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Is Facebook the Ultimate Business Networking Tool?

I have hundreds of LinkedIn contacts.  However, little has ever come from professional networking through LinkedIn.

Facebook, on the other hand, is essentially a social networking software product which is much simpler, cleaner and engaging than the LinkedIn interface.  LinkedIn fails in several critical regards.  First, the inability to post on someone else’s page, and see posts by your connections on your page, means that it is essentially uninteresting.  There is really no content on LinkedIn.  Sure the groups and bulletin boards are meant to connect people of like mind, but from my experience, it really doesn’t work.  Bulletin board messages are more annoying than anything.

The second and more essential failure of LinkedIn is its focus on “professional” networking.  The days when people were supposed to put on their work clothes, go to work during the day and separate their personal lives from what happens in the office are over.  People want to know who you are as a person, what you like, who your friends are and have a stronger sense of “knowing you.”  Facebook, in the unique “wall” experience, cause professionals to get to know each other in a personal way.  It is those personal connections which provide incentive and inspiration to send work someone’s way.

I have gotten a lot more work off Facebook than I will ever get off LinkedIn.  It has now become my primary professional networking tool. 

Comments

John D.

I like Facebook because it promotes authenticity. I have this theory that the loss of privacy that comes from using Facebook comes at a cost that is worth bearing because, ultimately, it will change societal norms. Put another way, it requires people to be genuine, open, and honest, and it requires them to be subjected to a diversity of viewpoints that they otherwise would be sheltered from. This, in turn, makes them better people.

From a marketing aspect I would say that it creates stronger shared bonds between people because they are exposed to each other in a more "naked" form... if that makes sense. From my limited experience, the key to successful business relationships is authenticity in both vision and persona. No one wants to deal with painted-on face, and, in a way, Facebook does away with the ability to maintain such a face. I think LinkedIn is too sterile. It is akin to buying a CD at Walmart as opposed to buying one out of the back of the bus of the band that just rocked your world.

Gerry Oginski

I totally agree with you. Linked in is a "listing" of your credentials and accomplishments. The messages are mostly 'bulletin-board' comments asking questions about quality of life issues.

Interestingly, most of those messages have zero replies. Not surprising since most attorneys are on facebook have 'real time' messages and truly interacting with each other.

Kelly

Agreed! I have gotten much more play from FB in terms of valuable connections and valuable content.

Laurie/Halo Secretarial

I definitely think FB is better than LinkedIn for creating relationships that can actually result in business relationships. I think Twitter is better than both though, although not for everyone necessarily!

Adrian Baron

I have to agree with you. Although I was initially reluctant about joining Facebook, I am happy that I changed my mind. I have been pleasantly surprised at the amount of business it has generated. It's the "6 Degrees to Kevin Bacon" effect. Rekindling old school friendships has led to more business than my linked in profile. That quiet kid in the back of algebra class may now be a CEO. Your old friends may still be getting into the same trouble they did in highschool. Whether its home closings, business formations, criminal defense, divorces, immigration...you name it, we have gotten it from Facebook.

Our firm recently created a private facebook page for clients where we send a monthly legal tips and they are encouraged to ask questions.

http://thenutmeglawyer.blogspot.com/

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