As social media becomes ever more ubiquitous, businesses can no longer afford to exist without an online presence. More importantly, the “social” aspect of the internet means that a business requires more than just a website to stay ahead of its competitors: it needs an account with at least one major social networking site such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress, or Instagram. Smartphones like the BlackBerry Z10 Smartphone or the Samsung Galaxy make it easier than ever for users to receive updates and post to social media networks – so it’s important that, as a business, you can stay in contact with your potential customers. Facebook and Twitter are the most popular sites – but are they right for your business? Here is a brief overview of social media sites and information that will help you decide if you should focus your efforts on Twitter or Facebook
How Many Accounts Are Needed?
The number and type of online profiles you create on these websites will depend upon (a) your target clients and (b) your preferred marketing strategy. This article will focus on two of the biggest sites – Facebook and Twitter – but you should pay attention to the demographic of your clients and customers. Pinterest is a picture-sharing site with 5 times more female than male users. LinkedIn is aimed at working professionals who seek to network and find new jobs. Perhaps focusing on one of these sites is a good idea if your target audience can be found there.
Remember, the average online user expects to see not just a social media profile, but an active, responsive one at that. If you are a small business, then only create as many profiles as you can feasibly update on a daily basis.
The Advantages of Facebook
Facebook allows you to share a wide variety of content – news updates, web links, pictures, and videos. ‘Friends’ or ‘Fans’ of your profile will be able to interact with the company through ‘Likes’, ‘Comments’, mentions, and posts onto your profile wall. In that respect Facebook is very flexible.
Unlike Twitter, where updates and comments are limited to 140 characters, Facebook has room for longer (unlimited character length) announcements. Although you are able to link and share photographs on Twitter, a Tweet will appear in a condensed format that the user must click ‘Expand’ upon to see the photograph or link information. If you wish to attract followers’ attention with eye-catching images or interesting article headlines, then Facebook is the most appropriate site.
Facebook is certainly the biggest social network around. A recent report from the Pew Center indicates that 67 percent of people with internet access use Facebook – and people are increasingly using Facebook on their Smartphones and tablets.
The Advantages of Twitter
Twitter can be thought of as a series of conversations, much like text messaging. The site is useful from the perspective of Customer Services: disgruntled clients can be contacted directly, and happy clients can be thanked personally.
Twitter is easy to access from Smartphones – any modern phone like the Blackberry z10 or iPhone 5 comes with specialist apps to easily integrate Twitter use onto the device, meaning that its clients tend to use it on the go and can respond to new tweets very quickly. If your targeted demographic is made up of regular Smartphone users, it would make a lot of sense to focus on marketing via the company’s Twitter account.
Twitter is useful for soliciting quick feedback and interacting with clients. Questions such as “What is everybody doing this weekend?” or “How many of you are enjoying our newly-launched product?” are great for strengthening an online presence via Twitter. Hashtags are a useful way of promoting and monitoring information – if a business introduces a special hashtag for their annual conference (for example, #conference2013), it means that public responses to announcements can be tracked almost in real-time.
The final decision lies with the business, based upon their audience and their preferred style of client marketing. Both Facebook and Twitter bring their own particular strengths and weaknesses – it is up to you to decide which will work best for your business.