Does Facebook Tweeting Hurt?
Facebook offers a way to connect your status updates to Twitter. Sounds like a great way to kill two birds with one stone. Does “tweeting” your Facebook status actually hurt your marketing efforts? Do Facebook tweeters frustrate users and risk alienating their customers? Let me answer that question by briefly exploring the difference between Twitter and Facebook. If you already understand the basics of these two networks, feel free to skip the next section.
A Facebook Fan page allows you to stay in touch with your customers and allows customers to post their thoughts and experiences about your business / product. Status updates are limited to 461 characters (at last check). Facebook also lets you post events, images, discussions, and even notes (blogs). As your customers interact with you through “likes,” comments and posts, two things occur: 1) They show up in the Home stream of your fans status updates or feeds 2) There is a central “page” that your fans can visit for all of your posts and other fan responses. Facebook is sticky, provides a connective conversation between you and your fans. As an example, www.facebook.com/drinknectar has 130 fans. These fans see my periodic posts in their feed/status update and they may occasionally click on one of my links or visit the fan page. Rarely if ever, does one of those fans actually share that information with their ‘friends.’ My reach typically ends with the 130 people.
Twitter is a fast paced stream or feed of real time information. Tweets are limited to only 140 characters. When you begin to follow people you see their tweets. The people who follow you conversely see your tweets. The only way for your tweets to reach a larger audience is to get more followers or to have one of your followers re-tweet it (RT). When they do, all of their followers will see it. Twitter does not directly have the ability to host any other content except the tweet. While you do have a profile page that people visit on Twitter, it does not readily show the complete story of a tweet or conversation. Example – My www.twitter.com/nectarwine account has close to 1000 followers. When I tweet something interesting, provoking, or of value, it is very common for that tweet to be re-tweeted 5-10 times. Some of these re-tweets are by people with 50 – 15,000 followers. The potential reach of my tweet can be upwards to 30,000 people, all across the globe.
Each medium has its own culture. Is one better than the other? Each has its place. Marketing and networking with the two is not always done in the same way. Here is where Facebook Tweeter goes wrong.
Problems with Tweeting Your Status Update
1) You run the risk of diminishing your returns
The Issue: You are posting a link to an awesome blog, asking for feedback from your fans (i.e. your customers), or promoting a special event. For argument sake, let’s say that the status update was interesting enough for me to care enough to click it. You’ve now taken me to Facebook where I have to click something else to either be taken to your blog, see the rest of the question, or read more about the event. Asking your followers (i.e. your customers) to be interested enough to click two things in the ADD world of social networking diminishes your returns.
The solution: If you want someone to go to a blog link, tweet the actual link. If you’re seeking feedback, keep the status update to less than 140 characters. If you’re promoting an event, link directly to the event page in your tweet (use a service that shortens links like bit.ly)
2) You will alienate your followers (i.e. your customers)
The Issue: You have a Twitter account and you have a Facebook page. With the nature of your business, people naturally start following you on Twitter. You, however are a Facebook Tweeter that neglects your Twitter account. Occasionally, your followers (i.e. customers) mention you in a tweet, they re-tweet your cool event (because they like you), and occasionally they ask you direct questions. Because all you do is tweet from Facebook, you never see any of it. Your followers associate your lack of response with lack of care, they get disinterested and they un-follow you (take their business elsewhere). As a test this week, I asked direct questions of local businesses and event promoters who I suspected of Facebook tweeting. The result: zero response, and loss of my interest in them as a company.
The Solution: Check Twitter. If using the standard Twitter page feels cumbersome (which it is), use a free product like TweetDeck to easily monitor your direct messages (DM), mentions and replies.
If you are going to be on both networks, one simple rule will govern your success: Caring, observant, conversation. If fans post to your wall or comment on a post, respond to them. If followers mention, re-tweet or direct message you, respond to them. You wouldn’t ignore a customer who was standing right in front of you…would you?
Do you agree? Is Facebook tweeting bad? Do you know people who are guilty of it?