Home > Identity and Branding, Messaging > Twitter and Facebook are different. Treat them differently

Twitter and Facebook are different. Treat them differently

MB_pen_01Mashable has a recent post about updating your Facebook feed from Twitter. If you haven’t done this before, this can seem like a good idea, and a way to get involved in more conversations with less effort. Automatically adding your tweets to Facebook? What could be easier?

However, I highly recommend against automatically updating your Facebook status with your Twitter feed, for the following reasons.

1) Twitter has its own dialect. Your Facebook followers won’t understand the retweets, hashtags, and references to other Twitterers. When I auto-updated a few months ago, I spent more time explaining my tweets to my Facebook friends than I saved on sending two separate messages.

2) Twitter and Facebook have two separate audiences and two different purposes. Facebook makes it much easier to thread conversations; Twitter, by its nature, requires more of an immediate response. Posting the same thing to both places only works some of the time — I’d estimate 10% to 25% of the time. Take a look at the content on your wall on Facebook; much of this content wouldn’t fit on Twitter, and if posted, would require significant changes to make sense to a viewer.

The Mashable post mentions third-party tools that can post to both Facebook and Twitter; TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop are two of the most popular. If you’d like to post things in both Twitter and Facebook, I recommend using one of these tools and modifying the post.bic

Examples:

Appropriate post on Twitter: Will people pay for MCT’s 1-page FB guide 4 biz? I’m curious, but not for $ <link to MCT’s guide>

Appropriate post on Facebook: MCT just released a one-page guide for using Facebook for business. I’m curious to see what’s in it, but I don’t think it’s worth paying for. <link>

Certain things that are short and sweet can be posted on both: “I just got the new version of the latest Wii game,” for instance. But the Venn diagram of what’s appropriate on both services has so little overlap that it’s not practical to blindly post your Twitter feed to your Facebook status.

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