I’ve been using Twitter since the beginning of this year and Facebook for the past few years. From a business perspective and my own personal experience I’ve gained a lot more value from Twitter than Facebook. I’ve met some very interesting people and been able to follow their ideas and thoughts, and I’ve discovered new content and articles that I probably never would have known about. for me Twitter is tops! I therefore came to the conclusion a few months ago that Facebook was for personal contacts and friends and that the real business value lies within Twitter. Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner, a really great blogger and author felt the same until recently when these notions were challenged. After giving Facebook a second try he has come away believing that it is a more powerful tool than Twitter. this has intrigued me and is making me challenge my own notions.

Michael offers three reasons as to why he has changed his mind. I’ve listed these reasons below. Visit his site to read the full post as it provides good graphical guide to how you can leverage Facebook for your business.

Why Facebook Over Twitter?
#1: Facebook is communal.

Unlike Twitter, Facebook makes it very easy for group discussions. Twitter is primarily a one-to-one or one-to-everyone tool. With Twitter you can’t easily interact with two or three people at once, for instance. And you certainly can’t easily see what others have had to say about a post.

But Facebook has grown to over 500 million active users for a reason. They make it really easy for people to connect at a human level. And Facebook knows what its fans are interested in.

For example, if you frequent a fan page, Facebook knows you care about that page and shows you popular posts and discussions from that fan page in your live feed, above others. If done right, this is marketing gold!

When your Facebook page shows up in the live feed of your fans, it encourages rapid discussions and a chain reaction. When your fans engage in those discussions, it shows up on their walls. Their friends discover your page and your following grows.

In this regard, Facebook is like blog comments on steroids. When people interact with your brand, you are building community. This moves people from passive observers to advocates. And that’s a powerful marketing weapon.

#2: Facebook pulls people to its site OFTEN.

Part of the brilliance of Facebook is how it taps into some of our innate human desires. Every time someone posts something on your wall, tags you in a picture or tags your wall, you are notified in some way. For most people, this is an email with topic like “Joe Smith commented about a picture of you.” Or it’s a little red number at the top left of the screen when you are in Facebook.

These little mechanisms are intentional ways to get you into Facebook and interacting. It’s almost impossible to ignore these cues. If you’re like me, you’ve been conditioned to check Facebook almost as often as you check email.

Twitter doesn’t have the same systems to pull people back.

This is a huge advantage of Facebook and a primary reason you need to be there. The more people connect with others on Facebook, the more this grows. The upside is huge. This is why Alexa ranks Facebook as the second most frequented destination in the world, just behind Google.

Your customers, prospects and fans are already there A LOT. And when they arrive, they’ll likely see your page updates if you’ve figured out a way to get them to engage with your Facebook page updates.

#3: Facebook reveals powerful social proof.

This one is a brilliant move. If you click the Like button on an article (inside or outside of Facebook), something amazing happens. The next time one of your friends goes to that page, your name is displayed as someone who likes the page.

This is powerful. “If John Doe (whom I respect) likes this page, then maybe I should take another look?” is the thought that might go through the mind of a reader.

But wait, it gets better.

If you use the “Like Box” feature on your website, Facebook displays the pictures of familiar faces that are also fans of a page. For example, if some of your Facebook friends are fans of Social Media Examiner, you’ll see their pictures if you scroll up and look to the right of this page.

This is amazing social proof because it only shows people you know. That increases the likelihood you too will become a fan.

So What’s the Business Advantage?
Now let me connect the dots. With 500 million people on Facebook, chances are more of your customers are active on Facebook than any other network.

Remember the benefits early movers had with Twitter? Think of Comcast, Ford, and Zappos and the early mover advantages they gained.

Now think about Facebook. Businesses are just now figuring out how to use Facebook. This is your chance to connect with your customers and prospects in a totally new way and build powerful advocates.

Investing in Facebook now is the equivalent of purchasing real estate in downtown New York just before all the other businesses move into town.

Facebook is also investing in helping businesses succeed. Beyond their powerful and granular advertising, they’re extending the Facebook experience off of their site with features such as the Like Box and the Like Button. This is just the beginning of what’s to come from Facebook.

So what are you waiting for?

Your Action Plan
Here are a few simple things you should do right now…

Customize your Facebook page using Static FBML.
Leverage creative ways to grow your Facebook fan base.
Work on engaging your fans.
Has Facebook become your new favorite social media site? Are you using it for business? Do you have any tips to share? Do you disagree? Let’s talk. Leave your comment in the box below.

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