ROI-minded executives worry social media requires a lot of effort for non-quantifiable returns. Rather than launching a broad-scale campaign across multiple platforms, many business leaders feel it's safer to experiment with one platform before going all-out.
The two power players are Facebook and Twitter. Both have record-setting usage statistics, and both provide tools for integration with other sites on the web. But which is right for your business? How are they the same, and how are they different?
What Facebook and Twitter Have in Common
Both sites allow you to advertise news and events. Both allow you to promote your blog, post news, link back to articles on your site, promote special offers, host giveaways, etc.
Both are free to use, and web surfers are much more likely to follow you on Twitter or like you on Facebook than they are to subscribe to your RSS feed or join your email list.
Finally, really good content has the potential to go viral on both platforms.
How Facebook and Twitter are Different
Beyond these things, Facebook and Twitter are two completely different animals.
Twitter allows you to post in bursts of 140 characters or less, Facebook gives you a lot more space.
Facebook is much bigger than Twitter and allows you to advertise on it if you like. On the other hand, Twitter is the media darling at the moment. But for some unobtrusive promoted tweets Twitter lacks traditional ads. Fewer ads means less page clutter, which means users are less likely to be distracted from your message.
Of course, the sheer size of facebook has the potential to put your brand in front of a larger audience. After all--ask yourself how many people you know are on Facebook? Just about everyone. Twitter is widely used, but not on the scale of Facebook.
However, the main reason people join Facebook is to connect with friends and family -- not to keep up with news on various businesses. Facebook is social media in the very purest form of social--people like to use Facebook for fun.
Meanwhile, people who join Twitter do so to follow topics of interest. You "follow" people on Twitter, but you "friend" people on Facebook. See the difference?
A lot of people hate to clutter their Facebook friend feeds with business information. But a lot of Twitter users want to follow your business specifically so they can receive information about industry news and trends.
This means that although your Twitter audience might be smaller, the quality of the audience may be higher.
Twitter has also grown into more of a micro-blogging platform, instead of Facebook's stream of personal status updates. Despite the fact that Twitter literally asks you "What's happening?" people will not follow you if all you do is answer that question. . . another reason Twitter is more suited for businesses who are disseminating relevant industry information.
To summarize, Twitter is more suited for business use because it is a micro-blogging platform organized around topics, not a friend-to-friend social site like Facebook.
Even though Facebook is bigger, your business will likely find a higher quality audience on Twitter--and it will probably be easier to get Twitter followers than Facebook friends if you post good content around a specific theme.
Question: Which do you prefer? Leave a comment by clicking here.
Jennifer Null is the marketing director at Vergent Communications, a business internet and digital phone service provider committed to saving your company money. T1 service is available nationwide from $249 a month.