Facebook vs Twitter in business

What is the value of Facebook over Twitter? Is there a difference? When do you use one or the other or both? The ultimate decision about which social network to use lies with your company culture, goals and target customer. Nonetheless, it’s important to recognize that you cannot choose “none of the above” if you want to survive the new digital economy. Therefore, the question is which do we choose and how do we begin?

Facebook began as a social networking tool for college students. Launched in 2004 in response to MySpace (which linked young people together throughout their high school years), Facebook targeted the student entering a college campus. In the early days, it was a highly social network, similar to MySpace.

Twitter, on the other hand, began as a way for people to communicate fast and in short bites. The founders had no idea that the platform would take off the way it did. Begun as a way to simply say to fellow workers, friends and colleagues what was on your mind at any given moment, Twitter soon became a powerful communication tool.

Knowing how the two platforms began helps you understand the strengths of each and how you might best capitalize on those strengths.

Both Facebook and Twitter effectively target the population of 35 and younger. Facebook, however, currently boosts a significant rise in the number of boomers using the platform. As far as consumer use goes, however, for business to consumer (B2C) purchases, the demographics are similar. Both attract mid-to-older players, with higher education and income.

The value of Facebook:

• Primarily a social site

On Facebook, you can share as much or as little personal information as you’d like. You can post photos of yourself and your family or of your company and employees. Facebook gives you an opportunity to create a personal as well as professional profile of who you are. People learn more about you as a person. In sales we talk about the know, like, and trust factor before a sale is made. Businesses that focus on other businesses (B2B) as clients understand this factor. Facebook gives you a great opportunity to let down some barriers and help your business customer learn more about you.

• Versatility

Facebook allows you to set up a personal profile, a professional profile, a business page or a fan page. You have all kinds of choices for putting yourself and your business in front of your customers. People like to feel part of a business. You can enable that by setting up a fan page for your business or for a unique product that you offer.

• Facebook ads

For business, Facebook gives you the opportunity to purchase a pay-for-click ad to target a unique niche.

The value of Twitter:

• Speed and real time

Twitter’s biggest strength is its speed. When you Tweet something, it goes out to masses of people immediately and in the moment. That is why it has become the world’s roving reporter. When things happen around the world, Tweets start pouring in. To get a message out quickly to lots of people, Twitter reigns king.

• Information and Research

On Twitter, you get fast information and links to blogs all the time. If you are curious about what is happening in your industry, Twitter will keep you up-to-date quickly. If you’re curious about what people are saying about your industry or your business, Twitter will tell you.

• Versatility of response

Both Facebook and Twitter give you a versatility of response. You can respond to the entire population in Twitterville when you post a Tweet. On Facebook, your status updates go to all your friends. People can see what you are up to or what is going on in your life all at once. Both Twitter and Facebook give you the option to send a private message that goes directly to that person. On Twitter, however, messages are more public than they are on Facebook. Wall posts on Facebook go to all your friends and all the friends whose wall you posted on.

There are many more value differences between Twitter, Facebook and the other social networks. Ultimately, you must look at each platform and decide how you can create a social media strategy for your business.

About the Author: Dr. Joan Curtis is a nationally known communications coach, certified by the International Coaches Federation. She has over 20 years experience as a trainer and educator. She has taught communication skills and presentation skills to leadership groups throughout the country.  She is the author of two books: Managing Sticky Situations at Work: Communication Secrets for Success in the Workplace, and Strategic Interviewing: Skills and Tactics for Savvy Executives. Her web sites include: http://www.TotalCommunicationscoach.com and http://www.ManagingStickySituationsatWork.com

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