Recently, I have seen a lot of smaller business pages that I feel have been completely mishandling and mismanaging their Twitter presences. For them, sparsely updating their Facebook page and then having that post to Twitter has been perfectly adequate for their Twitter pages.
Often, when I see that, I shake my head in amazement. You have over 300 followers, yet you can’t bother to provide them with different, useful content through Twitter?
And not only is this mentality doing their followers a huge disservice, it is also completely missing the point of Twitter for businesses. Twitter is not, I repeat, not, the same as Facebook, and neither should they be treated as such. Here are just a few reasons why Facebook and Twitter accounts shouldn’t be treated as the same, and why businesses certainly shouldn’t be content with simply ‘posting to Twitter’:
Twitter Is Much More Concise
Those often long-winded messages and updates that businesses post on Facebook typically run well over the length of the 140-character limit that has become the staple of Twitter. Twitter is about just what its name implies — short, witty or interesting tweets that are meant to grab the attention to individuals trying to weed through their streams.
And yet, I seem to frequently find businesses and other Twitter accounts which are perfectly okay with their Twitter messages being cut-off midway through, with an ellipse (find out abo…) at the end, and a link that only leads users back to their Facebook page to finish the message.
What the smart, opportunistic businesses do is delicately craft and cater their messages to Twitter. Certainly, it’s okay to post about similar things between both Facebook and Twitter, but the exact, same thing? That just suggests that your business is either A. lazy, or B. not creative.
Twitter is Far More Open Than Facebook
Twitter has a unique advantage over Facebook for businesses in that it isn’t nearly as closed off for them as Facebook often is. What I mean by that is that businesses are able to better track down conversations regarding their brand or relevant events much more easily on Twitter than on Facebook. Twitter search is an extremely robust tool, and the fact that you can reply to anyone’s messages regardless of whether or not you are following them is can be a huge asset to attentive businesses.
Unfortunately, most businesses aren’t very attentive when it comes to Twitter. Certainly, they may update it, but a lot of the time when other people mention their business — through a hashtag, or reply or simply by the name — they aren’t necessarily monitoring Twitter enough to make note of that.
And that could potentially be a huge opportunity lost. Say, for example, someone is interested in going out, and they ask your business if anything is going on tonight. But instead of receiving a response stating that you are running a drink special all night, or something along the lines of that, they receive nothing. As a result, your business missed out on a potentially huge opportunity to capitalize on their (and subsequently their friends) interests.
Twitter Is Mostly About Broadcasting
And while there is certainly plenty of opportunity to engage with individuals through Twitter, it is still essentially a medium through which businesses and individuals broadcast. For reference, just look at the NYTimes Twitter stream.
Facebook, on the other hand, is about engaging with individuals. The best small business pages get the most out of their Facebook accounts by actively engaging with fans of their pages, by providing them with interesting content and by responding to their posts and concerns.
Which is why that same content that you post on Facebook can’t be posted, as is, on Twitter. The two social networks serve two entirely separate purposes, and thus must be treated as such. Twitter should be the network through which all of your links and content that you think will receive the most clicks and overall interest are posted. Facebook, on the other hand, should be the network through which all of your emotionally appealing content — such as photos and video — should be posted.
But even these recommendations only just scratch the surface of the differences between these two ubiquitous social networks. There are far more that separate them than just the content which is typically shared between the two. Even in those cases, there may be some overlap between the two.
The most important thing, for any business, is to never treat the two as the same. Once businesses begin treating the two as their own, separate beasts, only then can they begin taking advantage of the huge opportunities that both services — individually, of course — behold.
Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester social media company based in NY specializing in advertising, web and graphic design, and SEO.