Many folks ask me why they should invest in using Twitter if they already have a Facebook page (and vice versa). After all, a tweet lasts but a few seconds and then it’s gone, lost in the stream.
- Yes, although many people use both platforms, many do not. So you are expanding your reach.
- For those who do follow you on both Facebook and Twitter, your message is reinforced by being seen on multiple sites.
- Most importantly, I find it much easier and faster to build Followers on Twitter than to gain new Likes on Facebook.
If you’ve only just gotten your Facebook page launched and you’re struggling to build your audience there (or even remember to post on a regular basis), I do not recommend kicking off your Twitter account while you’re still getting your sea legs (per se) on Facebook. It’s best to get your presence and fan engagement running like a well-oiled machine on one platform before getting started on a new one.
One advantage of this system is that once you’ve built that huge fan base on either Facebook or Twitter, you can ask them to join you on the other platform when you kick off your new account. It’s a great way to get an instant, large fan base.
Facebook’s structure makes it quite difficult to grow your fan base without paying for an ad, holding a contest and/or giving something away as a prize for Liking your page. Twitter, on the other hand, has tighter structure and users adhere more closely to Twitter etiquette protocols than folks appear to do on Facebook. Many arrived on Twitter and used the etiquette of the day that you Follow everyone who follows you.
This is not today’s modus operandi on Twitter. (Furthermore, you don’t want to follow every Tom, Dick and Harry. Nor do you want everyone following you.) A better strategy is quality, not quantity. (But a little bit of both helps.)
Since you are limited to 140 character tweets, everyone is very succinct with their messages on Twitter. Hundreds and thousands of them can go by on your screen at a much faster rate than you’d likely see on Facebook.
Once you get a good understanding of the right rhythm and volume for your tweets, retweets, mentions and so on, you can maintain your presence on Twitter through automation and tools without feeling the need to watch all your lists and tweet traffic every minute of the day. However, if you are in highly active Follower-building mode, you will need to devote much more time to your activities on Twitter in order to gain, build and sustain the momentum of Follower acquisition at a high level.
My Twitter Life in a Nutshell, er, Birdsnest
Like many I kicked off my Twitter account many, many months before I could figure out what to do with it and how to use it well. When first beginning, your Twitter stream is nearly blank, as you don’t have any Followers yet, and aside from a half dozen friends who tweet every other week, you don’t see a lot of action.
Second, there’s been a perception (read: myth) that you can’t effectively tweet unless you’re using your mobile device for much of the activity. This is completely untrue.
What made Twitter far more popular with mobile users than Facebook was simply that it required very short messages. With limited keyboard capability in older phones, short messages were desirable!
Now with a large percentage of the population using smartphones with QWERTY keyboard capability, it’s much easier for users to post to both social media platforms while on-the-go. However, I should note that I find it much easier to track Twitter activity from my desk using Tweetdeck (Hootsuite is also highly regarded.) than from the small screen of a smartphone. Myth destroyed!
Stumbling Around in Search of Followers
One surprising observation I had while my account was mostly dormant was that from time to time perfect strangers would Follow my account, presumably based entirely upon the content of my bio, as I had little to no activity of tweets. Now, I don’t know about you, but from a strategy perspective, you can’t expect to build raving fans off of nearly dormant accounts.
Each time someone new follows me on Twitter, I check out their page or statistics to see how much activity they have on Twitter. If s/he has thousands of followers and tons of tweets, the possibility of my tweets being seen by thousands more goes up exponentially. If, on the other hand, this person has tweeted a handful of times and has almost no activity (or none in the last several months), it’s a strong indicator this person may not be worth my time to follow.
(Safety tips: You should always check out new followers just to ensure the accounts aren’t spam, which can be quite prolific on Twitter. Do NOT automatically follow anyone back. And do NOT automatically reply to someone you don’t know and/or haven’t reviewed their profile and Twitter activity to ensure it’s a real person.
Some giveaways that an account is robo-created and/or spam is the use of the egg icon instead of a profile picture. Also if the ‘person’ has tweeted the same or similar message to dozens before you, it’s spam. If the photo looks unusually suggestive, or the profile uses highly suggestive language, it’s spam.
Use good judgment. Block and report suspected spam accounts immediately.