I get this question a lot. So let me put it bluntly. If you are not a celebrity or household brand, forget about twitter. Unless people care about what you just ate or who you were seen in public with, as is done in the tabloids, you’re not going to get enough followers for it to even be worth your time. My twitter account has 3,502 followers, while my Facebook account has only 2,082 fans. Facebook is the #7 referrer to my blog while Twitter is #20. So even though I have more followers on twitter, I’m getting 6 times the traffic from Facebook.
And if you consider that the Facebook fan page for Dennis Yu has only 496 fans, the contrast is more stark. Why?
Twitter is for existing brands and personalities that have massive recognition. What you can say in 140 characters can’t possibly have much depth, though you can retweet pithy sayings, post interesting articles, or even communicate casually with friends. But to generate more awareness, traffic, or sales for your business? Unlikely. The exception proves the rule– there’s that one donut shop that people cite as the example for small business success on twitter.
Facebook is where you can connect with real friends. You can interact with them and share in deep, meaningful ways (or at least as far as is possible online). I’d challenge you to tell me what share of twitter users are bots, what percentage of tweets are done by bots, and what percentage of tweets go unread. I’d wager that the ratio of spam pages on the internet approximates the spam ratio on twitter– although, I’d say that Facebook would be MUCH cleaner because of reinforcing mechanisms of the newsfeed filter and social graph.
This is no attack on journalist, professional internet marketers, or other prominent individuals who are using twitter to enhance their personal reputation. But if you’re the local car dealer or dentist, you’re unlikely to be driving many leads from tweeting. You get real value for your time by running PPC ads against keywords related to “pest control“, “denver liposuction” or other terms that are indicative of purchase intent, versus casual entertainment. If you’re just hanging out with friends and use twitter socially, that’s a completely different matter than serious business to drive revenue.
On Facebook, there is a separation between personal and business profiles. We wouldn’t put BlitzLocal as a group or personal profile– it would have to be a Facebook fan page for the many benefits that you get from fan pages– the ability to target ads, run insights, install custom applications, and so forth. And if your group hits 5,000 users, you’re cut off from messaging. Plus, you get more SEO juice from doing pages– Facebook said so themselves many times.
Regardless, test out what works. Use your analytics to tell you what’s driving you the most traffic and leads. Your time is limited, so choose your battles wisely. If you have questions or would like to argue a different point of view, this is a great forum for discussion.About the author: Dennis Yu is the Chief Executive Officer of BlitzMetrics , a firm that specializes in managing Facebook ads and pages for major brands and local service businesses. He is an internationally sought after speaker and author, having been featured on National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Entrepreneur Magazine, SMX West, HostingCon, Affiliate Summit, and other media outlets.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily SEM Samurai..