In a poll that that asked, “Do you have two lives? Do you separate your LinkedIn life from your Facebook life?” nearly 70% of the 7,442 voters answered Yes. What they share on LinkedIn is professional and what they share on Facebook is personal.
Seven percent of the voters said they share the same or similar content between both platforms, and 26% are AWOL from Facebook. They’ve been there, down that.
Read below my article what some people had to say about how they split their activity on LinkedIn and Facebook.
First my take on Facebook vs. LinkedIn
A while back, I changed my Facebook photo from a casual shot of me sitting on some steps to one of me perched with my ankle-biting dog on a rock. It was temporary, but I liked it. I had this temporary photo set to go back to my original one after a week.
This is a cool feature that Facebook offers, automatically changing your photo back to the original one. It’s also cool that Facebook offers this feature. There are other neat Facebook features which don’t apply to LinkedIn.
You can express your opinions with impunity.
I’m not one to express my political views, even though I’m gainfully employed, nor do I talk about religion. But I know I could on Facebook if I wanted.
Many of my Facebook friends are not shy about their political views, and that’s okay. If I don’t agree with their opinions, I scroll past them.
You can share photos of food and other stuff
Then there are wonderful photos of delicious food that one of my friends posts on a regular basis. They make me want to write to her and say, “When should I be over for dinner?”
Many people share photos of their kids–mixed feelings about the younger ones–playing lacrosse or football, attending proms, celebrating birthdays, and other sentimental situations
You can play games and other neat features
Occasionally I’ll participate in games or apps that tell you what famous character in history your personality resembles. Or what you will look like in fifty years. Pretty cool.
Groups on Facebook are livelier than LinkedIn groups
This is a sad testament to LinkedIn’s declining group participation. One Facebook group I like is Recruiters Online. Another is one that addresses issues in my home city. Be aware that Facebook members tend to speak their mind and don’t hold back on insulting others in the group.
You can get more personal with Message
I’ll reach more people through Messages on Facebook than I will on LinkedIn’s Messaging, which curiously copied Facebook’s form of one-on-one communication method.
This is do in fact because I have intimate relationships with more people on Facebook than LinkedIn. Better put, I know people will respond quickly to my messages. I am not assured that my LinkedIn connections will check their accounts as much as Facebook members do.
People who know me would wonder, “Is this the Bob I know? He hates Facebook. He’s crazy about LinkedIn.” This is true; I dig LinkedIn, more so than Facebook. But it’s not true that I hate Facebook.
When LinkedIn is favorable
What I tell my workshop attendees is that Facebook allows me to let my hair down for the aforementioned reasons. I love making comments about my family and sharing their pictures. The only people I have to worry about is my oldest daughter and my wife, who literally critique my every post.
Facebook is not my professional arena. In fact, I refuse to allow myself to be professional on Facebook. For example, the photo you see below is one I have on my LinkedIn profile. I wouldn’t dream of using the photo above for LinkedIn. My connections would send me nasty comments if I did.
Below are times when LinkedIn is preferable over Facebook.
If you want to brand yourself, LinkedIn is the place to do it
Let’s be real, you can’t brand yourself on Facebook as a job seeker or business person as well as you can on LinkedIn. LinkedIn gives you a built-in audience for your branding. Most people on this platform understand its intended purpose.
Your profile is the first opportunity to brand yourself, followed by developing a professional network, and engaging in an appropriate manner. To this point, your posts, shared articles, insightful advice is businesslike, not personal.
Content on LinkedIn is more professional, and we like it
Some people on LinkedIn don’t get it; I don’t think they ever will. LinkedIn is for professional networking and curating relevant information. Occasionally the LinkedIn police will tell you, “More suited for Facebook” or “Send it to Facebook” or what I like to say, “I thought I was on LinkedIn, not Facebook.”
If you like to blog, LinkedIn has a platform for it
To a point, LinkedIn has a blogging feature that allows you to share your posts. The reach is greater than most blog platforms as long as you market your posts. The downside is if you don’t tag a hundred LinkedIn members when you post it, or write to them individually, your articles won’t see the light of day.
LinkedIn’s real value is its immense professional network
Even though Facebook is at least twice as large as LinkedIn, its members are more concerned about sharing photos of the food they’re eating, showing off their new grandchildren, bragging about their vacation in France. You get the idea.
Those same people can use LinkedIn as a professional networking platform to generate leads for business and their job search. It’s all business, and LinkedIn’s members understand this…for the most part. The LinkedIn police are real.
Recruiters hang out on LinkedIn to cull talent
Again, due to Facebook’s immensity, there are probably more recruiters on its platform than LinkedIn. However, the recruiters on LinkedIn are more serious about finding talent. They expect to find qualified talent on LinkedIn.
Job seekers on LinkedIn understand the value this platform offers. They are focused on networking with other job seekers, recruiters, and employees in companies for which they’d like to work.
LinkedIn is doing its best to catch up with Facebook
Facebook has more bells and whistles than LinkedIn, and that’s okay. For example, I’m fine with not having Facebook live. I have dabbled with sharing videos on LinkedIn, but this feature is a little clunky.
LinkedIn is focusing on features that professionals require; those that don’t succeed are eliminated. Two features on the phone app which will probably be abandoned: one that allows you to find people who can be located in your area, another that allows you to dictate your messages. Both of these features aren’t taking hold.
If you’re not on Facebook, join it
I used to bash Facebook in my LinkedIn workshops and blog posts. That’s until I joined Facebook. What I realized is that Facebook is great for us middle-age people (sadly true, younger folks are shunning Facebook).
I hypothesize that people who get too personal on LinkedIn, aren’t on Facebook or haven’t embraced its purpose. If you are one of these people, I ask you to visualize this overstated analogy: being on LinkedIn is akin to attending a professional networking event; whereas being on Facebook is similar to going to a party.
Here’s how some people feel about sharing content on LinkedIn and Facebook
One person who separates her LinkedIn life and Facebook life is Executive Career Coach Sarah Johnston. I see her on both platforms. Here’s how she feels about sharing photos of her personal life, “Even though they are really cute, I do not share pictures of my kids on my business platform. I don’t have their permission and I think they deserve their privacy.”
The same applies to Executive Career Coach Emily Lawson who shares, “I [separate the two]. I prefer to connect with my friends and family on topics outside of work. Occasionally, I’ll share a big achievement or recognition if I know they would share in the excitement. But, outside of that, I keep it separate.”
Executive Resume Writer Erin Kennedy takes it to another level; she has two Facebook accounts, “Absolutely, Bob McIntosh, CPRW! I even have two separate FB pages. I really don’t want people I don’t know seeing pics of my kids, etc. I don’t need people to know everything about me (it’s not that exciting anyway!).”
Sonal Bahl writes, “I’m very private about my private life. On all platforms. Like [Sarah Johnston], I don’t share my kids pics anywhere public. As for FB; there’s regular Facebook where I hardly ever show up, like [Kevin Turner], then there’s my FB page: where I post work related content. In other words, my strategy is to use social media for my work. Friends: we do WhatsApp groups etc!
Seven percent of the voters said it’s appropriate to mix the two worlds. Some claim that doing this maintains consistent branding. I’ve seen members of both platforms use the same photo, as an example. I’ve also seen people in my LinkedIn tribe post similar content on Facebook. Is this the way it should be?
Business LinkedIn trainer Teddy Burriss, explains, “…I have found that allowing my friends, family, and community networks to overlap with my business and career network amplifies the value of both Networks.” He went on to describe how he and a Facebook friend started a friendly conversation that turned to business.
Or perhaps they take the hybrid approach like MBTI and EQ authority Edythe Richards wrote, “I’m struggling a little with this question Bob, but that’s because I’ve always been a person who ‘blends’ my personal and professional lives. Given the norms of LinkedIn, however, I refrain from posting personal content here.”
Her comment made me think about the times I shared professional content on Facebook. I never received a great response, save from my mother who always gave me a “love” reaction, but I think it’s because she loves me.
Yet, seven percent of voters disagree and choose to be LinkedIn/Facebook fence-straddlers. Even though this is clearly the minority, Executive Resume Writer Adrienne Tom fell into this category…which gives me pause.
Adrienne for whom I have the utmost respect–not simply because she’s one of LinkedIn Top Voices–explained it this way, “I spent many years, just like you Bob, keeping [content] separate. It felt, right. Now, I let things bleed a bit more across platforms– within reason. I don’t share a lot of personal/family things here on LinkedIn and try not to bore my family/friends with too much work news over on FB.”
Where did the other 27% go? These were LinkedIn users who aren’t on Facebook, either because they never joined or dumped it for one reason or another. Career Coach Austin Belcak simply stated, “I deleted my FB two years ago and it was the best decision (for me) Bob! I opened up soo much mental space.”
This was a common sentiment. Some people had to choose between one or the other. Or they are on Facebook but aren’t active. Career Coach Ana Lokotkova is one who is not active on LinkedIn she explains, “Technically, I have a Facebook profile, but I haven’t been using it in months. So I guess it’s almost like I’m not on Facebook any more.”