Facebook and Twitter for Brands: A Comparison
We all know that people use social media platforms in different ways. For some time now, I have been intrigued as to how people use the two biggest social media platforms differently, whether they use it the same way as me. Going around asking the question “How do you use Facebook and Twitter?” has brought me some interesting responses. Around 75% of the people I asked said they used Facebook to post more private updates than they do with Twitter. Their Twitter accounts are mainly used to follow news and topics that interest them. So, it seems like I am the anomaly, being much more discerning with the people I authorize on Twitter than I am with Facebook. What does this mean for businesses that have both Facebook and Twitter accounts? How do they use them differently?
The structure of Facebook allows for longer updates that fully lay out the details complete with pictures to give its readers well… the full picture. Fans can be informed on the latest promotions, collections, releases, launches and more. Facebook can be a digital newsletter with a ready-made template for brands to reach out to their consumers, at a low cost.
A quick glimpse at Burberry’s Facebook Timeline page (often regarded as one of the best brand pages out there) gives me a more thorough overview of what the brand has been doing this entire year than its website. In this aspect, they have done it right: they have made Burberry a name that generates buzz in the world of social media by creating one of the best timelines on Facebook, keeping themselves at the forefront of a new generation of consumers’ awareness and minds.
But, how exactly does one do it right? Sorry to say this, but there is no manual for a surefire way towards a successful social media campaign. It depends on the positioning of the brand and the image it wants to deliver to consumers. For a classic luxury fashion brand like Burberry, it makes sense to keep the jokes and peculiarities in check for a more mature (and high-income) target audience, one who may not want the items they spend serious money on to be associated with a not-so-serious marketing campaign. Burberry’s Facebook Timeline features visually captivating photographs of its merchandises, models and fashion shows. Instead of wordy updates, gorgeous photos (one of the main tenets of luxury brands) get the message across in a way that is elegant, short and sweet.
On the other hand, Twitter is best used as a support tool for a brand’s Facebook presence. This strategy holds the assumption that brands which use Twitter also have a Facebook page, which I dare say, is mostly true. The 140-character constraint for a Twitter update trains one to be concise all the time. A longer post that exceeds this limit is best avoided because chances are, people won’t be bothered to click to read the entire tweet. The crucial question therefore, is: How do we decide what to put in that short and sweet tweet? Most of the time, brands decide to tweet a summary of their Facebook status update together with a picture, if relevant. This is true for Burberry’s tweets. However, if every tweet is a summary, things can get rather boring…
Which brings me to Fanta’s Twitter page. Fanta’s Twitter page is one of the most entertaining pages I have come across. It stays true to its brand image of being fun and vibrant, while managing to create a different form of presence than the one it has on Facebook. While it has cleverly created a sense of adventure to the ‘likes’ it is trying to get from fans on Facebook, its Twitter is more personal and humorous. The administrators are active in replying to fans’ mentions, giving acknowledgment to the people who tweet them and thus, creating a potentially very loyal fan base. A scan of its tweets gave me a good laugh, particularly this tongue-in-cheek entry saying “We’re sexy and we know it!” with the hashtag #ModestyIsOurBestQuality. In Fanta’s case, its Twitter carries a different tone from its Facebook page, although both are equally entertaining. Fans and non-fans will find the desire to follow both accounts as the differing contents give them different experiences. This, in return, will create a fan base that is as solid in quality as it is in quantity.
Just as how we use our personal Facebook and Twitter accounts in different ways, brands can do that as well. Depending on the desired image a brand wants to portray, a combination of approaches can be used to create the desired outcome. Though there are no fixed equations to ensure the success of a brand’s social media campaign, there are two simple rules of thumb: maximize the usage of Facebook’s Timeline layout and focus on word selection when posting on Twitter. Facebook’s Timeline allows visuals to take centre stage to captivate people’s attention. If visuals are the focus, then skim down on the words… More is not always better. Twitter, on the other hand, focuses primarily on words, so updates can be long (by Twitter definition, 140 characters) but they also need to have the sharpness to evoke emotions like intrigue, humour and curiousity. So be special: don’t be afraid to be an anomaly in the way you use your social media platforms—it is the unusual that captures the attention.