Twitter vs Facebook for Small Businesses

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Do you think Facebook gets the thumbs up for your business?

One question often posed by small business owners is ‘should I be on Twitter or Facebook?’.

These are busy people who want to know where they should focus their efforts for the greatest reward – they might think they can squeeze in managing one social media account, but probably not two.

But even with a reasonable amount of explanation about who they are and what they do, it’s not a straightforward one to answer.

Here are five questions every small business owner should ask themselves if they want to take their first steps into the social media world, but are faced with the platform dilemma.

  1. Where are your customers? Ask people who spend money with you which social networks they use. Over half of the UK has a Facebook account, and there are almost 24 million registered Twitter users, according to recently-stated figures. The average age of a Facebook user is 38, while the average age of a Twitter user is 39. These stats don’t tell us a lot, but find out where your customers are hanging out online and this will provide clues when it comes to which social network your business should be on.
  2. How often are you going to be at the controls? If you can see yourself updating your social media account once a day, and maybe checking what’s been said and replying to comments once a day, this might make Facebook more attractive to you. If you believe short, frequent messages (sometimes to individuals) will benefit your business, and you can check in at different points throughout the day, perhaps Twitter is the one.
  3. How much can you put into this at the very beginning? Generally speaking, a Twitter account can be set up very quickly, and a profile image and bio text inserted straightaway. You can then get tweeting. With Facebook, more thought needs to be put into the overall experience people have when they land on your page. You’ll need a big profile image to fit with the timeline layout, and then consider why people might be tempted to like your page.
  4. What are your plans for growth? With Facebook, when people like your page, their friends will be made aware of that fact. Do you want to reach out to these circles of people? Also, are you considering targeting people with adverts? If so, think Facebook. Twitter advertising is still very much in its infancy.
  5. How much statistical information do you want access to? Facebook provides superb, free spreadsheets packed full of data about your page. Twitter doesn’t.

What are the other questions SMEs should ask themselves before they set up a social media account with one of the big two? Please share your thoughts.