Different social media sites can be used to achieve different goals, but a common theme between them is the ACT Methodology discussed by Shama Kabani in her book The Zen of Social Media Marketing (2013). Kabani (2013) discusses having a great brand, outcome, and differentiator (BOD) to attract people to your site, convert strangers to consumers or customers, and transform past successes with customers into tools that attract others to the site (p. 4-6).
All three social media sites have the capability of attracting, converting, and transforming strangers to customers or consumers, but the success of the site really depends on how the owner of the site chooses to use it. If the owner of the site never posts new information and updates or doesn’t interact in a way that represents their brand, they will never be able to attract people to their site in the first place, or they will lose any consumers they have.
Facebook is a great personal tool for me to keep in contact with friends who I don’t get to see often. I like being able to send a message at any time of day and night while not having to worry about whether I’m going to wake a friend like a phone call might. I also like being able to check my friends’ status, new pictures, recipes, and catch up with what’s going on in a matter of minutes. If I was using Facebook to help with my business, I would make sure to create a separate account.
LinkedIn acts as a digital Rolodex for meeting my business goals. I use it to collect contacts and network with individuals who may be interested in hiring or have hired our students in the past. Following companies or groups is helpful because you can follow discussions that are related to your line of work. I wish it was more visually pleasing to use, but it gets the job done.
Google+ has the capabilities of being used for both personal and professional use at the same time. To keep things simple, I would chose to use it for one or the other, but not both. I like that you can group people into categories to separate your interactions with them. You could have a circle of people who’ve subscribed to receive certain notices from your business and you could have a separate group of people who want to view your site, but don’t want to receive e-mails.
To make sure you’re meeting both your personal and professional goals, I think that you really have to know what you want to achieve and then getting there is that much easier.