Social Media Profiles: To link or not to link, that is the question…


Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FriendFeed, Digg, StumbleUpon, Flickr, Google Profiles, MySpace, the list goes on and on…  If you have no idea what I am talking about, read no further, but if you have profiles or pages on at least 2 of these sites, please continue to read.

Are you still with me?  Good.  I’m glad you came.

As a part of my job, I set clients up with blogs and social media profiles to help them get their name out into cyberspace in a way that their customers can find them.  A lot of times, I am dealing with someone who does not sit in front of a computer all day so in order to help them better manage their online presence, I recommend them linking their Social Media profiles.  For a typical business, I recommend they have a Facebook Fan Page for their business as well as at least a Twitter account, and most of the time, depending on who they are trying to reach, an account on LinkedIn.  All three of these websites offer some degree of interconnectivity, see graphic below…

social media mess

Not only that but as you can see from the graphic, there are services like Ping.fm and hootsuite.com that allow you to aggregate your profiles (the list of applications here is endless) and there you are standing off to the side trying to coordinate this mess.

What is the typical person to do?

First off, what are all these things?  (Starting from the top left)

  1. Twitter – this is what is called a microblogging service.  It gives you 140 characters to broadcast your life to people who have decided to “follow” you…
  2. Facebook Profile – this is a social networking site where you can connect with friends.  I have over 700 friends on Facebook, but here is the kicker, I either know every single one of the people or have done business with them at some point.  Facebook DOES NOT allow you to have a profile for business entities…that is where the next item comes into play.
  3. Facebook Fan Page – this is Facebook’s answer to the business world.  Using a fan page you create a Facebook presence for your business.  This is the officially accepted way of doing the Facebook thing for your business.  With this page, you do not have to be friends with all of your business contacts, but they can become fans of your organization and can receive your updates.
  4. Me – substitute your picture if you would like, but the center of your social media universe, if all is in check, is yourself.
  5. LinkedIn – this is a business network social media site.  In the Madison, WI area LinkedIn is pretty active.  I have both business contacts and personal contacts on this site mainly because some of the people I went to college with who are now in the business world are on LinkedIn.
  6. Aggregate services like Ping.fm & HootSuite – these services try to bring some semblance of order to your social media world.

Now that I have given a brief explanation of what these services are, I will now address the main focus of my blog post…should you link your accounts?  Built into each of these services is the inherent ability to link to other accounts…for instance your Facebook Fan Page can be linked up with your Twitter account so that if you publish a status update it will automagically be published to Twitter, the same thing is true for your LinkedIn profile…throw a couple blogs into the list with plugins that update your statuses who knows where a status update could end up.

If you are just getting into the social media scene then I would recommend just linking your few accounts and going for it.  For more advanced users, or those who are like me and have profiles that are a mix of business and personal (I know, shame on me…), I recommend using a service like Ping.fm or hootsuite.com.  Personally, I use hootsuite.com.  They do not have support yet for Facebook Fan Pages, but I am online enough that I can update that status manually.  Here is how my accounts are set up.

  • Facebook profile: This is a primarily personal account, but since I am a business owner and friends of mine are business people, I have a lot of connections.
  • Facebook Fan Page: This is strictly business, no personal information is posted to this account.
  • Twitter: what is this account not…personal, business, ministry, you name it, it’s on there for me.
  • LinkedIn: again another amalgam between personal and business due to the nature of the friends and colleagues of mine who are on these mediums.

Throw on top of this that I currently run 2 blogs (a business and personal blog) and will soon be running 2 more (ministry related) my ducks must be in a row.  That is why I recommend NOT linking your accounts unless you absolutely have to or are not online very often (I disabled the Facebook Fan Page link to my Twitter account, but I keep LinkedIn linked to Twitter because it gives you the choice on whether or not you want to publish).  This will keep you from inadvertently posting a status update to the wrong site.  Instead I use hootsuite because it gives me this cool little area:

three_amigos_of_social_media

What this allows me to do is be selective of my account updates because I can choose which networks I want my update to go to.

Hopefully you found this post to be informative, please discuss in the comments.

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  • Jeff,
    Mapping social media links to various social media sites is an important thing to do whether you are linking today or not at this point. When you want to do it, you can look at the inter connectivity at one time. I like to use Freemind (free mind mapping software) to do this. I like to start with clients in this way because they can visualize each social site a little better.

    One of my social media friends, got into an evil update loop with 5 different sites (friendfeed was the ultimate downfall) and his vast network received over 150 updates of the same thing before he could stop it. You really don’t want that to happen.

    By the way, I disagree that it is wrong to have business and social sites mixed with connections. I am neither all business or all social. An opinion formed based on one or the other would be incorrect of me as a total person. I believe I am more careful with what I say to either group knowing that they are together. At the same time, my connections can understand my volunteer activities, what I do for relaxation, and how hard and on what I work.

    I tie together this way:
    I have LinkedIn post to my twitter profiles (yes I have 2)
    I have Youtube updates go to twitter and Facebook
    I have twitter updates go to my blog weekly
    I have blog posts to to my twitter account
    ~I have only select twitter posts go to LinkedIn with #in~
    I run 2 blogs
    Guest poster on 4 others
    With limited time I use Ping.fm to get info out to other sites.

    I have been using Tweetdeck, but was considering changes to Hootsuite based on several recommendations, but your post I think added the final perspective I needed. Thanks for taking the time to post.

    wendy
    http://xeesm.com/wendysoucie

  • Jeff Miles

    Wendy, thanks for the reply. I have felt the same way you do for a long time about personal vs. business related profiles and it does help me to filter what goes on each profile. Have a great week and hopefully you can enjoy this winter weather from a warm location.

    Jeff