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Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Difference Between Twitter and Facebook & Why You Should Use Both

Social media is a term that is used in the online marketing world daily. Marketers are telling clients to sign-up for Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Some businesses will head home and sign-up right away but others are a little hesitant to sign-up for something new. We talk with businesses all of the time who ask us the same question, “what’s the difference between Twitter and Facebook and why should I sign-up?”

While people are a little shy to get started on a social network, many forget to keep in mind how much people around the world have come to rely on the internet and the tools it provides. As more and more businesses are starting to move into the online marketing world, it’s important that they have a presence on both Twitter AND Facebook.

Five Reasons You Should Use Both Twitter and Facebook

There are a variety of reasons why you should create a social media plan that allows you to dedicate a little bit of time each week to both of these social networks. Some people tend to group all social networks together and say it’s all the same thing. They’re wrong. Twitter and Facebook both have their differences and both can benefit your business in the long run.
1. Different audiences – Not everyone who uses Twitter is on Facebook and not everyone who uses Facebook is on Twitter. As of February 2011, more people ages 18-25 were on Facebook, while people ages 26-44 were much more prominent on Twitter. Who is your target audience?
2. Different uses - Twitter allows you to post 140 characters at a time, while Facebook allows you to post 420 characters at a time. This doesn’t mean you should automatically go to Facebook for more space. Twitter is great for posting articles, announcements and short updates (there are apps that will allow you to post longer updates that will open in a webpage). Facebook allows you to get into a little bit more detail, create events, post photos and more.
3. The ability to post updates to both - It will be an annoyance for anyone who follows you on both Twitter and Facebook, but if you have a limited amount of time to dedicate to social media each week, you can hook up Twitter to update when a new post is added on Facebook or vice versa.
4. Search engines like social media – All things in online marketing eventually come back to search engine optimization. Search engines such as Google and Bing do listen to what is going on with both Twitter and Facebook. If your Twitter timeline is public there is a good chance your tweets will get indexed. Recent changes to Facebook are allowing pages to be indexed. This allows  for more keywords and a better chance to draw users into your business.
5. It’s the next generation of marketing – Businesses have found that social media is free and easy to use. Instead of paying thousands of dollars to print post cards and mail them, people are relying on Twitter AND Facebook to get their messages out. As students are graduating college, they are using both to find jobs, learn more about a company and connect with their potential employers. Sorry older generation-the reality is the yellow pages are now hard to find and are more likely to be used as a doorstop than to find new business.

Still Not Convinced?

If you don’t currently have the amount of time needed to get started on Facebook and Twitter, help your business out by at least signing up for accounts. There have been numerous instances of people pretending to be a business on Twitter, when in reality the business isn’t even aware that it’s there. It’s better to have your business name reserved, so when you are ready to start using both social networks, you are all set to go.
You never know what kind of a response you may get. If people are looking for you on a social network, they may follow you so they know when you do updates. It’s worth the 15 minutes to signup. Trust us!

What Else Should You Use?

Of course, social media doesn’t stop at Twitter and Facebook, there are thousands of other networks out there. Not only should you find your niche social network, but there are a few other networks you should consider joining.
  1. LinkedIn - While it is considered a “professional” social network, LinkedIn can be a great place to drive new business. You never know who may be looking.
  2. Yelp - The best part of Yelp is that it gives customers a place to give an honest opinion of your business. They can check-in, leave reviews and even print coupons if you have a deal running. The more interactive it becomes, the more it becomes a social network people are using.
  3. Foursquare – While many consider it a social network for stalkers, Foursquare is a must for your business. You as a person do not need to use it, but there are a number of people who enjoy “checking in” to local businesses, stealing mayorships, finding tips, and getting deals.