by Terry Green
When it comes to viral marketing, Twitter is the most popular. Its service has all the signs of a promotion-friendly medium – it’s public, incredibly easy to use, and boasts one of the largest user bases of any social media website (75 million in January 2010 according to ComputerWorld). A single tweet can easily swell into a thousand-strong meme (an idea spread through the Internet), with users flooding the website and generating huge amounts of instant press.
But does your business really need a flood of traffic that, except for a thin connection, most likely wouldn’t be interested in your promotion? Each of Twitter’s promotional strong points has one or more disadvantages too – public promotions can often hurt a brand, memes can occasionally lead to subsequent marketing disappearances, and message flooding can be misinterpreted as spam.
For those reasons, thousands of marketers are using Facebook in place of Twitter for their promotional efforts. In some ways the service is less than ideal when it comes to spreading a message. Some profiles are private, others are inactive, and most belong to groups that are rarely, if ever, updated with anything more than a one-line reply.
But that’s not all bad. A greater level of information sharing comes with the increased privacy, as well as even more valuable level of participation. The website’s grouping system can help small businesses, with some independent operators finding exposure in the ‘like’ list of popular users. In short, Facebook’s rather private and network-based nature can make it a greater tool for viral growth than its ‘open’ rival like Twitter.
Finally, Facebook’s relatively more private nature makes it the perfect service for optimizing and promoting your brand, all without fear of being labeled a ‘spammer’. Twitter’s public nature has made it a haven for automation and link spam – an annoyance that’s hurt hundreds of real marketers in the process.
With privacy comes a level of trust that’s otherwise missing. Design a Facebook promotion and you could find your company’s message between updates from close friends. If that doesn’t sound more appealing than a mass produced tweet, then it may be worth trying out a different social marketing strategy altogether.