To Twitter Or To Facebook… Or To Both?
It’s undeniable: you have to be on Facebook. The social media giant blew the online networking market out of the water when it first released in 2004. It wasn’t like we’re all new to the social media world, but it was all small-time compared to the scale that Facebook is today. Sites like Nexopia just couldn’t keep up.
We had a client in today and she hadn’t really explored the world of social media, personally or professionally, so she instinctively asked, “Where do I start?” For me, this begged the question, “Do you need to be Twitter or Facebook… or both?”
I think there is absolutely no denying that you have to be on Facebook professionally – it’s less important to have a personal account, but your business needs to be on Facebook. No question about it. I think Facebook is really in the same place that websites were about 7 to 8 years ago – at one time (before the onslaught of popular social media) websites slowly became the new Yellowpages. 10+ years ago it was unheard of that you weren’t in the Yellowpages directory – you almost didn’t exist as a business if you weren’t. Over the years websites have taken the same path. As a business, in many ways, you don’t exist without a website. Your first point of contact in many cases is your websites, whether that’s for e-commerce purposes or simply an address and phone number, it is the entry point for a lot of customers. In the last couple years, as Facebook has gained in popularity, it has slowly become the new website. That doesn’t mean to say that you don’t need a website anymore, it just means that it’s slowly becoming that if you’re not on Facebook you don’t really exist. For that reason, and almost only that reason, I would always recommend that you at least have a business page on Facebook.
It may seem like I have some animosity towards Facebook, and I don’t, I just think that it has gotten a little out of control. Facebook started out with a really good platform, and I think in many ways it really set the foundation for what social media is and what it should become; however, it has transformed into an over-bloated cluster of features and apps that I would never use. It almost seems as if every person and their dog has an app (and apparently a profile for the dog as well.) For me at least, I went from understanding Facebook and seeing its purpose to being completely lost and not understanding whether Facebook was made for the people or if Facebook was made for the advertisers – something that I understood at one point.
Just recently I joined Twitter and it brought me back to when I first signed up to Facebook (this was back when you still needed a University email to join.) I really understand Twitter and what its purpose is. Twitter has a focus and I think that it’s not afraid to be what it is which is very clear in their posting model of only allowing 140 characters. In the face of a lot of scrutiny about that character limit, they stood there and said “this is what Twitter is, and it won’t change” and as people always do, they adjusted. Twitter has re-opened the gate to connecting and networking in a way that I don’t think Facebook ever could – it adds a way more personal feeling to the networking and it gives you the power to network with an almost unlimited number of people without relying on your clients or customers to ‘share’ or refer your services. It also gives each business a personality and every personality a brand. The world of self-promotion and business-to-customer relationships has never been so open and public.
With all that being said, I do also believe that with Facebook and especially, even more-so, Twitter you need to have some form of sharable content to be affective. Both these social media sites are promotional sites, they help you deliver a message but that message needs to be formed and posted before they can do it. Having a Twitter page that gets an update twice a year is almost worse than having no Twitter account at all.
So, I think to answer that question of which social media to engage in, it really dependent on what you want from social media and the amount of effort you’re willing to put towards creating the message that you will inevitably have to push through them. When you’re ready to break into the social media world, it’s not a good idea to ignore either media because in some cases your audience can be completely different – not everyone that is on Facebook is on Twitter and vice-versa. Social media is a lot of effort and a lot of time commitment, but I strongly believe it will pay off for you in the end. Let’s face it, these days you don’t exist without social media.