While many small business owners couldn’t imagine their lives without Twitter, the relationship between the two has been less than harmonious over the years. In fact, it’s been downright rocky.
The rise of Facebook has most certainly had something to do with it, given the social giant’s increased attention to SMBs over recent years. Even as Facebook’s SMB audience has grown exponentially (with 94% of all businesses on Facebook versus Twitter’s 83%), Twitter has remained relatively unchanged. This led to an era of speculation, in which many marketers suggested that Twitter may not in fact be worth our time in the grand social scheme.
Despite often playing “second fiddle” to Facebook, Twitter is fighting harder than ever to put numbers on the board. Make no mistake; Twitter’s recent second quarter growth is nothing to scoff at. Outperforming expectations with 271 million active users, 24% year-over-year growth and a 29% increase in mobile users, Twitter is anything but a dying platform. Coupled with a big boost in ad revenue, it’s high time that SMBs rethink Twitter as an “either/or” option in terms of networking and advertising versus Facebook.
Let’s face it, Twitter isn’t Facebook’s little brother; they represent two completely different social families. Zuckerberg and co. have gone to great lengths to make Facebook an easy and intuitive platform for novice business owners who may have little or no experience in the realm of Internet marketing. Such accessibility creates the perception that Facebook’s platform is somehow “better;” however, the numbers tell a slightly different story.
- Despite Facebook having more “active users,” Twitter’s users are generally “more active” (posting five times on Twitter per day versus once per day on Facebook).
- Twitter has recently stepped up its ad game, leading to more clicks and even outperforming Facebook ads.
- The demographic of Twitter is often seen as younger, more energetic and enthusiastic (as indicated by Twitter users’ increased activity). Such a demographic represents rabid buyers who may not be on your radar.
But let’s take a step back and say that comparing Twitter and Facebook is like apples and oranges. Fair enough, especially when bearing in mind that Twitter was not developed explicitly with SMBs in mind versus Facebook’s business pages. This very fact leaves many business owners scratching their heads in the face of hashtags and trending topics, staring at their Twitter feed as they wonder “How do I work this thing?”
There is no one-size-fits-all social strategy, especially when it comes to Twitter. However, the general consensus remains that the benefits of Twitter often are not monetary (although recent ad numbers may shift such a trend). The Twitterverse is ideal for gaining exposure and sharing content, meanwhile also allowing budding companies to make face with bigger fish in their industries. As far as best practices go when it comes to Twitter, remember that:
- Visual content still remains king (especially in the era of Instagram) and represents a prime way to catch the eyes of your users.
- Twitter provides ample opportunities for newsjacking and allows you to break stories as they happen (remember: trending topics and hashtags are your friends).
- Personality goes a long way in a sea of competing businesses, so use your own voice and rely on what makes you original.
The Bottom Line
In an increasingly competitive social sphere, Twitter most definitely deserves the attention of your small business. As SMBs continue to fight for their position on the social ladder, Twitter’s recent growth may very well be a game-changer.
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