all the answers will probably mean you will never get started!  The best way to learn is by diving in.  We learn best by making mistakes and correcting them.  When you do everything right you really don’t learn, in fact if no one says anything, can you really be sure it’s right?

As with most things you do, the first step is to develop a strategy (what you want to accomplish), then determine the steps you’ll need to do to accomplish your strategy.  Beginning without a strategy will likely help you learn a lot along the way, but will probably take additional time and effort, and may not help you end up where you want to go.  Linked4Ministry’s goal is to help you plan, give you tips and alternatives, and teach you what we’ve learned to hopefully shorten your learning curve and help you reach your goals in less time, as well as reducing your frustration and effort along the way.

As always, thank you for reading Linked4Ministry.  If you are new here, the best way to receive all the new posts is to subscribe for e-mail updates at the top right.  If you have been following Linked4Ministry and find it helpful, please consider sharing it with other ministry partners that it could benefit.  It’s easy to do by clicking on the following buttons, and it’s OK to click more than one !

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One response to this post.

  1. […] included several great guides in the “Linked4Ministry” LinkedIn group.  You can also see LinkedIn vs. Facebook Business Pages for additional details.  Just remember to keep your facebook page totally professional, or […]

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