Ninety percent of small businesses have created a Facebook presence, but many hesitate to create (or use) a Twitter profile to market their business. It's easy to see why: Twitter is different. With users throwing around @'s, #'s, and acronyms, it can seem a little foreign compared to the intuitiveness of Facebook. Even so, Twitter's 288 million active users is an attractive audience that you should consider connecting with. When you understand the advantages and disadvantages of Twitter, you can better decide to tweet or not to tweet.
- Twitter is massive. Even if you are a small business with a very unique niche, Twitter is big enough that you can find an audience.
- Every tweet goes to your followers. On Facebook, each post you make only goes out to some of your fans because of Facebook's Edgerank algorithm. On Twitter, unless you tweet directly to someone, each and every tweet goes to all of your followers.
- Tweets are easy to create. While many brands share links to longer content, a simple tweet takes less than a minute to write and send, but can still be very effective. During the Super Bowl power outage, Oreo's "You can still dunk in the dark" tweet generated over 15,000 retweets.
- You can get to the point. Since you are limited to 140 characters, you need to get to the point. On Twitter, you should still be polite, but you can be more direct than on other platforms.
- Twitter is busy. Twitter users generate 340 million tweets per day, and most users follow several hundred profiles. Because there is no Edgerank, if you only tweet once or twice a day, your tweets are quickly buried in your followers' feeds.
- Twitter is not ideal for visual content. Twitter is mostly text based. If you want to share a lot of photos, Pinterest or Instagram may be a better fit. (Even so, tweets that include a link to a photo have twice the engagement of tweets without a photo.)
- You are limited to 140 characters. If you have trouble expressing your thoughts in just a few words, Twitter will be a challenge.
- Not everyone can advertise. While Twitter does allow for promoted tweets and profiles, you need to be approved by Twitter before you can use its promotion features. You can find out more about promoting your small business on Twitter here. Update: In April 2013, Twitter opened up advertising to all U.S. accounts. How do I create Twitter ads?
To get noticed, it is important to tweet often throughout the day. This is much easier when you have a tweet scheduling tool like GroSocial's content manager.
Whether you decide to use Twitter or not, we hope you will consider it in your social marketing efforts.