LinkedIn is widely regarded as the professional network. Facebook is more personal. But Facebook is also much bigger and has several other networking advantages. In this article, I'll survey these differences and offer tips on how to balance your networking between the two social platforms.
Differences Between LinkedIn and Facebook
Table 1 illustrates some of the major differences between the two social networks.
A Comparison of LinkedIn and Facebook for Professional Networking Purposes
The first obvious difference is that Facebook is six times larger than LinkedIn. However, many people view Facebook as a network only for family and friends to interact. Facebook profiles, walls, and pages are often oriented around personal activities, interests and content. LinkedIn provides a more clearly professional environment focused around your online resume and professional discussion groups. Facebook provides pages for businesses while LinkedIn has company pages; both allow you to post status updates to engage people who follow your business page. Both provide the opportunity to form groups that you control, moderate and engage people in.
The biggest limitation of LinkedIn is that not only does it have fewer users but it also has dramatically lower usage than Facebook.
Take a look at Table 2.
Usage Comparison for LinkedIn and Facebook
As you can see in Table 2, the number of users (according to compete.com) is about the same ratio as the total active users each company gives us in their PR information. Facebook still has about six to seven times as many. But time spent on the site is another big difference. People spend about 3.5x as much time on Facebook and view 33 percent more pages. Put these together, and there is about 22 times as much attention given to Facebook as LinkedIn.
What that means is that no matter how more effective LinkedIn is in certain areas, its overall effect is much smaller. If you can do some of the same things on Facebook, you should try doing it there. If it's something you can only do on LinkedIn, by all means use it.