Facebook vs. Twitter: Where The Readers Are

Photo by Ed Yourdon (flickr cc)Facebook or Twitter? It's a question that people seem to have definite feelings on. Most people prefer one strongly and see the other as a pain. In the past, I've made it no secret that I'm a Twitter girl. I like the fast pace and the simple interface. I like that I can follow a bunch of people and get a little nibble of everything. And frankly, I use it as my blog reader now since I never seem to have time to keep up with my Google Reader.

However, over the last two months or so, I decided to put more effort into my Facebook presence. Many established authors swear by Facebook for connecting with readers, and I know that people are way more likely to be on Facebook than Twitter.

So I begin to put focus on FB and not just by copying tweets over there. FB and Twitter are inherently different in the kinds of updates that "fit." I also made the point of keeping FB more reader-focused than writing-focused. Twitter is filled with my fellow writers who don't mind hearing about word counts or craft-related things. But FB seemed to be getting more pure readers, so I didn't want to bore them with the technical side of writing.

And you know what? Yesterday, the difference in "crowd" became noticeable.

I posted a question on both Twitter and Facebook asking what I should put on a stamp I'm going to use when I send out signed bookplates. One option was my tagline "For the Fearless Romantic" and the other was "Greetings from The Ranch."  For those of you who aren't aware, The Ranch is the BDSM resort in my series.

So the results were very telling. Almost every one of my Twitter followers said the Fearless Romantic one. Then on Facebook, every vote was for The Ranch. It was amazing how divided it was.

And then I realized the difference. My writer friends were going for the one that spoke more to "author brand". We've been trained to think that way, to have that marketing hook. But my READERS who are already fans of the books were thrilled at the thought of having "Greetings from The Ranch." One line is meant to "sell" the books to new people. The other serves to entertain people who love the series already.

So, it was an easy decision. Anyone who is asking me for a bookplate is already a fan. Therefore, this needs to be for them. It's not about selling someone new on the book. If this were for promo material at a conference or something, the fearless romantic line would be the better fit. So it was a lesson in knowing who your audience is for something.

BUT, back to the point, this also showed me the clear distinction. Twitter is where my writer friends hang out. Facebook is where more readers are. (At least from my own anecdotal evidence and what I've heard from other authors.)

So which one should you do? 

Short answer: Both

Longer answer: If you don't have time for both, do which one you enjoy the most because that's the one you'll probably thrive at.

But here are some things to consider and make a good case for cultivating both...

Why Facebook Is Important?

  • It's the most likely place fans will look for you besides your website.
  • Not everyone is a social media addict (like we writers are). Your every day person may not read blogs, have a google plus profile, a Twitter account, or a Goodreads account. But even the most social media averse person probably has a Facebook page. My grandparents have one, my parents have one, my high school teachers have them. I'm hard pressed to think of someone I know who DOESN'T have one.
  • It allows you longer updates because not everything can be said in 140 characters.
  • It gives you the chance to put up exclusive content and sneak peeks to give your readers something extra for following you and reading your books.
  • You only have to post an update one or two times a day. So there is more opportunity for interaction about one topic.
  • It's easy for people to share you with their friends.


Why Twitter Is Important?

  • There is an incredible writer community on there. Writing is a solitary business. Hanging out on Twitter is like the office water cooler. You can go there for gossip, encouragement, or just to vent to each other. 
  • Some readers do prefer Twitter and that will continue to grow.
  • It is a wealth of blog link love. Like I said, it acts as my blog reader these days.
  • It's more casual than FB in my opinion. Since you can update throughout the day, each update doesn't have to be super profound. : )
  • It's easy to share things via Twitter.
  • It doesn't have all the restrictions like FB. And your followers see your updates--you don't have to pay extra to "promote".
  • You don't get a crap ton of emails anytime someone comments on something.
  • It's less of a commitment for someone to follow you on Twitter. Most people won't "Like" a FB page unless they are a fan already. But many people will follow you on Twitter just to check you out and see what you have to say. So it's easier to introduce yourself and your books to new people.

Each obviously has benefits and drawbacks. But I think if you can manage both, you're going to find you have a more well-rounded online presence. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find you and connect with you.

So, if you aren't already there and want to hang out with me, you can find me on Twitter AND Facebook. ;)

What do you think? Do you have a preference? To those of you on both platforms, do you find a difference in the "crowd"? As a reader, do you seek out authors on any particular social network?