Differences in Facebook and Twitter as Social Media Marketing Tools

Post Frequency

Popular Facebook Pages typically post one or two updates every day. Whether a Page’s fans see that post is determined by the Facebook news feed EdgeRank algorithm. This is designed to show users the most relevant posts in the default Top News tab of the news feed, though users can also select to view a more comprehensive stream of updates in the Most Recent tab of the new feed.

The goal for marketers with Facebook Page posts is to attain the most Likes and comments, which increase a post’s EdgeRank, and drive re-shares of posts, which expose branded content to the friends of fans. Therefore, marketers should compose posts that they think will be the most engaging for their audience.

Popular Twitter profiles typically post much more frequently, sending out closer to a half dozen tweets a day. Twitter’s stream displays tweets in strict reverse chronological order. A profile followers are therefor only likely to see the tweets if they’re reading Twitter within a small timeframe after an update is published, or if it is retweeted by a high volume of people they follow.

The goal for marketers with Twitter updates is therefore to publish as much solid content as possible in order to catch followers when they’re reading. The real-time nature of Twitter also favors breaking news. The first profile to post about breaking news or something important will often receive many retweets. Therefore marketers should try to turn as much relevant content about their brand into tweets as possible, and move quickly when posting about topics that appeal to a wide audience.

Brand Presence vs. Broadcast Channel

Overall, however, Facebook appears to be most focused on reinforcing its focus on private, real-world connections through ongoing improvements to features like Groups and Chat. It is also focused on providing a platform for full-featured brand presences, where business can host engagement applications, contests, and rich media content as well as distribute updates. Twitter has meanwhile settled into becoming a broadcast channel for brands with some conversational functionality.

Facebook Is a Chore; Twitter Is a Hobby

Everybody is on Facebook these days — they currently receive over 1.15 billion users according to analyst reports. Users are encouraged to enter their real personal information and connect to family and friends. Because of this, many users feel they can’t post certain content for risk of offending someone like Grandma. By contrast, Twitter allows a level of anonymity; you can be yourself, but you’re free to create an avatar as well. No matter how well behaved we are, there’s always a difference between you in public and you in front of your mother.

This difference leads to Twitter providing access to certain levels of honest feedback from consumers that they won’t get from Facebook. If a consumer complains about a company on Facebook, for example, they’re likely to keep it confined to a single post on either their personal timeline or the company’s. With Twitter, a single tweet directly to the company provides the same impact in a more concise manner, especially when #hashtags are used.

Facebook Is Reactive; Twitter Is Proactive

Facebook’s most common use is to keep people informed of what’s happening. It’s become a scrapbooking site, where people archive important moments in their lives. Twitter focuses on speeding things up, often becoming a source in and of itself.

The Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street are two notable movements that had their start on Twitter. Gossip columnists have direct and unfiltered access to thoughts of celebrities and other notable people. Journalists from every vertical of every major media outlet have flocked to the site hoping to catch a hot news story happening in real time. Both corporations and governments also monitor Twitter trends, with many utilizing it as an avenue to connect with the public.

Facebook Is Cluttered; Twitter Is Sleek

Back in the day when MySpace was popular, users were given options to design their own page layout. It was a great idea in theory, but the site soon became overcrowded with glitchy pages that took forever load because of animated “bling” banners. The initial draw of Facebook is that it removed all the garbage and provided a clean layout. Twitter has become the social networking site of choice for people wanting to remove the glitz and glamour to focus on the information.

Although Twitter does provide picture and video solutions to compete for social media traffic, they’re collapsed within the timeline. The site functions like a popup book, giving you efficient access to the information you want, the way you want. Rather than bombarding you with pictures and videos of meals and babies, you have the option to click only on links that look interesting to you. Scrolling is much faster, and user satisfaction is maximized.

Facebook and Twitter share some similarities but these are considerably outweighed by the differences between the two networks and their audiences. Marketers looking for success on both must invest time and expertise into tailoring strategies that fit within the unique constraints of each.


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