Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Facebook and Twitter aren't the same thing?
Social media is great. It’s new. It’s fresh. It’s a whole new way to communicate. It’s especially exciting now for how public relations is conducted because it’s new way not only to communicate with audiences, but interact with audiences. However, there’s a danger in public relations to just say “we’ll do social media” in a proposal or plan. Social media is comprised of several different components such as Facebook and Twitter. People use Facebook and Twitter for different things, communicate differently on them, and are looking for different things on them. If one is using social media in a strategic public relations plan, it is important to realize that Facebook and Twitter use should be catered to the type of audience one is trying to reach.
Overall, from what I’ve found, Facebook seems to be used for personal communication, where Twitter is a forum for business and general awareness.
Personally, I use Facebook for personal things and Twitter for obtaining information or sharing interesting current events or news. I use Facebook to communicate and stay in touch with friends. My friends and I often group message each other because we all know we sign on to Facebook at least once a day. I also use Facebook a lot for school. It’s a great way to have two-way communication with people. It’s an easy way to put questions out there to a large audience who is specifically interested in what you are saying, since they are your friend or part of similar groups or events.
On Twitter, I use it mostly for collecting information. I’m not as interactive on Twitter as I am on Facebook. I feel it’s a lot easier to be passive on Twitter. If you just follow and read people’s tweets I feel that I’ve engaged enough that I do not have to tweet. However, if one is not active on Facebook, it’s much more obvious and quite frankly rude if one don’t respond to people’s messages or interact with others.
I have also noticed that a lot of local recently formed businesses are signing up for Twitter. I think it’s because Twitter is perceived as a public communication forum, where Facebook is regarded as personal. I think it’s a lot less annoying for someone to see a business tweeting about the latest deal than seeing it on a Facebook feed. It seems almost intrusive. People don’t want to see self-promotion or news about other people’s professional lives on Facebook.
I think why it’s more acceptable on Twitter to promote or use it as a business communication tool is because one chooses to follow a person, therefore have less credibility to be mad at seeing one’s tweets, and because a tweet is seen once and gone as soon as one scrolls past it. However, on Facebook, annoying status updates and pictures seem to linger in the Facebook feed.
Another example I’ve heard of how Twitter seems to be more suited for business is an organization that wanted to promote themselves and their new campaign online that my friend works for. However, the organization didn’t want the interactive feature of people being able to write negative comments on the organization’s wall. As most know, being online can give people a lot more courage to say negative things online, like on Facebook walls, than in person. So the organization decided a Twitter account might be more appropriate for them.
Overall, I think I would use both Facebook and Twitter in a strategic public relations plan because Facebook and Twitter offer people different things. Facebook, as mentioned earlier, seems more interactive. I would make my posts something people could comment on, like open ended questions or asking for opinion. On Twitter, it seems that people use it more for information gathering. I would make sure that I provided useful information with links (140 characters would not be enough) that my target audience would appreciate or be interested in to build a following and then communicate the message of what I was doing public relations for.
Finally, there are always people we love to read about on Facebook and Twitter.
On Facebook a good friend is one who regularly updates at least something on their page with a status update, pictures, or messages on other people’s walls. It makes me interested in keeping them as a friend. However, someone that complains or updates every 2 seconds is annoying. Get out of my feed, I want to see other people’s happenings too.
On the other hand, someone who updates a lot of Twitter is someone good to follow. This usually means that they aren’t purely using Twitter for promotion, but offering me information or entertainment I crave every time I refresh my feed. Someone good to follow is also someone who understands Twitter. Twitter has a 140 character limit, get over it, or use a blog of Facebook. I can’t stand when people have one message spread over a dozen tweets. Even, if they have something good to say, it’s lost in the medium.
Facebook, Twitter, both great PR tools as long as you know what kind of interaction your audience wants.