facebook-vs-twitter-a-platform-comparisonfacebook-vs-twitter-a-platform-comparisonCompanies getting into social media are often confused about the difference between Facebook and Twitter. Besides the fact that Twitter limits messages to 140 characters, is there a real difference? Do companies need both? Won’t Facebook with its 500 million users and new buzz-worthy movie cover it all?

No. Twitter users and Facebook users are different beasts. NPR just completed this fascinating survey on the difference between those who follow them on Twitter vs. those who follow them on Facebook. I really suggest you take a read through it as it does an excellent job of explaining what the difference really is.

Here is my own take on how the platforms differ:

It all comes down to the users.

Regular Twitter users are tech savvy, blogging fools who are completely in touch with the world of social media. They are likely to use Twitter to connect with brands, to engage with customer service, and to recommend companies they like. Market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies revealed that nearly 20 percent more Twitter users were likely to recommend the brands they followed than Facebook users (60 percent of Facebook users, compared to 79 percent of Twitter followers).

Facebook users are less likely to be plugged into social media. Their use of Facebook is more about friends and family and pictures than connecting with businesses. Additionally, I think people are more likely to listen to a friend’s word of mouth suggestion on Facebook than Twitter. Simply because you “know” your friends on Facebook, while most of your Twitter followers are most likely real-life strangers.

The truth is the two platforms are completely different, and are used in different ways.

Just read these two posts by Chris Brogan, one where he talks about his Twitter presence, and one where he talks about his Facebook presence. The differences are fascinating.

I’ve also found that a lot of businesses seem to prefer one over another.  Grace Bonney from Design*Sponge prefers Twitter, but in my interview with Viva La Femme owner, Stephanie Sack, she talked about her preference for Facebook.

My conclusion on this rumination over Facebook vs. Twitter? There really is a need and usage for both. You aren’t going to hit the same people by using Twitter and Facebook to market your business. You’re going to hit two different demographics that are using their social media in unique ways.

Not every company needs to be on both platforms, but you are going to be hard pressed to try to convince me why not.

What do you think? Are you on Facebook and Twitter? Do you use them in different ways? Does your business? I am extremely curious on how other people see this conversation, so please let me know.



Comments ( 12 )

  1. Lulu
    Clients are always asking me which one works better but it's so true that it just depends on the nature of your business or offering and on where your audience is. For my blog, I've found that Facebook works almost 10 times more than Twitter when it comes to directing traffic back to my site. I think that one reason for this is the word of mouth aspect that you mention. My extended network of friends (friends of friends and their friends) seem to share a common interest in the nature of my blog. However, Twitter has been invaluable in making new connections with like-minded people who I would not have come across or have been able to access as easily on Facebook. Following a stranger is so much easier than requesting friendship from one.
    • AuthorRebecca
      Hi Lulu, That's so interesting Facebook works better at driving traffic for you. I think the moral of this story is that everyone should at least try both and see where it leads. Thanks for the comment!
  2. megpies
    I really do see the need for both platforms. I use both, sometimes for the same thing, sometimes for different things. If I have a new blog post, I will post it on both. If I have a website recommendation that has to do with my niche, then I might just use twitter. Then if it has to do with something more personal I'll use facebook because I know that my family and friends would be interested. I agree with you - twitter is business and facebook is friends and family. Sometimes they merge, but not often.
    • AuthorRebecca
      Hi Meg, I think your last statement kinda says it all. You'd think they'd more more often, but they really don't. Thanks for the comment!
  3. Pankaj Gupta
    Yes Mostly Peoples want to tweet the important things first on twitter. So, It is very useful to get the latest information quickly. Facebook is totally different and great tool to keep getting traffic.
    • AuthorRebecca
      Hi Pankaj, It's so true that Twitter is better for breaking news. In fact, lately I've been finding out all my breaking news via Twitter. It's just the way news travels fastest nowadays I guess. Facebook really doesn't have that breaking news feel.
  4. Harsh Agrawal
    Rebecca I agree with your on the point regular Twitter users are techsavvy but same goes with Facebook. All we need to do is connect with right people in our niche...That goes for both the platform.. I usually connect to bloggers and readers in my niche on Facebook and that also helps me to drive traffic to my blog..... For me FB is working more than Twitter...
    • AuthorRebecca
      Hi Harsh, That's so interesting Facebook works better for you. Like I said, everyone seems to have a personal preference. Right now mine is Twitter, but I think if I put in a bit more time to Facebook I'd find it would work just as well. You're very right about just needing to connect, so whatever platform does that is definitely the one to be using.
  5. Richard
    For me, I generally use twitter to push information out. So, I link my blogs to it and use twitterfeed to send out information. Facebook, I use to get updates on friends and family. In that sense, Facebook pulls information for me. So for me, it's the difference between pushing and pulling information.
    • AuthorRebecca
      Hi Richard, That's a great way to look at it. But I also think it would be helpful to use both tools for both pushing and pulling. Using Twitter just to promote yourself isn't always the best way. It's important to see what others are thinking and find information from your fellow tweeters. And Facebook is a great way to keep up with family and friends, but it can also be a great way to get your word out. There are just so many ways to use each tool. As long as it's showing results, there really is not right or wrong.
  6. Phil
    I use Facebook mainly just to keep in touch with family members, and I must admit I don't use it half as much as I used to. I do have a Page setup for my blog with Networked Blogs application added to it, so whenever I publish a new blog article, Networked Blogs automatically updates my Facebook Page. Twitter is a different story though, like you said all the geeks hang out there and im part of that crew, hehe. I use Twitter for promoting my blog and latest articles its also good for connecting with other bloggers to discover new ideas and inspiration!
    • AuthorRebecca
      You totally proved my point! Twitter is for those who are super plugged in and know their way around social media and Facebook is more social and friend and family oriented. I think Twitter is just easier to use for business while most people are so used to Facebook for social usage that they're not sure what to do with it in order to promote themselves. Let me know if you start using Facebook more!