OK, let’s not put Twitter and Facebook in a vicious cage match against each other here. The two sites are really different animals. Sure, they both technically fall under the category of social networking sites. But when all things are considered they are actually quite different. One of the main ways they are different is that Facebook has business pages intended specifically for companies to utilize and Twitter does not. Think about that for a moment, could that be one of the BIG reasons why Facebook has experienced more success than Twitter? Based on the latest news, it would appear Twitter is considering this and may take action to correct it.
According to Tweetbeat, “Twitter is considering introducing brand pages similar to those found on Facebook. The pages would serve as a marketing tool for advertisers, creating a new source of revenue for Twitter.”
So the question then becomes, does Twitter really need branded pages? As of right now, opinions are mixed but if this happens, it will certainly have implications for your social media optimization strategy. But I’ll step up here and give my two cents.
First, any changes taking place on Twitter scare me a little. Their updates to usability, functionality and design in the past have gone through some serious struggles before reaching fruition. Furthermore, many of the changes, the new Twitter interface for example, do not represent drastic improvements in the site. They just seem to be a type of awkward reorganization. So I am always a little wary when they try to do something new. That being said, I am all for innovation and they can’t simply stand still or they will die. So they might as well take a shot at this extension to the business model. Let’s just hope they do plenty of testing first.
Ultimately, if Twitter does decide to go the way of branded pages it will be a good thing. Brands need to have control of their identity on social media sites for them to feel comfortable; and the ability to add a simple jpeg image in the background is not enough. They need to be able to create custom apps for users to interact with and add links to other important online properties. The more controlled flexibility you provide to businesses the better. So a level of “controlled” flexibility for brands would be an improvement for the site.
Facebook has done a great job to clearly specify the areas of the site which brands can modify. On Facebook brands can alter their tabs, change their profile pictures, control their content, control wall settings, etc, and this all takes place on a Facebook Page, which is different from a profile. The basic structure of the Facebook Page always remains the same. As long as Twitter can offer a similar level of flexibility and control with their new branded pages, if they do in fact decide to release this, they will be making a great step forward. Furthermore, now that Twitter is in the advertising game I know their clients are anxious for more customization options on their pages. I’m sure they will need to yield eventually.
So how will this effect Facebook? If Twitter does offer more to brands it has the potential to make the companies more comfortable. Businesses will invest more time in their profile, feel more proud, and be compelled to push more money in Twitter’s direction. Social media marketing budgets are only so large. Because of this, we may see a percentage shift from Facebook advertising to be reallocated to Twitter.
What are your thoughts? Will Twitter Branded Pages Hurt Facebook?