Archive for June, 2011

Facebook vs Twitter

We all know that Facebook and Twitter are the two most widely used social networks out there. How best to utilize them for your needs? Should you use one, none or both?

As with many things in the real world, there are no clear-cut answers. On a personal level, Facebook holds a greater appeal in its ability to connect with friends and maintain an ongoing dialogue. To this end, Facebook provides a rich set of tools – update, instant messaging, email as well as allowing sharing of images and video. This has allowed me to reconnect with many long lost friends and stay connected. Twitter, on the other hand, tends to be more focused. I find it shines for networking with people of similar interests and for tapping into trending topics. I tend to use it as a professional networking tool and to research useful first-hand information.

In this article, I will focus on how to utilize both for businesses. As a social media consultant, I frequently find myself having to craft a strategy for my clients that best leverages the strengths of both.

Facebook

In my opinion, a Facebook Page is a more interactive version of the traditional website. For many small businesses, Facebook Pages are taking over the function formerly served by their external websites. It makes it very easy to post updates and communicate with customers. Various Facebook applications help showcase media rich content within a simple layout which can be customized further. Pages are a useful vehicle to drive more traffic to the actual company website. Encouraging feedback, user content creation and content sharing can generate more “likes” and improve visibility.

Twitter

Tweets act like RSS feeds that can be broadcast to a wider audience, a powerful capability if you are looking for promotion. Twitter works really well in conjunction with Facebook or other social media tools. For instance, Twitter can be used as a recruitment tool for the Facebook page, a blog or a YouTube channel. As I mentioned before, it also makes it easy to tap into trending topics, participate in conversations and to make alliances that increase visibility. Success on Twitter is often measured by the follower base and number of re-tweets although in my opinion that’s a very basic yardstick. Additionally, mechanisms such as hashtags and links can improve the visibility of your tweets and allow easier discovery by other like minded folks.

Some Statistics

In terms of popularity, Facebook (not just business pages) leads over Twitter. It is nearing 700 million users compared to Twitter’s 300 million members.

Facebook vs Twitter Visitors. Courtesy: The Geek Club.

A share on Facebook reportedly generates more revenue than a tweet. A possible explanation is because a share comes with a higher level of trust and credibility, hence has more revenue generating power than a tweet from a stranger: A Facebook ‘share’ vs a Twitter ‘share’.

Facebook vs Twitter Revenue. Courtesy: SocialMediaToday.

Facebook or Twitter?

I think you have the answer already! 🙂 It depends on the nature of the business! However, you don’t really have to choose. Facebook and Twitter work really well together with one complimenting the other. All content can be posted on Facebook with links on Twitter to drive traffic to the Facebook page and eventually to the company website. However, for small businesses or non-profits with a limited budget, just a Facebook strategy could be sufficient especially if the business is community focused. For customer service oriented companies, Twitter works better because it provides concise, prompt feedback with specific links. For example, many banks are using Twitter for their customer service these days. As for retailers, a combination of the two is most beneficial, since it is easier to set up events or post promotions on Facebook that can then be broadcast on Twitter. For technical bloggers, online marketers, evangelists and public figures, Twitter is now a must.

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06 2011