Last week on the @blogworldexpo Twitter stream and the BlogWorld Facebook page I asked our community if they had to choose between Facebook and Twitter, who would win? For some it was a no brainer, for others it was a choice they’d rather not have to make. Most of us use Twitter and Facebook for a variety of reasons and appreciate the benefits of both. When pressed to give up one, many admitted that they would most likely give up Twitter because Facebook has allowed them to unite with old friends and relatives as well as new online friends. I agreed.
If you had asked me this question two years ago, my response would have been way different. I would have chosen Twitter without hesitation. Over the past year or so I’ve come to change my tune.
After my little experiment, I decided to explore how I use Twitter and Facebook and which network was more beneficial, business -wise. I found that, for me, Facebook has more bennies both personally and professionally. That isn’t to say Twitter isn’t valuable, but I receive more blog traffic via Facebook. I also have more productive discussions on Facebook as we can go past the 140 character rule. The gravy in the boat, however, is that I have friends from back in the day in discussion with brand new social media friends, and that truly rocks.
Twitter v. Facebook: Breaking it Down
Friends and followers: There are merits to both social networks and the ways we choose friends and followers. With Twitter, unless we lock our Twitter stream and block followers, we pretty much have no control over who follows us and sees our Tweets. However, the more followers we have on Twitter, the higher our reach. That means someone with 20,000 followers can send a single Tweet and potentially reach hundreds of thousands of people.
With Facebook, no one can be your friend without your permission. We approve everyone who views our status and it’s 100% recipriocity. The friendships work two ways. Most of the people I interact with on Twitter are online or business friends. They’re the folks who are into blogging and social media like me, or else I meet them at conferences and networking events. My Facebook friends are social media friends, but also family members, old friends, and new, neighborhood friends.
Traffic: When I use Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic to my blog, Facebook wins hands down. Make no mistake, Twitter sends me the love and I’m ever so grateful for the members of my community and others who share my links and retweet my stuff. But I get more traffic bang for the buck from Facebook. Sometimes the difference is minimal, and sometimes it’s significant, it’s all dependent on the subject matter and who’s sharing.
Sharing: Both Twitter and Facebook allow for some glorious sharing. With Twitter you can share anything you like but you’ll want to shorten the URL because of that 140 character thing. If the sharer doesn’t offer a description, followers are less likely to click on the link for fear it will be spam. Most who Tweet links offer up a title or brief description, though some folks will retweet a friend’s tweet without knowing what’s on the other end of the link.
With Facebook, when a link is shared there’s a bit of a preview so I know what the article, blog post, video, audio or bit of spam are about before I commit to a click. One thing I noticed about sharing on Facebook is that a fun post is passed around by more than your immediate business circle, it’s also shared by friends and relatives. As most of us don’t have as many friends and relatives on Twitter, the same isn’t always true on this network.
Doing business: More consumers follow brands on Facebook because more consumers are on Facebook. That isn’t to say we don’t get it done on Twitter too, because we do. In fact, reps from many well known brands troll Twitter several times a day to see who is talking about them and why, and reaching out to those in need of assistance. Usually they’ll take the conversation offline rather than clog up a Twitter stream with shoptalk.
It’s my experience that most brand/consumer interaction on Facebook is lighthearted and promotional, and not of the troubleshooting variety. Fan pages allow readers to offer feedback, answer fun questions and receive discounts and coupons.
Interaction on both social networks is valuable and enlightening for brands.
Conversation: With Twitter, it’s about sharing and conversation, and make no mistake, I’ve had some wonderful, lengthy conversations on Twitter. The problem is, my followers don’t want their timelines filled with nothing but my conversations with other people. Facebook conversations are easier to follow because the discussion can continue along in one thread as opposed to many different Tweets.
Thanks to hashtags, we can follow some live, hosted Twitter chats such as the weekly #blogchat. Facebook moves beyond the conversations and allows us to challenge friends to a game of Scrabble or cards. We can also interact on like-minded community pages, again, in threaded discussions. So I’d like to offer that Facebook allows us to take a conversation more places.
What’s your choice?
Well, I just shared why, if pressed, I would choose Facebook over Twitter. However, I hope it never comes to that as I truly enjoy interacting on both networks. Now share your choice. If you had to pick between the two, would you choose Facebook or Twitter….and why?