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How do businesses make the most of marketing opportunities in social media? Should they Tweet or Friend? Entrepreneur Magazine (December 2010) notes that Twitter provides a better ROI (Return on Investment) with its 'quick-hit approach' to a predominantly tech savvy audience. It cites pros and cons for Twitter and Facebook based on a recent study by SocialTwist, (http://tellafriend.socialtwist.com) a social media marketing firm.

SocialTwist analysed more than a million shared links through its Tell-a-Friend widget. While Twitter accounts for only 5% of traffic among all social network sites versus 78% for Facebook, Twitter’s tweets with embedded links get 19 clicks, versus Facebook’s three clicks on its shared links.

TWITTER PROS - Twitter has over 165 million registered users sharing 100 million messages a day. Many of the users in the 'Twitterverse' are technologically savvy and include many social media professionals. A new interface allows users to share videos and photos from at least 16 different media providers like Flickr and YouTube through its split screen. Tweeters can also use additional third party applications such as the ability to schedule tweets ahead of time.

TWITTER CONS - Security issues, although recently attended to, are still on the minds of some users as they choose whether to click on unknown, shortened URLs. Dependability is another issue that users have to be patient with as frequent service outages still exist. Twitter has also been equated to a 'cocktail party' where people 'flitter around, listening to conversations and partaking in ones they find interesting – but it’s off to the next, new thing within minutes'. This can make it difficult to hold someone’s attention when you’re attempting to market your business.

FACEBOOK PROS - Facebook has over 600 million and is known to be more dependable than Twitter in terms of outages of service. Users have also had more flexibility in sharing links, multimedia and games for much longer than they have had that opportunity in Twitter.

FACEBOOK CONS - Businesses may find it difficult to reach the right audience given Facebook’s more general audience that includes grandparents, children, millennials and baby boomers. Companies may need some expert help to determine how to create and target their message to their own specific markets. Whereas Twitter has been described as a 'cocktail party', Facebook is characterised as being more like a college 'dorm' in that it takes weeks or possibly months for people to become real 'friends' and thus not a place for the hard sell. It’s more of a long term proposition.

Twitter and Facebook are different and businesses need to think strategically about whether to use either or both of these tools, and how to create campaigns that take advantage of the strengths of each one.

 

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