I was asked recently by a small business owner whether it would be smart of her to use Facebook to market her business and for a recommendation on whether to use myn10.com. My friend is an executive coach who thrives (as most consultants/service providers do) on her professional network. My email back to her turned out to be more like a whitepaper or blog post so I thought I'd share:
You're smart to be selective. Participation on different sites should
depend on your networking strategy, where your target audience is playing,
and the manner in which you want to communicate. Facebook just happens to
be an addiction for the masses that continues to grow in popularity.
(Several of my friends from high school blame me for their inability to work
for several days due to their new facebook addiction...) There is a LOT
more functionality on facebook than on Linkedin - specifically they excel at
creating groups of all types which could be really useful for you. You're
also so interesting on a personal level that this is a place where you can
share, connect, and reconnect in (transparent) ways that you can't on
Functionality versus networking:
Just keep in mind that different sites act very differently, do different things, and interact with OTHER social sites in interesting ways - it's not just about networking. For example: I maintain my professional on Linkedin and personal profile on facebook. On facebook - I only give a lite version of professional experience and refer people to linkedin for the rest. This accomplishes three things: I communicate work and personal somewhat separately, I reduce the amount of effort to maintain profiles on different sites, and I've increased my search engine footprint ("google" me - it's pretty cool!). At the same time I've made several business contacts just reconnecting with people on Facebook that I wouldn't have expected - then have subsequently hooked up with them on Linkedin to make sure they have access to my business network.
So here's what the sophisticated social participants do...
Goal: I want to engage my network in a conversation about marketing (or insert topic here) so I can build credibility/thought leadership and broaden my network.
Create original content (like your newsletter)
I started a marketing and leadership blog on Fastcompany.com's community -
and I cite the link from my blog on all of my other profiles (just as I cite
my other profiles on my fastcompany.com profile).
Publish broadly in 20 minutes or less (this is the part that most
people find intimidating)
So when I release a new article on my fastcompany blog, I use
www.tinyurl.com to publish it to the people who follow me on twitter (@karriesully),
twitter automatically publishes my link on my facebook (Karrie Shimp Sullivan) account and to those who follow me on friendfeed (karriesully), I can email the link to specific people I want
to read the article with a personalized note, and I refer/link to it from my current status on linkedin & plaxo.
If I'm feeling really cheeky I then mark it as a favorite with the right marketing tags in either del.icio.us and/or digg.com (where I also have "karriesully" profiles that link to other "karriesully" profiles) and I publish a notification to my "Karrie sullivan rocks" group on facebook (fictional group) which sends an email to everyone who has joined the group... I'd also post links for digg, delicious, facebook, etc. so others can mark my blog as a favorite. After I wrote the article - the rest would take me about 20 minutes.
Step 3: Follow-up.
If you hook your blog up to friendfeed you should know if others have commented on it via the blog itself or in other places (if you've published so you can respond quickly and keep the conversation moving.
This means that with very little effort I have:
-Published content to multiple networks/audiences
-Built credibility with several audiences in the way they have chosen to
network with me
-Increased that search engine footprint just a little bit more
-Communicated in a way that invites conversation, commentary, interest, and
(potentially) additional networking possibilites.
Cross-referencing of sites
The sites I referenced:
tinyurl.com takes a URL (web address) and reduces it to only a few characters since most blog URLs are really long after all of the dots and slashes...
Twitter.com is a MINI blog. Blogging in 140 characters or less.
Digg/de.licio.us are news publication sharing sites - kind of like the
genome project for news.
Friendfeed is a consolidation of networking/social media sites.
You could also copy and paste the article into myn10.com (assuming it's the
right site demographic) and link to it from the other sites instead of (or
along with) publishing on fastcompany.com.
There are many more sites than this - but I chose to focus on the ones where my target audience and friends have an interest and actively participate (although I'm experimenting with more each week).