I recently had an opportunity to speak to the Raleigh, NC chapter of the Women Presidents’ Organization about social media and how to leverage it for business. This astute group of women included owners of businesses ranging from environmental services to building construction to limousine rentals. The group began a lively debate about the relative merits and weaknesses of Facebook and LinkedIn.
Which is right for your business? It all depends.
In its current incarnation, LinkedIn is primarily geared towards business networking as opposed to the social networking focus of Facebook.
I would encourage any technology transfer office (TTO) to have a strong presence on LinkedIn. As we do at Fuentek, You should work hard to grow your network of LinkedIn contacts, and leverage those contacts for intellectual property marketing as well as for licensing, deal making, and other technology commercialization activities.
The fastest growing segment of Facebook users are people over 35. Because of its popularity with college students, universities have a strong presence on Facebook. If you work for a university TTO, a Facebook presence may be appropriate and even required.
But proceed with caution. Because of Facebook’s history as a personal social networking site, consider carefully how you present your TTO. Keep a professional online appearance.
Most importantly, keep business and personal separate—both for yourself and your employees. If a prospective licensee visits your TTO Facebook page, you don’t want them getting sidetracked by links to your interns’ spring break pictures.
In summary, build your online social media presence with the same care you use in presenting yourself and your TTO in person at a professional conference. Think of the online world as the new “in person” world and you’ll likely make the right choices for your business.
–By Karen Hiser