Are you ready to jump on the social networking bandwagon? Well unless you have been living under a proverbial rock for the last 8 years, you should know that Twitter is just as large and important to your business as Facebook.
If you read my 5 Online Marketing Trends & Strategies for 2015 you would notice that social media didn’t necessarily make an appearance. However, if I would have wrote a sixth, it would have been that small businesses will be getting more selective about their use of social media. So which of the top two heavy hitters should you devote the majority of your time on?
Twitter and Facebook both enable people to share information, discuss a wide range of topics, and build relationships. If Facebook is said to be like the local coffee shop where people can gather and chat with others on the way into the office, then Twitter is the daily drive into the office.
First, let’s crunch the numbers a bit and see where they stand up to each other in a toe to toe comparison.
(Graphics and statistics credited to: StatistcBrain)
While Facebook has more than double the active users as it’s counterpart Twitter, Facebook also allows their algorithm to determine which content you see in your news feed and how often that same content shows up. This could make it more challenging for you as a small business owner to get your content seen by the masses, especially with their new “pay to play” policy.
Twitter on the other hand, doesn’t have such algorithm restrictions. In fact just as of last night, my brother-in-law at the ripe old age of 47 boasted that he believed Twitter to be more in his age group. He was in fact correct. Only 29% of Mellinials (15-34 years of age) use Twitter.
To determine which social media platform is best for your business, you first need to nail down where your target audience spends their time online. Are your ideal customers on Twitter or Facebook? Where are your competitors spending the majority of their efforts? A little upfront market research goes a long way in helping you to be more competitive and seize more of the opportunities.
Think of Facebook as a news channel that runs 24/7 that you can watch with your friends and customers at your local coffee shop. While Twitter is more like a news ticker that flashes and scrolls at the bottom of the screen. One inherently requires more brain power or bandwidth to consume than the other.
Facebook offers a neighborhood type of environment that invites users to a platform for deeper discussions and threaded conversations, business pages with varied types of content, and a list of apps a few thousand miles long that can turn Facebook itself into a marketers wet dream. Twitter can be used as a marketing tool as well, however it’s strength is far more focused on what’s happening right now in real time than sharing in deep conversations.
As stated earlier, you must also consider your audience as well as their needs, wants, and expectations.
Facebook users have come to expect their feeds to be shared with “suggested posts” but they look towards these posts to be useful, meaningful, and entertaining experiences that enrich their Facebook time. They also trust that these posts to be personalized and geared towards their interests.
Twitter on the other hand is a much more open platform. There is no need to send a friend request to someone on Twitter. As long as the profile is public anyone can read and follow it. A follow is much like a “friend” on your Facebook feed. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters, thus you will need to keep your messages short and sweet. Given the speed that an average Twitter timeline moves you will also need to make your post stand out in some way.
Weighting your choices
So which platform is right for your business – Facebook or Twitter? The answer lies in some market research, what type of business you have, what your budget is, and of course how you tend to interact with your consumers.
Due to it’s more personal approach, Facebook is typically the way that most small businesses tend to lean. However, with the recent change in their algorithm you should beware that the days of setting up a free page and throwing out a few posts here and there in the hopes of reaching your target audience are gone. You will need to open your wallet now if you wish to gain new followers.
There are obviously some key differences between the two social platforms that make them appealing to different types of businesses. If at all possible, you should try to leverage both networks. But if time and resources are both limited, one would suggest that you test both. Set up an account on both networks and test each out.
Which social network works best for you?