The Net and the Spear – Twitter and LinkedIn

In Aaron Ross’ Predictable Revenue, he defines three types of lead generation. They’re seeds, nets and spears.  The two we’ll be focusing on are Twitter (the net) and LinkedIn (the spear). Historically, Twitter has been all about real-time conversation and real-time status updates. On Twitter people are having conversations about what they’re reading, conferences they’re going to, all the while looking to connect with influencers and thought leaders. LinkedIn has been more of a resume store, a static database of who people are, what their job titles have been and their employment background. Both are at the forefront for connecting professionals, so what makes them different?

Conversations

With the introduction of it’s own newsfeed, LinkedIn has slowly evolved from just a database to an engagement-oriented network. However, even with the addition of groups, the conversations happening on LinkedIn fall short of those on Twitter. Because it is the spear in this metaphor, LinkedIn is fabulous at connecting you with specific people that you have sought out directly. In most cases, you’re connecting with people you already know and engaging with them.

Twitter is all about what’s happening now. It’s centered around what people are thinking and doing in the present. More importantly, conversation isn’t limited to the people you’re acquainted with. Twitter, being the net in this scenario, is inbound marketing. You and your company are focused on getting relevant content out to your followers and engaging with them on social media. This is where the importance of real-time conversation comes into play, as you are able to search Twitter using keywords to discover like-minded individuals who are discussing the topics you care about and start a conversation immediately, regardless of if you used to work with them or you met at a conference.

Data

LinkedIn takes the cake when it comes to data. It knows who you are, where you’ve worked, what skills you have, where you’re located, your exact job title, your seniority; I could go on and on.

With Twitter, it’s more of a gamble.  The extensive data provided by LinkedIn is replaced by a user’s bio confined to 160 characters.

Lead Generation

Being the spear, thus outbound prospecting, LinkedIn is great for lead generation when you know exactly what you’re looking for. An example of this would be if you know your target account is Pepsi and you want to find out who the right person to contact within this company is. LinkedIn will provide you with the information you need. What’s more is that LinkedIn will tell you if you have any connections to employees that work at Pepsi who could help you get in touch with the right person. Another example would be you’re looking for people who are marketing managers at companies who have 11-50 employees and are located in Seattle. Once again LinkedIn would triumph.

When you have a high value customer and a targeted notion of who they are, LinkedIn is the perfect database lookup tool.

With Twitter you’re able to be broader. You’re able to search people’s bios and conversations in order to determine if they’re looking for a service you can provide and engage with them directly, regardless of if you have a common connection or not. Thus, Twitter is great for finding people who would be interested in your product or service that you don’t already know about.

Search

When searching on LinkedIn for users, say content strategists, it’ll be difficult to decipher which ones have a need you can fulfill. Instead, you’ll just have a very long list of people who are employed as content strategists with no real idea of their interests and what they’re reading and thinking about. Thus, no solid way to begin a conversation.

With Twitter, you can search for content strategists and really start to see where their passions lie. For those who users, who seem like they could be your ideal buyer persona, send them an eBook or webinar, enter into a conversation and ask them a question.

Marketing and Sales

In terms of marketing, there isn’t a huge draw for spending a lot of time and energy on LinkedIn. It’s still difficult to get likes and followers on your LinkedIn page and promoted posts and general advertising on LinkedIn is still incredibly expensive. From a sales perspective, and you know exactly which accounts you want to hit, LinkedIn is a great help.

Just the price of advertisements on Twitter makes it more appealing to marketers as well as how easy it is to engage with prospective and current customers. As a salesperson, if you want to build yourself up as a thought leader and influencer, Twitter is the place to go.

Conclusion

While LinkedIn has a larger amount of people, the culture of LinkedIn doesn’t necessary welcome messages and inquiries from random companies. This is why using these two networks in conjunction can offer you the best of both worlds. You’re able to find your ideal customers on Twitter by using inbound marketing then connect with them on LinkedIn by sending them a message with InMail (premium accounts) or a request to connect. Using LinkedIn to send messages allows you to not only have more than 140 character to get your message across, but also allows you to portray yourself as a professional, something LinkedIn is all about. Thus, the strengths and weaknesses of both networks cancel each other out when you work in both Twitter and LinkedIn into your sales and marketing strategy.

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