The news that Microsoft will be acquiring LinkedIn just sent shockwaves through the social media world, immediately leading to speculation about Twitter. Is it going to be next?

We all assume that Facebook is not for sale, but in our topsy-turvy media world, I suppose all bets are off. For authors, the question of the day is honestly more likely to be, “Which social media platform is best for me?” rather than, “Who owns what?”

I’ve been going out and speaking about social media quite a bit lately to other writers, whether in the form of monthly meetups or one-off events like Marketing Your Novel, a talk I recently delivered at the Orlando Public Library. There are always questions about Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, or whatever new toy the kids find this week, but I open every segment on social media with discussions of Facebook and Twitter.

It’s probably pretty safe to say that everyone has their own unique experience with social media. Many of us have been on a variety of platforms for years, and most of us have abandoned at least one of them over that time (hello, MySpace!). Yet it stands to reason that there are a few universal truths.

When it comes to looking for places to network with other authors, find readers, and market their work, most of use are using Facebook and/or Twitter to at least some degree. My observations about the platforms are based on my own experience, so I’d be curious to see what others say.

  • Facebook is necessary – Whether you like ‘em or hate ‘em, I tell everyone you have to be on Facebook. If someone wants to look you up, and they look for you on Facebook, and find nothing…they might not pursue you further. At least have a page, and optimize it.
  • Facebook ‘post boosts’ are not Facebook ads – This is such a common mistake, I feel obligated to mention it. Don’t boost posts, unless you just enjoy giving money to Facebook. If you want to run an ad, you’ll have to create one.
  • Twitter is great because of the inherent brevity of your posts – I was resistant to even joining Twitter because I thought it was kind of stupid. I especially hated the cheesy word tweet. Having been on there a while, though, I see the value. Not everyone wants to read your 500-word blog post; have something you can convey to the short-attention-span crowd, too!
  • Twitter is a lot easier to build up than Facebook when it comes to a following – For me, the verdict on that deal is in: I’ve got 175 Facebook fans, but over 2,000 Twitter followers. Granted, some of those are junk accounts, but hey, some of those Facebook followers just clicked Like and disappeared.
  • The rules for engagement favor Twitter for organic reach but favor Facebook for posting ads – I think it’s safe to say that Twitter ads do not yet generate revenue for people like Facebook ads do; but when it comes to building an audience organically over time (not “buying” followers), Twitter seems to be much more manageable. It may be that more authors are hanging out there, or it may be that people find it a more user-friendly platform. That’s my experience, anyway.

So there you have it. You might make more money from one, but you might build a more engaged community from the other. For me, it’s worth taking both of them seriously. What do you think?

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