MasseyMedia, Inc

Twitter vs. Facebook: You must choose a side

In the battle of social media, the two main contenders are Facebook and Twitter.

As difficult as it may be, you must choose a side. Not for all time, of course, but definitely for your next status update. How do you know what to post and where to post it? Does it even matter?

While it may seem there‘s little difference between Facebook and Twitter, let‘s evaluate the two.

Twitter allows you to send an update to anyone following you in 140 characters or fewer. It‘s a tool to be used for letting people know what you are doing or where you are in that moment, and invite them to join in the conversation through replies and hashtags.

This is why Twitter is extremely popular in urban areas where there is a lot going on.

It‘s also one-sided - you‘re not required to follow everyone who follows you, and vice-versa. Ashton Kutcher, the first Twitter user to reach one million followers, certainly doesn‘t follow back all of his nearly 10 million followers.

With the introduction of Timeline, first for Profiles and now for Pages, it‘s clear that Facebook is about building relationships.

Whether it‘s with friens, clients or other contacts, Facebook creates an environment to connect, communicate, and interact over time. Facebook is popular everywhere, not only in metropolitan areas.

Also, with Facebook, you get can get a little more liberal with your verbiage. Instead of the 140-character limit that Twitter presents, Facebook generously allows you to post up to 63,206 keyboard strokes. Instead of a few sentences, you could fit the first 20 chapters of the book of Genesis. Or 451.5 full tweets.

I‘m not sure why you would ever need to squeeze that much content into one update, but it‘s nice to know there‘s an option available should you ever need to post the entire script for Disney‘s ‘˜Bambi‘ twice.

The lifespan of an update is also an interesting thing to consider. Approximately 92 percent of engagement with a Tweet happens within the first hour after being tweeted. By comparison, a Facebook update stays in people‘s timelines and newsfeeds for much longer, and can reappear in newsfeeds months after it was originally posted.

Another discussion point is the speed of which your updates reach others. Once you send a Twitter update, it immediately goes to the feeds of your followers.

When you update your Facebook timeline, depending on a user‘s Facebook settings, it can take longer for them to see that update, and they may miss it altogether if they have not subscribed to certain updates from you.

Comparisons like these serve to show ways in which Facebook and Twitter are starkly different. This is something to keep in mind if you‘re posting as a company or business. Since the audiences can be so diverse, your marketing should be too.

Keep Twitter updates brief, relevant and in the moment. Your goal with Twitter followers should be to get in on the conversation and hopefully start some chatter among groups of users.

On Facebook, your updates can be used for building trust and contact over time, while strengthening relationships with current consumers and developing connections with potential clients. The heart of the content may be generally the same, but the packaging needs to be distinct.

Using Twitter and Facebook separately, not interchangeably, can work to reach a broad spectrum of people in different age and interest groups.

While it can seem like a battle between two sides, these social media tools can work together well, if distinctions are made and lines are not muddled. It‘s not necessarily about one being better than the other; it‘s about one being better than the other for the task at hand.

When presented with update-worthy news or content, ask yourself which would be the most appropriate and beneficial place to post it. And may the best network - for the moment, anyway - win!