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4 Ways Twitter Still Dominates Over All Social Networks

4 Ways Twitter Still Dominates Over All Social Networks

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.

 

About The Author

Justin Dean

Justin Dean is a church communications advisor and entrepreneur. He served as the Communications Director at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, is the author of PR Matters: A Survival Guide for Church Communicators, and is the co-founder of That Church Conference and SundayU. He lives outside Atlanta, GA with his wife and four kids.

2 Comments

  1. Jeremy Smith

    Having written on the topic for ChurchMag that I left Twitter because it is a bunch of noise, it’s probably no shock to you that I disagree with this. As an individual, I was getting little to no actual engagement unless I reached out to people personally. Even then, a tweet storm or thread of tweet conversation just did not do it. In response to posting to the masses, it honestly was just noise and I wouldn’t be able to find really anything unless I sifted through all the stuff to find one nut worth investigating. In the world of return on investment, I need something better than that for the time I spent.

    But it should be noted I actually left Twitter, as in my account is completely gone, someone else can go steal the username if they wanted. I would go further than just saying it wasn’t worth it for me, to the point it was actually detrimental for any influence I wanted to make as a user. And this is coming from someone who has had thousands of followers as well. Terrible click through, minimal engagement, all from a ton of time invested.

    That being said, this is my own opinion.

    Reply
  2. CHRIS WILSON

    I’m a ChurchMag writer and yet I’m still on Twitter so perhaps my opinion is bias both for it (as I use it) and against it (as I know and respect Jeremy). Let me start by a comparison to another social network, Google+.
    I loved Google+ and regularly defended it against criticism. I found it to provide great value for me and it had some exciting features. Whenever a blog post came out decrying Google+ as dead I would share it on Google+ and a load of people would criticize the author for not using it, having only a few followers and state that they still found it useful. It was a complete echo chamber, of course people on Google+ found google+ useful, it’s like asking an Apple user if they think apple sucks, you might find one or two people who agree, but if they really agree, they stop using Apple devices and become an Android/windows PC user.
    Anyway, eventually I left Google+ because they introduced a tone of changes that weren’t great and I got fed up with all the spam messages. Twitter isn’t dead to me and is still the network I use most but they are certainly heading down a dangerous path. The first features you mention are features that they’ve minimalized recently. The live nature is being replaced with a curated look and the live features they are promoting haven’t really worked yet. This is what twitter should focus on but they haven’t, in the meantime as you correctly point out, Facebook has been growing in this area and is challenging twitters stronghold.
    The connections point is certainly valid but this won’t be relevant for everyone. Does Pastor John with his congregation of 200 really care about connecting with Gary Vee? Or does Dave the sound guy really need to get in touch with influencers? Perhaps they care more about the pastors group on Facebook or the sound tech group. Certainly I’ve noticed that the church Communicators group is a lot more active and useful for me than following the spam filled hashtags on twitter.
    As for customer service, Facebook again has made a big push in this area with messaging and customer response times on Facebook pages (not to mention the messenger intergrations you can get for a website). So this is another area where Facebook is taking twitter on.
    If I was invested in church Coms, I would see all these points as of minor importance to the value that Facebook returns to me. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t use it personally (I still do) but a tiny fraction of my church’s congregation is on twitter, 99% are on Facebook. So Twitter still has value, it isn’t dead but it’s certainly on the ropes and Facebook could easily replace it in every aspect. If you like twitter, that’s fine (I still enjoy using it) but it certainly isn’t in the best health.

    Reply

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