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Why Twitter Has Overtaken Linkedin As The Sales Social Network Of Choice

Facebook Twitter Linkedin logoThe article in Forbes captured my attention – “Twitter Overtakes LinkedIn As Number 1 Social Media Site For Salespeople” by Mark Fidelman. It does strike you at first as a little implausible and probably a headline with more bite than the article. But the headline is backed up with a sales survey and a bunch of commentary. I think what is is really saying boils down to one thing – humanity.

Twitter shows the whole person

The main argument of the post is (1) that Twitter has become “more valuable than Linkedin when it came to sales prospecting” (based on a survey) and (2) this is because it’s easy to use, quick, and a mammoth source of information (my interpretation of the 3rd party comments included in the article). Both Linkedin and Twitter have 300m+ members so each represents a massive source of information.

If you’re surprised, we are too. Yet it’s clear that Twitter is a preferred platform for salespeople, says the author.

Yes at first glance I’m surprised, but not entirely surprised once I started reading the post as it prompted a few latent thoughts of mine – give it a read yourself.

Several of the comments point to a factor which I think is the key reason for this shift to Twitter. It’s nothing to do with the massive increase of spam on Linkedin, or the lack of any effective way to search activity streams or groups for sales prospecting, or the endless push of content with no reciprocal way to “pull” what you need from the interactions which are taking place. No it’s something different.

Linkedin’s push to become a publishing platform has transformed it into the Facebook of business – but without the human connection – the humanity. On Facebook we are with people sharing their personalities and who they are as real people. On Linkedin we are sharing business stuff with a fraction of a person – that fraction they call their “business face”. After all we are implored by experts far and wide not to show our whole self on Linkedin and to separate our business face from our whole person. That’s the fatal flaw in Linkedin which makes Twitter the social site of choice for salespeople.

Consider the following comments from the article:

  • The fact that Twitter surpassed Linkedin as the #1 social media sales tool is not surprising to me because that is where the relationship typically begins. Professionals are more protective over their LinkedIn connections than their twitter exchanges. (Vanessa Di Mauro)
  • “I’m shocked that Twitter has surpassed LinkedIn. That said, I can typically learn more personal things about a buyer on Twitter than LinkedIn — who she follows (business professionals, my competitors & partners, influencers, comedians, politicians, athletes, news outlets, charitable organizations) who follows her, what she tweets about, who she retweets, what lists she’s a member of and subscribes to.
    I use Twitter to not only research, but ENGAGE. (Jill Rowley)
  • Twitter is the main driver of social selling and will continue to get farther ahead. The only way to properly engage naturally at all levels is through twitter engagement. Where else can you start a conversation with a fortune 500 CEO and get into a conversation with in minutes? Social selling is all about getting involved in conversations, at the right time, with the right people. No other platform allows you to do that. (Jack Kosakowski)

I’m biased I supposed and using this as selective evidence but given my bias what this reinforces to me is that business people, and especially business leaders, who labour over how to split their business and personal lives on social, and how to maintain their separate personas and images, are increasingly distancing themselves from the opportunities which social technologies offer. If people are searching for you and your products and expertise on Twitter and you’re not present, except as a brand logo or brand messenger, then you’re doing your business a disservice.

Be yourself on Twitter and you’ll do fine. Linkedin isn’t going away and it has a specific useful purpose built on one aspect of who you are, although being more human on Linkedin is also OK in my book. But you need to be where the fisherfolk are fishing, and for social prospecting that’s increasingly Twitter.

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Walter Adamson 

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