You’ve heard it:
“Twitter is the new facebook.”
“Facebook is moving in on twitter’s turf.”
Everyone is vying for their share of our attention using social media, and why not? According to a recent Nielsen study, in the United States we spend 906 million hours a month on social networks. And social networks are attracting more of our online time – Nielsen reports a 43% increase year to year (June 2009 to June 2010).
So there’s a war between facebook and twitter and one of them must win, right?
Not so fast…
What these tools have in common is that they are both classified as social media. Beyond that, almost everything else is different, and both large and small businesses would do well to recognize those differences.
Facebook is the place to grow and nurture communities. It gives you the ability to know who is interested in your products and services (because they have opted in) and allows you to target that community. You can share detailed multi-media information and have discussions – with responses appearing right under the original update, making this a great conversational tool.
Twitter is all about messaging. Messages go to your followers, but are easily accessible by everyone. Twitter is a goldmine of information and there is no need to ever send a tweet to leverage the data in twitter. Small and large businesses alike can benefit from “listening” to what their customers are saying about them on twitter. While tweets are limited to 140 characters, it’s a fallacy to believe that twitter contains only short messages. Twitter is used by many as a teaser, to drive the reader (via link) to a longer message, blog, article, or website.
Twitter and Facebook are both good at what they do. Twitter is like Times Square on New Year’s Eve – noisy and open to all. Facebook is more like a party invitation with an RSVP. Where would you rather go?