Move Over Traditional Media - Social Media Marketing Is Here To Stay!
Before everyone was constantly online, the main advertising venues for businesses were the tri-media which consisted of the newspapers, TV and radio. Audiences for these venues ranged from thousands to millions but it took big money to make it happen. The game is very much changed though; the internet basically created an information revolution that was so explosive that it literally reshaped the way we think and act—and how we decide to spend our money. You don’t have to be an expert in social media to observe how it has altered the consumer landscape; the internet essentially created a consumer base that was both global and localized, making it possible for small business owners to create an identity that can be just as visible as major brands. Thanks to social media, everything has the potential to go viral.
Social media marketing or SMM is certainly a buzzword these days, and for most business owners Facebook and Twitter are still the best platforms to get the word out about your company and what you can offer. One of the questions which we frequently get asked about is: which is better for marketing, Facebook or Twitter? The truth is, there’s really no short answer to that. Call it a cliché but the reality is that any comparisons between Facebook and Twitter is like the proverbial apples and oranges—two different fruits altogether.
For the sake of discussion, however, let’s explore some of their features.
How Facebook and Twitter are similar
From a marketing perspective, both Facebook and Twitter are excellent platforms for establishing an online presence on a low budget. It does not cost anything to set up profile pages and post status updates, so you basically have a free webpage that can be set up in a matter of minutes, with absolutely no need for savvy programming skills. Aside from being much cheaper than tri-media, Facebook and Twitter allows businesses to connect to users in a more personal and organic way. Companies can post status updates and receive customer feedback in real time, and because both venues encourage sharing, information about new offerings and promotions can be conveniently disseminated.
The Advantage of Facebook Marketing:
In terms of the number of users worldwide, Facebook beats Twitter hands down. Facebook has about three times as many users as Twitter, at roughly 900 million versus 300 million. This basically translates to a wider reach, but here we have to add a caveat: Facebook’s algorithm is very much driven by user interest. Unless your Facebook page consistently puts out quality posts that garners shares and likes, you’ll soon find your updates buried in the news feed traffic.
The good news is that Facebook does not impose a 140-character limit for status updates so you have room to be creative here. You can incorporate images, audio and video to make your posts more engaging; you can use opinion-driven content like surveys, polls, or mini-challenges. Facebook can also be very efficient; as long as you consistently come up with engaging updates, you don’t have to post more than once or twice a day because sharing and liking activities among users will organically increase your traffic and relevance.
The Facebook interface really lends itself to brand-consumer conversations and visual showcasing of content. The timeline feature conveniently archives multimedia information so that visitors to your page can quickly get a feel of the image that your business wants to project. And because conversation tracking is already built-in, it’s well-suited for communicating and handling customer service concerns.
Twitter, the Social Media Marketing Dark Horse:
While Facebook is undoubtedly a massive online community, Twitter’s more modest following does not necessarily leave it in the dust. In fact, despite its more limited features, Twitter has a few qualities that Facebook can’t rival. For example, Twitter pages are pretty much good to go ‘out of the box’, unlike Facebook pages which can seem sloppy without some tweaking with the cover image, an About Us page, etc.
Twitter also excels in short-burst messaging, making it ideal for highlighting brand-specific news such as announcements and news. It intuitively fits in with users who have short attention spans because it forces you to express your message as succinctly as possible. Twitter tends to be less intrusive than Facebook, which is why it’s easier to gain followers here. Also, it has to be noted that Twitter is better suited for mobile viewing than Facebook, one of the main considerations for businesses who have limited budgets for social media ad campaigns.
Unlike Facebook which imposes stricter limitations, business Twitter accounts can be managed more independently. For example, you can create multiple Twitter accounts to target specific niches, while Facebook can suspend or delete your page if you are caught setting up more than one. A lot of users also complain that Facebook management can all too easily decide to restrict or even terminate accounts and pages for various reasons, often without any warning or explanation.
Hashtags for Marketing Purposes:
And lastly, the use of hashtags is maximized in Twitter, although Facebook did recently include hashtag recognition as well. Twitter posts are also more searchable, which allows targeted and predictive responses. On Twitter, this functionality makes it possible to use automated programs that can detect possible sales leads. For example, if your business sells carpet shampoo, you can set it up so that anyone tweeting about “dirty carpet/s” will be sent a tweet with a discount code.
The bottom line is successful media marketing is not really a matter of Facebook or Twitter but rather, Facebook and Twitter since they reach potential markets in very different ways. Twitter is frequently characterized as the elevator pitch—an opportunity to introduce, define and sell something within a short window of opportunity. On the other hand, Facebook is the sit-down presentation, where you can really engage the audience on a deeper and more leisurely pace provided that you can draw them in. Many businesses use Facebook as their primary platform for market engagement, with Twitter mostly serving a broadcasting function.
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