More Valuable for Business: Twitter or Facebook?

    January 5, 2011
    Chris Crum

Which is more valuable to business – Facebook or Twitter? It’s a question that business owners struggle with every day in the quest for building a larger customer base, and retaining the customers they already have. It’s a question that won’t have the same answer for every business. It’s also a question that requires the evaluation of a great deal of variables on a per business basis. 

Do you get more business value from Twitter or from Facebook? Let us know in the comments.

That said, there are always stats that can be looked at to help nudge a business owner in one direction or help the evaluation of some of those variables. While not all stats can be taken as definite, and should always be kept in perspective (many have their own variables), they can still provide value to the evaluation process. 

Bruce Houghton at Hypebot points to the following infographic from Digital Surgeons, breaking down 2010 social demographics of Facebook vs. Twitter:

Facebook Vs. Twitter Demographics

There is a conversation about Facebook vs. Twitter (in terms of business value) going on over on Quora. Specifically, the initial question asked was, "Which has more value to a business: Facebook or Twitter?" 

Well known industry analyst Jeremiah Owyang with the Altimeter Group says, "A better question would be: ‘Which social networks is a company’s customers located on?’ followed up by "How easy is it for me to reach, influence, offer them products on that social network?’"

"Then you do a comparison of both, and derive your value," he adds. "Change your thinking not to compare apples to oranges but instead apply an analytical approach to problem solving." Senior Community Host Jeff Sonderman added, "One thing to consider is, what kind of value are you talking about? I think Facebook, when used well, builds a stronger connection with a smaller number of people. There is more ongoing dialogue — both between you and customers, and among your customers themselves."

"Twitter seems more effective at reaching more people than Facebook, especially with something viral, and is more focused on driving traffic to your site through short links," he said. "But you don’t get as close a connection with the users there, and you don’t have a discrete group that gets to know each other."

Getting to know each other is indeed something worth considering, because trust is a big factor in relevance when it comes to content consumption. You tend to trust people more if you feel like you know them a little. At the very least, knowing someone can help you determine whether you trust them or not. 

Trust on a larger scale is also important when you get into search engine ranking from social sites. Google and Bing both talked about this recently. Michael Gray just wrote an interesting piece on this as well. 

If it’s simply traffic you’re after, don’t forget about StumbleUpon. StatCounter released a report this week, indicating that StumbleUpon is the top source for social media traffic in the U.S. of course, you have to take into account the quality of that traffic as well. For example, technology blog TechCrunch revealed some stats this week indicating that they were indeed getting a significant amount of traffic from StumbleUpon. However, the people coming from StumbleUpon tended not to hang around as long as those coming from some other sources. 

Again, this comes back to what Owyang said: "Apply an analytical approach to problem solving". Use your analytics applications. Adjust your strategy accordingly. Watch developments, stats, and studies in the industry and read what people have to say about social media marketing, but your own analytics will likely reveal a lot more about what you need to pay attention to than what anybody else says. 

From which social network do you get the most bang for your buck? Comment here.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.