This blog discusses some basic uses of Twitter and how they may apply to business owners. Odds are that you may already have, and are active with, a Facebook Fan Page for your business but have yet to create a Twitter account or be active with one. For this reason, we will compare several basic Twitter uses against similar uses of a Facebook Fan Page.
The first difference between the two social media is that your account profile is listed on Twitter via a “handle” (i.e. @socialbrothers), vs. your Facebook Fan Page where your account is known by whatever title you’ve created for it. A Twitter handle is exclusive to one Twitter profile, while your Facebook Page may share similar names with other fan pages. This distinction is noteworthy because searching out a Twitter account can be found by simply knowing the handle, whereas a Facebook Fan Page account can be found by searching keywords in the Facebook search engine or by using the proper web address (www.Facebook.com/SocialBrothers) to the Fan Page, itself.
The next contrast involves the amount and kind of information that can be provided to users by your account profile. Both Facebook and Twitter allow you to upload a profile picture (and background picture), a brief description of your business, and a link to your website for others to see while they are browsing your account information. Yet, Facebook provides several more “fields” to your profile that allow for more detailed information about your business.
Unlike Twitter, Facebook Fan Pages can provide more overall information to a user’s profile because the additional fields allow for more specific details. For example, a Facebook Fan Page allows you to provide lengthy descriptions about your business, hours of operation, maps, and links to multiple business sites (not just website).
Audience building practices are the next items to discuss when looking at the two social media. Both platforms allow access for others to subscribe to your accounts, as well as allow you to subscribe to others’ accounts. You build a following on a Facebook Fan Page with “Likes”, while you do the same on Twitter with “Followers”. You are also able to “Like” and “Follow” any profiles you’d like on both these platforms. The idea of “Liking” and “Following” other accounts is important on both platforms, as these actions draw attention to your profile from those accounts’ owners and their Fan base. Often, other profiles will return the Like or Follow once you’ve initiated the connection.
Further, with regard to audience building practices, both platforms allow for social engagement with other profiles, but use slightly different techniques. As a Facebook user, you can “like”, “comment”, and “share” from others’ posts, thus initiating social engagement. As a Twitter user, you can “reply”, “re-tweet (RT)”, and directly address another user with the “@” symbol, followed by their handle. When you reply to a tweet, your post will show up as part of a conversation, as well as featured on your timeline. A re-tweet (RT) can be described as reposting someone else’s post on your timeline, thus giving credit to another profile for what they’ve shared. You can also decide to address someone directly by simply typing their twitter handle in the content of your post (using @…..). This will show up as a post on your timeline as well as let the person you’ve re-tweeted know that they have been mentioned or addressed.
Another obvious difference between the two social media is how posts appear to users on their timeline. Your Facebook Fan Page can contain lengthy written content within the posting field, while Twitter limits your posting to 140 characters. Many believe this feature separates Twitter from other platforms because you must be brief and to the point in your communications. While you can still upload pics and attach links to your Twitter posts, similar to Facebook, these items are not immediately viewable from the timeline. One must click on (open up) the post to see such details.
Because the Twitter newsfeed is a more condensed version of the Facebook newsfeed, some believe this is a reason why Twitter users often use the platform for information-seeking purposes. A user can scroll more information at a quicker pace while checking their Twitter feed because of the limited characters and non-displayed extras (pics and links). This notion leads us to believe that more information can be adhered to on a Twitter timeline because of more efficient scrolling by the user.
Additionally, while discussing information-seeking on Twitter, it is important to note use of the “hashtag” (#). When creating posts for your Twitter account, you can use the hashtag practice to draw attention to key words in your content. Twitter users have the option to search key words by seeking out hashtags of these words. For example, a post may read, “Today’s special at Nate’s #hotdog stand: #turkeydogs for $1”. Users searching the hashtags, hotdog and turkeydogs, will be driven to that posting, as well as other posts with those hashtags. This provides a way for users to find your business based on intentionally highlighting key words in your posts.
This blog provides several basic tips and practices on how your Twitter profile may benefit your business to better engage with potential customers. We would love to hear other basic uses of the platform that you use for your business profile, or share any further questions you have on the subject.
Please comment with added input, questions, and concerns, as we enjoy learning from you, and hopefully you’ve learned a little something from us too.