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It’s the Experience, Stupid

An article recently published by Business Insider entitled ‘When It Comes to Marketing, Twitter Destroys Facebook’ made me go ‘Huh?’.

Based on link-sharing data released by Social Twist which shows clickthroughs for Twitter coming in at an impressive 1900% versus Facebooks 287%, the article concludes “Twitter may have a significantly smaller user-base than Facebook, but it requires less time for actionable exposure, offers more return on investment, and reaches a more specific audience and consumer base. The amount of distraction on Twitter is also far less than the amount of distraction on Facebook, where businesses can end up lost at sea.” This, along with the article’s call-to-action “To learn more about choosing between Facebook or Twitter for your business” really made me smile. Why is it an either / or choice? It made me think that the article must have been written by somebody who has never run a marketing campaign using social media.

Sure, clickthrough rates to a website are a measure of success. But they are just one measure. And of course Twitter will score more highly for clickthroughs than Facebook because sharing links is one of the biggest reasons people use Twitter.  With the 140  character limit people have to be pushed elsewhere to see content; Twitter can’t host it, nor does it want to. Not so Facebook. Much to the dismay of internet inventor Tim Berners Lee (who has accused Mark Zuckerberg of distorting the founding ideals of the internet as an open  forum), Facebook is almost a universe into itself with so much content within the platform that external links take a back seat. You don’t have to leave Facebook to sharing photos, email, videos, events, groups and (yes) marketing content from businesses and entertainment. Increasingly it’s all available within Facebook. This is why Facebook application development has sky rocketed in the past few years.  It’s why our software partners Topspin have developed an integrated Facebook store functionality (see below). It’s why brands (like Adidas) and musicians (like U2) treat their Facebook page with as much attention as they do their website, because they know that many Facebook users don’t want to navigate outside the platform.

This is not to say that I think Facebook is better than Twitter or vice versa. As I’ve outlined before, I think Twitter is a great tool. They are just very different. Using Facebook as marketing tool is not about pushing out links to external content, it’s about creating a meaningful experience within the platform. For musicians this means keeping in touch with fans and conversing with them, updating your content on your profile page, encouraging sharing to their Facebook friends and allowing them to purchase from you within your profile. And increasingly it’s about the long-term experience they have with you and your music on Facebook that matters. As Facebook matures, so too does its users. They don’t click on links indiscriminately and they are are more likely to ‘unlike’ you if they feel they are being spammed. But long term fans are valuable to you; they love your music and they will support you. So make sure you’re giving them a good experience on Facebook. And on Twitter. Because it’s not the medium that matters, it’s the experience and what you do with it.

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