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Facebook Vs. Twitter - Which is Good for a Small Business?

Any kind of business is incomplete without a proper marketing strategy. And in today's tech-savvy world, social networking sites play a vital role in the same. In this Buzzle article, we shall take a look at the Facebook vs. Twitter comparison to know which one is good for a small business.
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Comparison between Twitter and Facebook
"It is difficult to reach consumers on their mobile devices, and the Twitter and Facebook feeds represent two of the better opportunities for advertisers to do that. Put another way: Attention follows eyeballs, and money follows attention."
― Jim Anderson, CEO of SocialFlow
The world of social networking is immensely vast. You can say it is the call of technology, but in this bustling world, it is practically impossible to survive without such online platforms. They are invariably used for a myriad of purposes―right from chatting with personal contacts to updating a breaking news. The world has indeed become smaller and more accessible because of them. One of the main purposes that these sites serve is advertising. Be it a miniature blog or the latest IT product, promoting it on such sites is an added boost and a much-needed step for selling the product. This is the reason that a majority of businesses use them in order to market and expand.

If you intend to start a small venture of your own, you need to know which networking platform is better for expanding your business. The two popular giants in this arena are undoubtedly Facebook and Twitter. So, what do you think? Which one is good for a small business? Form your opinion on the same after considering the factors mentioned below. But before that, let us take a brief look at both these social network giants.

Background

Facebook
  • It is an online social networking service developed by Mark Zuckerberg, along with his college roommates, in 2004.
  • After registering onto the site, a user can create a personal profile, add friends, chat, exchange news and latest information, etc.
  • It is widely used as an advertising medium. Entrepreneurs can start a business page, and market their products and services there.
  • Based on the number of 'likes' received, the page will become popular, and your business will gain an audience, which in turn will be profitable in the future.
  • Its features include friends, fans, wall, news feed, fan pages, groups, apps, live chat, likes, photos, videos, text, polls, links, status, pokes, gifts, games, messaging, classified section, upload and download options, etc.
  • You can have an instant messaging service, you can upload private messages, photographs, videos, play games, share links, and reblog posts.
Twitter
  • It is also an online social networking site that enables users to post short text messages, called 'tweets'. It was developed by Jack Dorsey in 2006.
  • Here, you can create a personal account and have a Twitter handle, through which you can tweet as well as follow other people's accounts.
  • Its key features include tweeting, retweeting, direct messaging, following people, trending topics, viewing links, and sending photographs and videos.

Factors of Differentiation

Facebook Twitter
Characters
It allows a maximum of 63,206 characters. It allows a maximum of 140 characters.
Branding
Customizing and branding the page is done efficiently. The profile image as well as personal data is presented well from page to page. A branded page here can look great if customized well; however, if not done carefully, the results can be disastrous.
Business and Personal
Here, there is a definite distinction between business and personal use. Sometimes, this can turn out to be a hindrance, especially if you want your friends and family to visit your business page, and they are unable to do so unless you receive a certain number of likes. It intermingles all accounts. You can follow anyone (unless they have a protected account).
Images
It has a newly designed layout for 2014. Its cover image resolution is now 851 X 315 pixels. Your profile picture is displayed at 160 X 160 pixels. It also allows uploading of photos on your timeline, the resolution of which is set to 504 X 504 pixels by default. You can upload multiple pictures on your timeline. Unlike its counterpart, it does not focus a lot on images, its focus is entirely on messages. The largest size of a photo that can be displayed is 500 X 500 pixels. And, according to the 2014 updated layout, the maximum permissible header image size is 1500 X 1500 pixels. You can upload a maximum of 4 images with a tweet.
Users (as of 2014)
It has about 1.28 billion users and is available in 70 languages. Also, it has a better reach among the elderly and women. It has more than 500 million users and is available in 29 languages. It has a higher number of users between the ages of 18 to 29.
Life Span
An update has a fairly long lifespan and stays far longer on people's timelines. In fact, it can last several days, and interactions can go on for hours. It keeps getting updated on the particular user page. It is a great medium for data that is not time bound. A tweet has a shorter lifespan. Research says, about 92% of the exchanges happen within the first hour of being tweeted. Thus, the information is relevant and keeps changing constantly. It is great for instant news, rather it all happens 'in the moment'. Sometimes, it may happen that your message may not reach a wide audience, because your intended audience wasn't aware or paying attention to your handle.
Going Viral
It is slightly slow on the 'instant news' front, and hence, is not very effective in getting a message to go viral. It is extremely quick to go viral. Before you realize, tweets, retweets, and views can go viral. It can reach a wider and greater target audience tremendously fast. It can report incidents the moment they take place (though it stays for mere seconds).
Socializing
It is more about social friendships. You can find an age-old friend, and meet new ones as well. Conversations are more personal, and there are more chatting sessions with people you care about. It is less about social friendships. It has more followers than friends. It is known for spreading information snippets. Yes, you can socialize, but not necessarily within personal spheres.
Optimal Posting
Research has shown that most effective posting time is around noon EST, specially on weekends. Its most effective posting time seems to be around 5:00 pm EST. Tweeting at this time gives maximum clicks and exposure to all the time zones, particularly on weekdays.
Traffic
It may not be that effective at directing traffic, the reason being, it is touted more as a relationship-building portal. Yes, latest updates are posted immediately, but conversations are centered around discussing those updates with family and friends. It is better at directing traffic, since it is a fresh news portal. Current affairs, hot news updates, promotions, etc., help gather more and more followers.
Mail Routing
It is a feature that provides a level of consistency. Routing your profile page with your email helps you reach out to even those users who are not on Facebook. There is no such feature available here, sharing is based on personal preference.
Profile
Here, you can set up a proper personal profile, with all your information arranged neatly. You can also create separate personal, professional, and business profiles. Here, you can set up different accounts, but you do not have as many choices.
Search Option
The search option is based on an algorithm. This keeps changing from time to time, therefore, the search option is bit tedious and does not target a specific niche (irrespective of whether you are searching for people, news, or incidents). It can sometimes, get a little complex to navigate and update. Thus, it is more of a social portal. It is excellent at searching information. The search option here is based on chronology, and it has asymmetrical user relationships. Therefore it is much easier to navigate, update, link to, and promote. It allows users to efficiently access lesser-known information, and also to follow anyone or anything, right from your friend to your favorite products. It is thus, more of an information portal.

Which to Choose?

Facebook
  • For any business to run successfully, a vital aspect is marketing its product/service. Therefore, through this platform, you can create a business page, through which you can add friends, prompt people to like your page, and spread the word.
  • Here, you are at an advantage if you need personal connections, as all your friends and well-wishers would be there to help advertise your business.
  • You have access to a number of shared multimedia tools, photos, videos, news, links, etc.
  • Since any information posted here has a longer lifespan, your updates and news snippets stay longer on the page and can be accessed at a future time.
  • Since it is excellent for relationship building, you can have many professional and corporate relationships over time, and this will help you in your future endeavors.
  • It does not have the advantage of immediate clicks, viral trending, etc., though it has the mail routing feature, which gives you a level of consistency.
  • It will not help you give an honest feedback overall, as the opinion will stay on the company's page or timeline.
  • The customizing feature helps you create outstanding brand new tabs. And, this platform reaches out to a far mature audience.
Twitter
  • It is brilliant for marketing, in fact, a teeny bit ahead than its counterpart.
  • Anything and everything can go viral instantly, and all kinds of marketing strategies, company campaigns, latest innovations in the business, etc., can be uploaded instantly.
  • The negative here, though, is that the life span of the posted or tweeted information is very short.
  • It has a quick-hit approach to conversations as well as a more savvy population.
  • It may not give you more friends, but it certainly gets you a lot of followers, and this can help you in your venture.
  • For the entrepreneurial side of things, it is fast, easy-to-manage, and more public.
  • Since it is totally social media-savvy, you can have a widespread audience to market your product. Within seconds, you could possibly receive innumerable tweets, and this will help you thrive in business.
  • As mentioned earlier already, it is tremendously fast in updating latest news. Though it does not have the advantages of personal and business profile pages or the feature to conform to embedded images, it has a better search option, and it also intermingles all accounts, so everybody knows immediately what the latest update about the company is, what you would be doing about it, etc.
The Verdict

This is an entirely personal choice. An ideal combination would be to use both of them, effectively, pertaining to their pros and cons. You definitely need to have a Twitter account, for it is no doubt, brilliant for advertising. All the same, Facebook has an enormous user base and many advantages as well, so maintain a profile page there. It is entirely up to you to smartly make use of these platforms according to what is most beneficial for you.
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Published: August 5, 2014
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