Internet Advertising: You Don’t Have to Pay for Promotion

Posted by on October 6, 2009 in Internet Marketing [ 1 Comment ]

A recent report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP found that Internet advertising is down 5.3% as compared to last year. If your company has cut back on internet advertising but wants to boost brand buzz, promote sales, or improve customer service, joining a social media site for your online marketing efforts may be a perfect cost saving alternative.

Twitter and Facebook are the most popular social media platforms. If we were to compare the membership on these social networking sites to a boxing match, Facebook would be the repeat heavy weight champion, while Twitter is the up and coming underdog crowd pleaser. Even with this grand difference in membership, it seems like “everyone” is on one of the two social media giants.

So which social media platform best fits your business marketing needs? Although on the surface these two appear similar, the way they are used is ragingly different. Understanding these differences is vital to successfully promoting your company through social media channels.

First things first, what is your goal? What do you want to accomplish?

If you want to… gauge client reviews, have immediate interactions with your customers, personalize your company: Twitter is for your company.

If you want to…provide information but not necessarily directly communicate with customers, host contests, and reach a larger pool of people: Facebook is the way to go.


Twitter is considered a running conversation. People love Twitter because they can talk directly with companies and people they do not know. By joining Twitter you are expected to add valuable content in 140 characters or less. Adding valuable content is critical to establishing your follower base and brand buzz. Tweets should not be verbatim copies of press releases or announcements of new products already published but rather a post directed to your Twitter followers.

Twitter provides a lot of freedom. A large company, could have multiple employees on tweeting while with Facebook, your company can only have a fan page. Tweeting links to interesting articles unrelated to your company, providing insight into events or office life is a great way to make your tweets less like a sales pitch and more like a conversation. Remember that tweets are a way to show the human side of your company and a way to talk with your customers directly.

Twitter is a forum or mini-blog that enables and promotes conversation. Regularly commenting on other people’s tweets and responding to comments or “retweets” made on your postings is necessary to continuing the conversation. Aside from continuing the conversation, retweets or hashtags (#) allow you to see what the rumor mill is saying about your brand, search for people to follow, and keep track of trends.

Twitter allows your company to engage your customers in real-time conversations thereby improving overall customer relations. A classic example of how Twitter can help improve customer service is what happened on a Virgin Atlantic WiFi equipped flight. A passenger was not served his meal so he used his phone to tweet about the flight attendants oversight. This tweet was seen by a Virgin Atlantic employee who contacted the flight crew and the passenger was immediately served his meal.


If Twitter is talking to random people on the streets of Manhattan, then Facebook is your 20-year high school reunion. Facebook has “friends” while Twitter has “followers.” Facebook has “fan pages” to promote your company and each fan page is used differently.  Two examples of organizations that use Facebook differently are:

  • Sanuk. This shoe company focuses on a hilarious photo caption contest to create buzz.
  • The NFL’s New England Patriots. The Patriot’s use this page to include any and all fan information and updates. The page was created to share specific information that is not on their website.

Facebook fan pages have less “rules” on what is expected of you compared to Twitter. That being said, to get the most out of your site, it needs to be interactive and updated frequently. Your clients need a reason to come back to it—if a fan page never changes, why would one revisit?

Facebook offers chat, email, video chat, and both video and photo posting capabilities that Twitter does not offer directly. Companies with fan pages on Facebook are not aiming to show the inner workings of their companies but still intend on interacting with their “friends.”

As far as legwork and time invested to both, Twitter sucks more time than Facebook as it requires more updates and real-time conversations. Facebook does not make your company more personal, but still promotes customer interactions. Before opening accounts on both social networks, determine why you want to be on a social networking site and what you hope to accomplish from it. Word to the wise – if you are not ready to give Twitter or Facebook the attention it deserves, then wait until you are. Both of these sites take time to develop a following, require frequent updates and valuable content.

One thought on “Internet Advertising: You Don’t Have to Pay for Promotion

  1. avatarEllen Arndt

    Hi ! I enjoyed reading this article and found it informative and helpful. What would you suggest with advertising a business planning firm – a page like Facebook almost seems inappropriate. Let me know your thoughts!
    Great article

    Ellen Arndt

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