Most businesses have realized by now that social media (SM) is the new frontier in marketing. Of the many choices, Facebook and Twitter have become the standout social media platforms for most new marketing initiatives. With millions of users worldwide, both Twitter and Facebook are excellent avenues to pursue and are quickly becoming an essential part of a good marketing plan.
Twitter and Facebook both have their pros and cons. If you must choose only one of these avenues, think carefully about how your customers/clients communicate with you before deciding on one or the other. Weíre going to look at just the "free" aspects of this type of marketing. (These will cost time and resources, but not actual cash like Facebook ads or promoted tweets.)
For the most part, Facebook has established itself as the place to connect and reconnect with friends and family. While it is possible to have an "open" profile that allows strangers to find you, Facebook users are looking for people and products they already know. Brand new connections are more likely made through referrals rather than on a whim or search by the user. Your challenge is to make your repeat customers and clients return to your page again and again and subsequently refer others to do the same.
You can do this by making a special landing page for your "fans" that has premium content or special offers, set up a "Discussions" tab that allows people to chat about different aspects of your business, even set up special "Events" like store openings, product launches, free days, symposiums, etc. Most importantly, post interesting comments, links, photos, and videos. Your main aim with social media in general is to get conversations going and keep your audience interested. Research shows that people are more likely to remain on your page/site if you have pictures and videos. So make your page as visual as you can!
While Twitter users may initially connect with those they know "in real life" the format is much more open to finding people and products through shared preferences. Twitter users participate in chats, look for keywords, and can peruse the general stream to find new connections.
While both Twitter and Facebook are very immediate, allowing users to comment and respond in real time, Twitter is the more quicksilver and open of the two. The 140 character limit and rapidly renewing stream means itís easy for your target audience to miss the messages youíve tweeted. Unless they are searching for you specifically within the stream, your message comes and goes within minutes.
So, multiple variations of your message may be necessary to get the most exposure. Donít tweet the same thing over and over again; not only is it annoying to your followers, itís against Twitterís rules. Take the time to research when your target audience is on Twitter and plan accordingly. Be aware that if you tweet the same type of message more than three or four times a day, you run the risk of looking like a spammer instead of a business offering something of value. Twitter is excellent for sending out exclusive coupons and offers, fun nuggets of information, and links that lead to a blog or broader conversation.
The biggest difference between marketing on Twitter and Facebook is that they are often two completely different sets of people! Not everyone on Facebook is on Twitter, and vice versa. In fact, most people have a preference for a particular platform and spend more time on one or the other. (The exception, of course, being the Social Media geeks out there like myself, who constantly switch back and forth.) For some, the 140 character tweet is all they need for communication. They want a quick snapshot before they move on to another subject. The tweet may be a lead in; the "appetizer" before they link to the website that is the "buffet" or even visit your physical location. Others are looking for a more in-depth conversation from the beginning, and may not want to move any further than your Facebook page for information.
If at all possible, make both Facebook and Twitter a part of your overall marketing plan. There are plenty of free and cheap tools out there to streamline your efforts and optimize results, so itís not as daunting as it sounds. As you test your marketing, you may well find that one platform is more suited to your needs, or that each platform performs different functions within your marketing plan. SM marketing is still a developing area, so feel free to experiment, be creative, and have fun!