Thoughts on Business Blogging, Twitter and LinkedIn

I think I finally made the connection of how to use and balance my various online presences.


I've been blogging here since 2004 and I suppose that makes me an old-timer in the world of business blogs. I've always tried to make this blog a balance between posts about the markets we serve, the products/services we sell, and a peppering of other off-topic items that I hope will be of interest to readers.


LinkedIn used to be a place where I connected with a few business contacts, but for the most part I left it untouched and unchanged for long stretches at a time. Then I started thinking about starting a company and all the people I wanted to ping for advice and otherwise just keep in touch with over time. So using LinkedIn became a much more active experience for me; connecting, seeking recommendations, giving recommendations, linking to this blog, adding a short slideshow, etc. I also took LinkedIn up on its offer for a discounted business account which gave me access to InMail. I didn't know if I'd make much use of it, but I can tell you that in the half dozen or so times I've used it to reach out to someone new, they have always replied and we have always made a follow-up connection. I realize it's a feature to be used carefully and not abused, but it is truly a great way to reach out to people whom are otherwise just out of reach and for whom I have something of value to offer.


Then there's Twitter. At first I wasn't sure what to do with it. I found it intriguing in a voyeuristic sort of way and dipped my toe in to see what it was all about. I followed a bunch of people, retweeted and quoted some Tweets, some people followed me back, retweeted and quoted me a bit and so on. Nothing overly exciting and I felt I still wasn't really "getting it." Then, one day, I kind of "got it" and it helped me put blogging, Twitter and LinkdIn in perspective to help me use them as a three-legged stool of sorts. So here's what I figured out…

Putting it all together

LinkedIn is my business presence, this blog is my business voice, and Twitter is my personal voice. They can all play nicely together, but each must play its own role.

LinkedIn is where I can connect on a business level, keep track of people as they move around the business world and have people learn more about my company. I link this blog to my LinkedIn profile because I post mostly about business-related things, but I don't link my Twitter account to my LinkedIn profile because I find my tweets to be less business-related and more personality driven.

This blog is where I write about mostly business-related issues as I described earlier. I do have new posts go out as a tweet because I think those who follow me on Twitter are likely interested in what I blog about. And as I said above, I also have my blog posts appear in my LinkedIn profile.

Twitter is emerging as more of my personal voice. I tweet some business-related items and links, and retweet from others when it makes sense, but for the most part Twitter is where I want to share things I like and have more of a dialog with people (albeit in short bursts, which is the very nature of Twitter). So if you want to know what I'm like in a business meeting, read this blog. If you want to know what I'm like over a beer, read my Twitter feed.


With all the said, there is one business purpose for which Twitter is proving to be very valuable and that's search. There is so much being said on Twitter that it would be hard to find any topic or event of consequence that doesn't get some tweets. By setting up saved searches I'm able to know, in real-time, when something of value to me is being tweeted. As a concrete example, that real-time knowledge recently allowed me to jump into a exchange between a journalist and news anchor about one of my products being featured on television that night. The journalist and I went from tweeting- to following each other and DMing (exchanging direct messages via Twitter between followers)- to emailing- to an interview with me that will soon be published. That happened because I was listening and able to engage instantly, while the topic was fresh.

Bottom line…

So is there a black and white rule for using these various tool and integrating them with one another? Certainly not. This is my story and it has evolved over time (and will likely continue to do so), and thousands (millions) of people will have their own story and that's the point. Find the way these tools work best for you, engage in a way that makes sense and most importantly, start listening.


A final note about how Facebook fits into all of this…for me, it doesn't. I've simply decided that I have the tools I need between this blog, LinkedIn and Twitter. Each serves a purposes and I don't believe they leave any holes for me. As Chris Brogan recently said in a webcast. he can post on his Facebook wall for friends to see or he can post on his blog or Twitter for all to find. So for friends and family Facebook may be a great tool, but for business it's not part of my mix.

I'd love to hear stories of how others have found their mix…