Twitter is another way to connect with people and spread information about a particular subject. There are a lot of people that use Twitter and it’s a big “buzz word” these days, but I’m not sure that devoting a significant amount of time to it is the best use of a small business’s resources. Should it be included in your marketing options? Sure, but I would keep the time involved fairly limited and streamline the process.
Why Facebook is better than Twitter for small businesses
Twitter is mainly used by personalities and influencers to connect and spread information. Many people with personal brands use it (celebrities, business people, influencers) to connect and stay top-of-mind with a large audience of people. Many businesses use it effectively too but success is found more on a national scale.
Facebook is different. Everyone’s on Facebook because it was designed to connect you with the normal people and things around you. (classmates, family and friends, local interests) So there’s a different type of person that uses Facebook vs. Twitter. I would say that Facebook is more about normal people looking to interact socially and to keep up on a limited number of things that interest them. People on Twitter use it as a tool to spread their influence and connect with a wide variety of news, information and niche topics around the world. Now, there will be people that disagree with me here but for the majority, this is how it works.
So, could a small, local business use Twitter to connect and communicate with customers? Yes, in theory. But the problem with Twitter is that is can be serious information overload for most normal people. (Those people being your local customers) Lets just say that a busy mom likes using Twitter. IF you can get her to follow you she is likely following you and 200 other people, TV shows, celebrities, news outlets and any number of different niche topics for work and personal use. The amount of information that comes through her “Twitter Feed” on a daily basis is probably overwhelming. What are the chances that she’ll actually see a tweet from you and take action? Just because you post something to Twitter and Facebook does not guarantee that it will reach your followers either. To reach her you would have to tweet at least 3-5 times a day, every day, minimum and make it through the static. If she’s anything like me, she isn’t checking every day either. She’s checking once a week or every other week when she’s stuck in traffic or at the doctor’s office. So the effort would have to be constant to make a dent and reach her. Are there exceptions? Sure. Are there enough exceptions to make it worth your effort? I’m not sure about that.
Again, Facebook is different. People want to connect to the other people around them on a regular basis. I love to log in and see what my brother and my cousins have been doing and where they’ve been. Along the way I may get some information from a business partner or client that made a post or even see what specials are on sale this weekend at the local grocery store. It’s all about connecting with people and things close to you.
I gauge a lot of these things based on my experiences and what people are doing around me. Internet Marketing is my business and I rarely check my Twitter feed. I just don’t have the time. And when I do, I spend 10 minutes and scan a few tweets or follow a few of the latest links and then I’m gone. 99% of the information that comes through my twitter feed is wasted on me because I never see it. How do you expect to reach a busy mom of 3 or a dad that spends his day working a 9-5 job? Even if I do check it I only get through a small portion of the information in my feed. Nobody that I know personally uses Twitter. That includes me, my wife, family, friends, employees, clients, etc. NOBODY. (Ok, there is one exception, but only one.)
On the flip side, EVERYONE uses Facebook. When I see my wife and my parents doing something then I know it’s valuable and has mass market appeal. All of my friends, family, employees and many business colleagues are on Facebook daily. I actually see posts on Facebook from local businesses that I frequent so they ARE reaching me and other people like me. Not true for Twitter.
The other thing to consider is this. The more you use social media, the more people will interact with you. If you’re going to put effort into social marketing you need to be prepared to respond and interact with people. If your business doesn’t have the resources to keep up with this then I would limit your social marketing outlets.
For most small businesses, what I would recommend is this: Post things out to Twitter and other social outlets if it’s easy and position it as a one way street. You’re just putting information about there. You may reach someone that otherwise would have missed your message but it’s going to be rare. The trade-off is that the effort is minimal. Put your efforts into growing your Facebook followers at the moment. It’s a better vehicle to reach real, local customers on a regular basis that will have a real impact on your business.
I’m a big believer in focus. If you focus your efforts you’ll have success. If you try to be everything to everyone and you try to use all possible options you’ll fail. Take the time and money you would put into Twitter and all the other social channels and focus 90% of your effort in on Facebook and make it a GREAT experience. I think this is how most local, small businesses can make the biggest splash with social media.