Facebook vs. Twitter: Which Is Best for Brands?
Like the old debate of “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” there is no clear cut answer to the question: “Which is better for brands — Facebook or Twitter?” The best marketing plan includes both a Twitter and Facebook brand presence, in addition to a variety of other social media profiles and content. That’s because a key goal for all brands is to surround consumers with branded experiences so they can select how they want to interact with each brand.
Don’t worry if you’re not ready to build a presence on both Facebook and Twitter right now, though. You’ll get there. In the meantime, here’s an overview of how Facebook and Twitter differ as marketing and branding tools, so you can select the platform that best meets your customers’ needs and your business goals.
Compare Audience Demographics
Research shows that the Twitter audience currently skews younger than the Facebook audience, and that trend is unlikely to change in the near future. In recent months, the number of people over the age of 40 who are joining Facebook has shown no signs of slowing down.
Both Twitter and Facebook have similar male vs. female member ratios, and members on both platforms have similar levels of education. The differences between Twitter and Facebook audiences gets more interesting when you take a closer look at the behaviors of daily users.
Compare Consumer Behavior
People use Twitter and Facebook differently, and their behaviors change even more depending on how frequently they use each platform. Using the same research data as cited above, eight out of 10 social media users connect with brands on Facebook, while fewer than one in 10 connect with brands on Twitter. Similarly, nearly half of Facebook members have Liked a brand on Facebook but only one-quarter of Twitter members have actually followed a brand.
However, there is more to this story than meets the eye. When you dive into the research data further, you find that daily Facebook and Twitter members are actually a lot more alike when it comes to following brands. Nearly 70 percent of Facebook and Twitter members are fans of at least one brand on those respective sites.
Facebook and Twitter members claim that they follow brands for the following reasons: they are already customers, they are looking for exclusive deals and offers, and they’re searching for interesting and entertaining content. Therefore, as with all aspects of social media marketing, quality content is essential.
Twitter timelines move quickly, so it’s important to publish real-time news and information that is useful and interesting to your brand’s target audience. On Facebook, conversational content tends to be well received by audiences. Given the popularity of Facebook’s threaded conversations, and the new Happening Now feature, it’s evident that engagement is key to a successful Facebook marketing strategy.
Facebook is also far more visual than Twitter. The ability for members to tag people in photos and videos makes the huge Facebook audience seem more intimate — which is something Twitter lacks. While Twitter does allow direct uploads of videos and images, the entire Twitter user experience is still driven mostly by text and links.
Which Platform is Best?
Brands have had great success on both Facebook and Twitter. Red Bull has had incredible success through its Facebook Page, where the brand offers entertaining content, while its Twitter profile is not as lively. On the other hand, Comcast paved the way for using Twitter as a customer service tool, and Dell has successfully used Twitter to spread the word about discounts and sales. Naked Pizza built its entire business around Twitter, while Skittles became a social media powerhouse thanks to its Facebook Page.
So, which is best for brands, Facebook or Twitter? The correct answer is “both.” However, if you must choose, select the platform where your audience spends the most time. Choose the platform where you can best deliver your branded messages in a way that works for you and your audience, and where your audience expects you to be. Do your research, talk to your customers, analyze what your competitors are doing, and create a strategic plan instead of simply jumping on the social media boat without a paddle.