Thoughts on Twitter Versus Facebook for Business

By Mikal E. Belicove|For|October 19, 2010

I’m of the opinion there are two camps when it comes to online marketing and the use of social media to drive business messaging and customer action:

Sure, many businesses display the blue-based badges for both Facebook and Twitter on their homepage, which suggests that they maintain an active profile on both platforms. But if you take the time to analyze their efforts, you’ll find that in most cases, only one profile is kept current. And it’s that profile that might stand a chance of producing positive measurable results.

Oh, and while we’re on the topic: Don’t think for one moment that automatically sending your Facebook status updates or blog posts to Twitter — or vice versa — means you’re keeping either of those social media platforms up to date. In fact, if that single action accounts for half or more of what you do on Facebook or Twitter, it’s a sign of laziness — not to mention being out of touch.

So when someone asks me why Twitter doesn’t produce the same type of results for their business as Facebook, or they want to know how they can use Twitter to lift sales and grow their business, I tell them they’re asking the wrong question. The best way to determine which social networking platform is best for your business and then how to use it starts with having a clear understanding of who your customers are; where it is online that your customers choose to gather and why; and what exactly it is that motivates your customers to act.

Once you have that information in hand, you’ll likely have the answer to your question.

What’s important to know is that these two platforms are inherently different. These days, for instance, pretty much everybody knows what Facebook is. The same can’t be said about Twitter. And therein lies one of many challenges facing the businesses that choose that platform. Put simply, anytime you have to stop to explain to your customers how to use a service, in addition to why they should use it, you’ve lost them.

Other challenges associated with using Twitter include:

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