I have managed Twitter and Facebook accounts for a living for over 8 years now. I’ve consulted in a variety of ways with over 100 different companies on either creating or improving their social media marketing strategy. One thing that has always interested me is the number of companies I’ve worked with that are bullish on Facebook and believe it to be vital for their business, yet are bearish on Twitter and question if Twitter adds any value to their business.

How can this be?
I’m concerned when businesses feel that Twitter does not add value. I dove into figuring out why so many businesses are convinced of this. What I found is that the businesses believe two lies:
“My customers aren’t on Twitter,” and
“Twitter does not work for us.”
If you believe that your customers aren’t on Twitter, then of course you’ll think that Twitter does not work for your company. While there are some companies whose customers might not be on Twitter, the reality is that the customers of most businesses are on Twitter. If their customers are actually on Twitter, why are so many businesses convinced that they aren’t – and that Twitter does not work?

The biggest reason I find is that they have a fundamentally flawed strategy for Twitter. The flaw in their strategy is that they are using the same strategy for Twitter that they use on Facebook. Twitter is not Facebook. The strategy that is working for you on Facebook is not likely to work on Twitter. Your Twitter strategy must be different than your Facebook strategy. Here are two key ways in which your Twitter strategy needs to differ from your Facebook strategy.

Frequency of posts:
One to three posts per day is advisable for Facebook. On Twitter, you need to post much more frequently. Whereas the timeline on Facebook operates in an algorithm, the Twitter timeline is in real-time. If you don’t post often on Twitter (I suggest 20 plus times per day), you stand a very low likelihood of your Tweets being seen. Though your customers are on Twitter, if they don’t see your content, Twitter won’t work for you. Tweet valuable content and Tweet often.

Proactive Engagement:
You have to be proactive in your engagement on Twitter. It is not up to your customers to find you on Twitter; it is up to you to find your customers on Twitter. You can’t sit back and wait for people to come to you. Facebook decides who to show your posts to and when to show them.

On Facebook, you spend money on ads and boosts to tell Facebook who your target customers are and Facebook brings your page and posts to those customers timelines.

On Twitter, you need to take more of an initiative. Sure, some customers will proactively engage with your company on Twitter, but if you’re a small business it is more likely that you will have to initiate most engagement. Follow targeted people. Tweet at people. Reply to Tweets. If you don’t proactively engage, if you don’t seek out your customers, you won’t have much success on Twitter.

Time is valuable. A business does not want to, nor should they spend time on a social network that does not work for them.

However, if you are a business who finds yourself saying that your customers are not on Twitter or that Twitter does not work for you, consider the possibility that it is you who is not properly using Twitter.

If your Twitter strategy is the same as your Facebook strategy, you’re not using Twitter effectively. Create a separate strategy for Twitter that includes tweeting often and proactively engaging. Consistently work that strategy. If you then find out Twitter is still not working for you, then focus your attention on other social networks. Though, I am confident that for the vast majority of businesses out there, Twitter can be effective.