A few years ago, the world was convinced that Twitter was the wave of the future for online marketing. And if you look at the amount of coverage–in news, sports, entertainment, and lifestyle–that takes the Twitterverse’s opinion into account, it’s easy to see where they’re coming from.
Facebook is a different story. Although it had already been around during the Twitter boom, it took time for marketers to recognize its potential. It doesn’t help that it went from platform to platform before finally making itself as friendly to businesses as it was to individuals. The feature that made the difference was Facebook Pages. With its launch and the continuous growth of Facebook accounts, it quickly became the front-line marketing tool for businesses. But why is it so effective? More importantly, why should you invest time and money in a Facebook Page when your marketing plan looks solid enough?
One thing that makes Facebook different is intimacy. Facebook Page updates appear on people’s news feeds, alongside messages from their friends and family. This kind of closeness implies that your brand is part of your readers’ lives. Few other marketing approaches, if any, allow you to break away from the “big business” image and become a friendly, accessible resource.
Facebook also combines a large readership–over 600 million, more than half of whom are active–with a system that commands people’s full attention. In other words, when people use Facebook, they’re focused on it, whether writing status updates, reading other people’s, or looking at photos or videos. Most other social media platforms, notably Twitter, are made to run in the background. And that points us to another distinct advantage: while Twitter users are largely tech-savvy and have on-the-go lifestyles, Facebook is accessible to even those with limited technical know-how.
There’s also better quality discourse in a Facebook post than a Twitter update. It’s not just because the 140-character limit is removed, but also because comments are easier to read and respond to. It’s therefore more effective at making users feel like part of a community.
Last but not least, there’s the ubiquitous Facebook Like. It’s a small icon and a single mouse click, but it packs more power than a Twitter follow for several reasons. The most obvious is that it’s public, so it spreads across every new fan’s social network and pretty much self-multiplies. Likes aren’t everything, but it’s a good start–and combined with the growing range of Facebook marketing features, it’s set to change the face of marketing, if it hasn’t already.