How do Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ Compare When Used for Business?

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Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are among the most popular social networking sites, but how do they stack up against each other when used for business? Let’s examine how each compares on features that drive business.

ProfilePageImageBusinesses can create pages on Facebook and Google+ to share their company information, post photos, videos, and apps. Facebook offers Facebook Pages and Google+ offers  Business Pages.  A nice feature of Google+ is that it is tied to Google search, so the business page, profile image, and recent posts are likely to display on the right hand side of Google search results on a relevant search, making it easy for customers find.  The business location will also show up on Google Maps.  Twitter profiles, on the other hand, don’t allow for as much information as they are limited to 160 characters. Photos and videos can be uploaded and placed in an album that is viewable on the Twitter profile. Enhanced profile pages are available to businesses on Twitter for a sizeable fee (Hamburger, 2012, n.p.). One unique feature of Twitter is messages are kept to quick snippets which is great for businesses to give followers quick updates.

magnifyingglassDiscovery is somewhat easier with Google+ and Twitter than it is with Facebook.  Google+ profile and location information displayed on searches makes finding businesses easy.  Twitter Profiles and Facebook Pages also show up on public searches, although not as prominently on Google.  Google’s Communities  and Facebook’s Groups are areas where people with similar interests can gather and share information; hence, posting in these areas will enhance discovery.  Twitter’s hashtag feature allows tweets to display on Twitter searches for that keyword. This is a great way for companies to broadcast messages on topics relating to their business, such as a tradeshow for example.  With Twitter, you can follow any person or businesses and their tweets will display in your feed. Similarly, if you add someone to one of your circles in Google+, you can see their public posts. This allows businesses to keep up with customers, benchmarked companies, peers, and competitors. Conversely, Facebook is not as open – you have to be friends in order to see information.  Businesses can attract new followers on all three platforms by adding follow buttons to websites, blogs, and other communications.

LikeFollowbuttonsPersonal recommendations go a long way. Companies can drive business by adding Like, +1, and Tweet buttons to their websites and blog posts.  When visitors click on the buttons, they are essentially endorsing the product. The Like, +1, or tweet will be visible in the person’s timelines and feed. The comments associated with these endorsements give businesses valuable information about how their products are viewed and can drive product modification and innovation (Facebusinessworld.com, 2011, n.p.).

Each platform also offers a location service for users to let friends know where they are and what they’re doing.  Users can check in at establishments to leave recommendations and comments. Businesses can use this as an advantage to run promotions and offer discounts.

Dollar SignNext, let’s talk about advertising opportunities. Facebook does offer advertising, and businesses can target audiences based on profiles, likes, locations, as well as information from third parties.  Smart technology, cookies and apps allow ads to appear on and off Facebook. Twitter allows businesses to advertise through promoted tweets by targeting keywords in timelines, interests, geography, and gender. Twitter is also planning to allow companies to send promoted tweets to anyone who opens the Twitter mobile app near the business (Delo, 2013). Google+, on the other hand, doesn’t offer advertising; however, if you are an Adwords customer and you have a Google+ page, you can take advantage of Social Annotations where searchers will see information on your ad from your Google+ profile, such as number of followers and +1s.

One feature that is unique to Google+ that is worth mentioning is Hangouts which is a free video conferencing service that can be recorded or hosted live, and used both internally or externally by businesses. It’s a great way to get feedback from customers, or host a meeting.

Each of these popular sites offer benefits and unique features that allow companies to drive business.  The key to success on all of them is customer engagement,  offering  meaningful content that followers will want to share, and being responsive when comments are received. Customers today want to be heard, and it’s important for companies to listen.  Having a presence on all three is a good idea, because it’s likely that your customers do.

References:

Delo, C. (2013). Twitter is Developing Geo-Targeted Ads for Retailers. Retrieved from http://adage.com/article/digital/twitter-developing-geo-targeted-ads-retailers/242725/

Facebusinessworld.com (2011). Retrieved June 28, 2013 from http://facebusinessworld.com/about/facebook-like/button-uses-for-business/

Hamburger, E. (2012). Twitter’s Enhanced Profile Pages for Brands are a Big Waste of Money.  Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/twitters-enhanced-profile-pages-for-brands-are-a-big-waste-of-money-2012-2

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6 Responses to How do Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ Compare When Used for Business?

  1. Anna Seacat says:

    Hi Judith,

    There were many aspects I liked about your first blog post. Just to name a few, the format was easy to read and had a nice flow. I liked your utilization of thoughtful clip art. Also, the information you provided about each social media platforms’ advertising option was very helpful.

    Additionally, I agree with you that discovery is a key reason why businesses should be running to Google+. Chris Brogan, author of “Google+ for Business” reiterated our thoughts on this by mentioning that “the thing to keep your eye on is that search is how people find your business, and the #1 search engine in the world now pays close attention to what people do on Google+” (2013, p. 20),

    I look forward to reading your future posts.

    @AnnaSeacat – SociallyMindedMarketing.com

    • JA Silva says:

      Thank you Anna. Yes, I agree that Google+ has high potential, particularly with regard to search and discovery. It will be interesting to watch how Google+ develops and pulls all of the great Google tools together.

  2. katrinac81 says:

    This is a great write up of Google+. I’m someone who isn’t extremely familiar with Google+ at all. I created an account when they first launched, but I don’t know many people on the network, so I haven’t been very active. From your write up, it’s clear that Google+ is an amazing resource for businesses. With social media activities on Google+ making companies helping companies show up in their search engine, joining Google+ seems like killing two birds with one stone – Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Marketing.

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