Twitter or Facebook? Which one is better for social marketing?
We believe that our shiny new site isn’t just a place for Jigsaw to share our work, opinions, thoughts and experiences as an idea agency. It is another tool to help our clients and interested others navigate through a hyperconnected and fast-paced world where we have 140 characters/10 seconds to get someone’s attention. When one of our clients sent us Eunju Lie’s “When it Comes To Marketing, Twitter Destroys Facebook” in Business Insider and asked for our opinion, we thought to share our answer with everyone since it’s likely that many people might have the same question.
How do you decide which platform is a better fit for your organization? We’re going to provide some general guidelines here; however, this is not to say that there are not exceptions. There are many variables and not “one right answer” that applies to all marketing scenarios.
First, define the goal. What are you trying to achieve with your participation in these social media tools? Increase awareness? Traffic? Donations? Sales? Loyalty? Build a community? Provide customer support? Position individuals within the organization as thought leaders?
Twitter is generally a stronger platform for:
- Driving awareness, because of the way people stumble upon interesting content and decide to follow the originator of the content.
- Providing customer support, because of its “now” nature. However, some brands, like Samsung, are exploring the opportunities to provide customer service on Facebook too.
- General online reputation management/thought leadership strategies, including media relations.
Facebook is generally more powerful when used to:
- Engage and involve loyal customers.
- Empower ambassadors.
Both platforms are quite effective for:
- Building relationships and loyalty among existing customers/users: especially for passion brands. People like Facebook Fan Pages because they already like the brand IRL; this is really the sweet spot of Facebook as a tool. However, a positive, fast response to a customer on Twitter can convert a dissatisfied customer to an advocate.
- Event promotion: Both tools can be effective here, depending on who the audience for the event is. Twitter is the better option if the audience is tech savvy individuals or to capture the attention of people who are making last minute plans. Facebook is much better for general audiences. Facebook also has a live stream box in partnership with Ustream, which can be used to broadcast events.
- Fundraising: Twitter can also be an outstanding fundraising tool, because of its inherent nature as a grass roots conversation. However, Facebook, too, can be used very effectively for fundraising purposes. You can empower people to tell your story on Twitter or use Facebook Causes to increase donations.
- Traffic: One the one hand, Google ranks tweets in real-time search, which is how Twitter can help you increase traffic to your website, as long as you don’t spam your followers with self-promotional tweets only. Remember to write for the user, not just the search engines. On the other hand, Facebook drives more social traffic to websites. Although Facebook drives more social media traffic to websites, it is important to understand that the traffic doesn’t come from a link on a corporate Facebook Fan Page, but from the links people share with their friends. You can take advantage of this by creating amazing content and making it easy for the visitor to share the content.
What about driving sales? Tougher question.
Dell Computers has sold >$2MM in computers through it’s Twitter profile; however, it is important to note that they spent several years building social credibility online before that occurred. It didn’t happen overnight.
This year we also saw the rise of f-commerse. Brands like Levi’s use Facebook’s social plugins to increase reviews of products, which also increases sales. Disney Store has a store locator on its Facebook page. Munich allows fans to customize sneakers on Facebook and buy them from the site. Pampers’ fans can buy products straight from the Facebook page. The social giant can increase not only online sales, but also offline. Many fashion brands show their newest collections online and drive foot traffic to stores.
You can engage and involve (potential) customers and develop relationships with them on Twitter to increase sales. Or you can provide utility by moving the shopping experience to Facebook.
Where does your audience want to engage?
The next important factor in selecting a social network for marketing purposes is, of course, identifying the audience and understanding how it uses these platforms. Does the audience prefer Facebook to Twitter? Does it use both platforms? If so, what are the differences in behavior? What kind of content does it prefer to consume? What kind of content does it prefer to share? Why does it share?
One in ten people on the planet has a Facebook account and some people use it more often than others. But Facebook is the network for our IRL relationships: people we already know, like and trust, not to make new relationships, which is what Twitter is great for. The micro-blogging platform is also used to nurture already existing relationships, but its users are much more likely to engage with strangers with similar interests and discuss products, services and brands. Twitter users also tend to be younger, urban and more technology savvy than Facebook users.
It is important to note the increasing numbers of people accessing both social networks via mobile devices which affects how much time they spend on these networks, how often they go online, what content they are more likely to view and share.
Forrester Research provides useful information on how different demographics use social media in its Technographics Profiling Tool. However, there isn’t yet a lot of concrete information on specifically how different audience segments use the two major social networks.
Twitter and Facebook as Advertising Platforms
Another opportunity both networks offer is advertising. Although Facebook approaches ads more traditionally than Twitter, it allows for very narrow targeting so you can reach those five people in Richland Center who are under 30 and interested in collaborative consumption. Twitter’s advertising platform is based on resonance and engagement. It provides more than one advertising option: promoted tweets, promoted accounts and promoted trends.
Facebook and Twitter are both great tools, what makes a difference is how you are going to use them and how many resources you have available because it is not enough to just have a Facebook Fan Page or a Twitter account. What is even more important is that Facebook and Twitter are not the only social platforms. Instead of asking “Should we use Facebook or Twitter?”, ask “Which platform(s) serves our needs best?” and “What is our strategy for how we will engage and involve?”
Enough from us. What is your answer? Twitter or Facebook? Which one is better for social marketing?