Why Twitter May Be Better Than Facebook For Your B2B Marketing Strategy
Do you remember Friends Reunited, DIGG, Delicious or Orkut? What about Ping and Friendster? These are just some of the many failed or lacklustre social media platforms that have come and gone over the past 12 years. The main reason none of them have managed to secure a firm toehold on the market has been the phenomenal success of Twitter and Facebook; who, taken together, are THE social media applications. In fact, when the term ‘social media’ is mentioned it almost invariably refers to Facebook or Twitter, and usually Facebook.
For businesses, Facebook profiles are now so common as to be almost the norm. They are frequently seen as the easy option. They don’t take long to set up and can be maintained with minimal effort through occasional updates. Following the same line of thought, Twitter is a different proposition. Many businesses consider Twitter to be more labour-intensive than Facebook, or perhaps less serious and less productive.
Are either of these stereotypes justified…? Probably not, but the worth of a marketing tool is found in the practical results it yields. Why is it then that some B2B businesses remain hesitant about engaging with Twitter? In this article we take a look at the comparative strengths of the two social media giants; making a case that not only should businesses not be ignoring Twitter, but that in some respects Twitter has the edge on Facebook as a B2B marketing tool.
Facebook Vs. Twitter
Comparing statistics on Facebook and Twitter is like weighing up two super-heavyweight boxers at the top of their game. Some of these numbers are truly mind blowing. For these purposes we’ll compare three markers that are important to businesses using social media.
In April 2016 Facebook had a phenomenal 1.6 billion active users who logged into the platform at least once per month. Of these, a hard-core of 1.13 billion users were active on Facebook on a daily basis. Twitter can’t compete with this in terms of numbers. No one can: Facebook’s nearest global competitor is WhatsApp, which lags behind with a mere one billion users. See more stats here.
In comparison, Twitter has a meagre 320 million registered users, scarcely more than the population of the United States (318 million), and less than 20% of Facebook’s membership. It also trails other popular social networks, such as Instagram (400 million) and Tumblr (555 million).
However, this doesn’t mean that Twitter should be written off. According to Twitter’s own figures, 500 million tweets are sent each day, which is a lot of content by any standard.
Facebook users may create a 4.75 billion pieces of content through the platform each day, including 300 million picture uploads, but it should be borne in mind that the majority of this is personal, rather than business-focused. A large majority of Facebook users (84%) do not use the platform for engaging with businesses at all. Compare this to Twitter users, of whom 49% actively follow one or more business accounts. This alone is a compelling reason for B2B marketers to start paying attention to Twitter.
A glance at the comparative age demographics of Facebook and Twitter leads to some interesting conclusions for businesses. While Facebook is widely used by people in every age bracket, the fastest growth is in users aged over 50. Twitter, on the other hand, is seeing its biggest increases in users aged 40 or under, with sharp growth among 18 to 24-year-olds. So from a B2B perspective, companies targeting established businesses might be better off focusing more on Facebook, as directors and decision-makers are more likely to be in their late 40s or 50s. On the other hand, if your job is to target start-ups, which are predominantly a young person’s game, you should be engaging with them on Twitter.
Twitter and Facebook users differ in terms of their engagement with content. According to stats collected between 2013 and 2015, the average Facebook user spends far longer using the platform than their equivalent on Twitter. However, over the same period, it was noted that the number of Facebook content shares declined by nearly 50% in comparison to content shared through Twitter.
So it seems that Twitter users are keener to retweet content to their networks than are people on Facebook. This is an important factor to bear in mind if you are using social media for marketing purposes – the more shares you get, the longer your reach and the better it is for you. Furthermore, during their time spent on Twitter, users are likely to click on more links than Facebook users are.
The comparison is therefore a close one: Facebook users spend more time on the platform and are thus likely to engage more deeply in content, but Twitter users look at more stuff and share more frequently. To reuse our boxing analogy, having reviewed the statistics, betting on one social media platform over the other would be difficult. The fight is too close to call.
Why Twitter May Be A More Versatile B2B Tool
However, there are four ways in which Twitter does have a clear advantage over Facebook for marketing purposes, and these all come down to functionality, rather than demographics.
1) Easier to reach outside your own circle
Facebook is a great platform for connecting with friends, family and colleagues, but not brilliant for reaching out to people beyond your circle, which is, after all, the very essence of marketing. Because of how readily content is shared on Twitter, it is easy to reach people outside your field of influence and for content to ‘go viral’ through retweets and shares.
2) Better mobile UI
Even devoted Facebook fans sometimes get irritated with its mobile UI. Facebook for mobile is subject to frequent crashes and a user’s wall often gets clogged up with poorly targeted adverts. Compared to this, Twitter for mobile is faster and easier to use. Its user interface is small, intuitive and makes it easy for users to upload content on the move.
3) Better customer engagement capability
Twitter is a brilliant real-time engagement tool, which makes it almost like an instant messaging service. Compared to this, Facebook is more like a static online bulletin board. Twitter therefore has the advantage for marketers wanting to engage with their prospects on their own terms. By using Twitter you can track trends, measure the success of promotions and become an active player in your brand conversation.
4) Better advertising feature
Many businesses prefer Twitter’s advertising service to that of Facebook. While both services have their strengths, Twitter adverts are arguably more accurately targeted and have a more receptive, business-oriented audience than their equivalents on Facebook.
Either Facebook OR Twitter?
Having looked at the strengths of the two platforms, B2B marketers would clearly be foolish to ignore the features and benefits offered by Twitter by putting all their eggs in the Facebook basket. However, we don’t recommend abandoning Facebook entirely in favour of Twitter. To look at the choice as an either/or decision is to approach it the wrong way. Both social media platforms have relative strengths and weaknesses. Both can be used in tandem to strengthen your brand, reach out to your customers and generate new leads for your business.