As an avid (see: posts too much) social media user, people often ask me which social network is my favorite. My answer is Facebook.

Facebook has the most users spanning all demographics. You can reach the most people through Facebook. But more importantly you can build real relationships through Facebook. I consume the majority of my news on Facebook, interact with friends and acquaintances, stay in touch with family, and record my memories. It’s the only network where you can effectively do it all.

For churches and businesses, Facebook is a must and should be the one network where you devote the majority of your resources.

However, Twitter is an important network to include in your communications strategy as well. Personally it’s my go to network for certain content, and in a lot of specific ways it continues to be unmatched by other networks, including Facebook.

With over 330 million active monthly users as of 4th quarter 2018, it still has a very large user base. However, there seems to be a constant debate over its relevancy. People ask all the time if they should bother with Twitter, and they wonder if it’s dying. When you compare Twitter to Facebook’s 2.2 billion active users, I can understand where the concerns come from.

It certainly isn’t growing at the rate of Facebook, and it’s concerning that they have yet to really figure out how to generate revenue. But it’s not going anywhere any time soon, and continues to be a very effective communications tool. It’s important to embrace it differently from other networks, because they are all unique, with their own content types and usually their own audiences.

Let’s take a look at what makes Twitter different, and how you can be using it individually or as an organization. Here are 4 ways Twitter still dominates over all over networks:

Real-Time Updates

Twitter is faster than mainstream media when it comes to breaking news. We hear about shootings and attacks on Twitter before Facebook, TV, or news sites. In fact, these days news sites find out most of their breaking news from people posting on Twitter.

When the power goes out in your house or you hear a loud noise, you can search your city on Twitter and find out what’s happening. Often information like that will only be found on Twitter and may never turn into a news story. Even power companies update Twitter with outage information that can’t be found on their website or anywhere else.

If you need to update people fast about a service change, or event details, Twitter is your best bet to get that info out quickly. You’ll likely post to Facebook as well, but most people aren’t checking Facebook in real time like they are with Twitter.

Live Tweeting

It’s called “live tweeting” for a reason. Twitter is the only network where you can effectively post a stream of content during a live event such as a conference or church service.

People try to do this on Facebook but it ends up being annoying and not very effective. Facebook’s algorithms will only show a select few of your posts in people’s feeds, unless someone is specifically watching your page or profile or has “show first” turned on for your content. Most of your “live posts” will actually show up in people’s news feeds days later, or not at all.

Where Facebook dominates over Twitter is Facebook Live. When it comes to Facebook, show a live feed of your event rather than posting real-time quotes.

Twitter, however, will show the majority of your posts within your follower’s feeds as you post them. And if they want to follow closer they can click your profile and see your updates refresh in real-time without all the distractions that Facebook offers.

Because hashtags work so well on Twitter people can also easily follow your hashtag during a live event, and not only see what you post but what everyone else has to say as well.

Live Tweeting is useful in many different contexts. Just last week I stayed engaged with the Academy Awards show by checking my Twitter feed. I didn’t actually watch the show, but via Twitter I knew which movies were winning, what crazy speeches the actors were making, and how my friends and other influencers were reacting to it all.
Sure I watched a few clips on Facebook after the fact, but it was Twitter that kept me up to date in real time as the live show was happening.

Direct Connections

If you want to reach out to a celebrity, author, or even a pastor, Twitter is the best option for connecting directly with them.

The only way to reach out to someone on Facebook, who you aren’t friends with, is to comment on a post or try to message them. However, the majority of unsolicited Facebook messages get lost and never answered.

On Twitter you can directly tweet at someone and usually get a reply the same day, if not sooner. You can also direct message someone and have a better chance of them actually seeing it.

Try reaching out to @cnieuwhof or @garyvee or me at @justinjdean and see how quickly they reply.

Love him or hate him, it’s amazing that we hear directly from the President of the United States through Twitter. No other President has ever updated the public so directly and regularly.

Twitter provides an effective and easy to manage platform for connecting one on one. Every pastor should be using Twitter. If you have to prioritize your channels, I would focus on having a church page (and groups!) on Facebook, and a personal account for your pastor on Twitter.

Customer Service

When you need to praise or complain about a company or restaurant, the best place to turn to is Twitter.

Sure you can write a review on Facebook, but if you want real time interaction and accountability for the service you’ve received, Twitter is the way to go.

Companies like @Delta, @Wendys, @DennysDiner, @chilis, and countless others, man their Twitter accounts 24/7 to provide real-time customer service.

I’ll tweet at a company before I ever call them on the phone or email them.

Don’t give up Twitter, just learn how to use it.

Twitter may not be a great place for conversations, but it’s great for getting information out to the masses. Use it in this way and you’ll likely find great success.

I have 20,000 followers on Twitter. I was able to get that many by simply following people who were like minded and who I thought would be interested in my content. Usually about 50% of the people you follow will follow back. You can find them by searching the followers of people who post content like you do, as well as through relevant hashtags.

Gaining that kind of following on Facebook is harder to do as an individual, let alone as a business page.

Learn how Twitter can be useful for your platform, and don’t try to treat it like Facebook or any other network, and I think you’ll find it valuable.