Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Simplifying Social Media: Twitter

Twitter. Like Facebook, it has taken the world by storm. In fact, the two platforms are often mentioned together in the same sentence. But while Facebook and Twitter share similarities, in reality they each have their own focuses and benefits.

So what are the advantages of Twitter?

  • Facebook is about establishing deeper connections. Twitter, however, is about real-time news and engagement. In essence, Twitter is the social media version of the newspaper. Thus the 140 character limit on posts. People are looking for information, not lengthly posts about someone's day.
  • Because Twitter is about information, the people you engage with (i.e. those you are following or who follow you) are more likely to be interested in your area of expertise. So not only can you cultivate and maintain a very targeted market, but you can connect and network with other people and institutions in your area. (See the "Twitter Basics" video below to learn about hash tags, which are used to easily make those connections.) 
  • Because Twitter is about real-time news, messages can be shared and passed on much quicker than on Facebook. Thus, if you want to share time-senstive news, or have a piece of information go viral (i.e. become extremely popular in a short amount of time), Twitter would be the optimal choice.
  • Twitter is more business-focused than Facebook. A recent study by @danzarella has shown that the peak day to post on Facebook is Saturday, while Twitter's peak day is Wednesday. In addition, the best time to post on Facebook is noon, while for Twitter it is 5pm. Again, Twitter's audience is seeking to make connections in their areas of interest, rather than for general recreation.

Does this mean that you shouldn't use Facebook? Or that you should use Twitter instead of Facebook? Not at all! As we explored earlier, Facebook has many advantages. With over 800 million users, it's the largest social media platform in existence. So if nothing else, your business should be on Facebook.

The question is, would Twitter be advantageous for you also? For most businesses, the answer is "yes."  After all, we could all benefit from a more targeted audience and faster information sharing. Nevertheless, take the following Action Step to ensure Twitter is right for you.

Action Step: To gain a further understanding of Twitter, watch the videos below (especially the "Twitter Basics" video). Then consider your business, business goals, and the advantages listed above. Would your business gain from using Twitter? If so, place a checkmark next to the Twitter logo on your Social Media Strategy Guide.

Create a Twitter Account:

Twitter Basics:

Helpful Books:

Twitter Marketing For Dummies

Helpful Links:

Official Twitter Tour

Official Twitter Basics

Official Twitter 101: Getting Started