facebook vs twitterThere are a lot of online resources going into details about how to integrate your Twitter and Facebook accounts, but none of them mentions that it might not be the right solution for your business.

Turning tweets into status updates for Facebook (or any other social network for that matter) and vice versa is likely to harm your online presence. Why? Here are a couple of reasons.

1.  Different medium = different audience. Do the same people follow you on Twitter and Facebook? Maybe a certain percentage of devoted fans do, but the rest of your audiences are quite different and not only in age or social status, but also in the way they prefer to consume information and interact with brands.

You would think that broadcasting your Facebook updates to your Twitter followers will help you kill two birds with one stone, but this strategy can backfire. People follow you on a specific social network for a reason that has to do both with the value you provide and with the culture of the particular social network. When you lose the value (e.g. your Facebook posts get cut short on Twitter) or ignore the culture (e.g. @ signs in Facebook posts or being unresponsive on Twitter) your relationship with your followers crumbles.

2.  Different medium = different content. Content is king. Your social media followers expect unique content from each medium. This is especially true for those who do follow you on multiple networks. Unique content is your way of rewarding your fans and giving them an incentive to keep in touch. Make your fans feel like they are getting insider information and deals exclusive to this medium only. Cross-posting your Twitter feed to your Facebook wall is clearly not the way to go.

3.  Different medium = different communication styles.

Format. Facebook gives you more opportunities than Twitter for creating engaging content: posts that generate likes, shares and comments. That’s why it’s common on Facebook to ask questions, post interesting links and encourage discussions. Twitter, on the other hand, is more concise. It’s good for timely updates and quick comment exchange, but probably not the best place for in-depth discussions.  The point is that your Facebook fans expect more than 140-characters status updates and your Twitter followers won’t be able to read your lengthy Facebook posts.

Timing. Twitter is more fast-paced than Facebook. It is not uncommon for someone to tweet every hour or even every 30 minutes. Now imagine what happens when you integrate your Twitter with your Facebook: you fans’ news feeds get flooded with your tweets. This is a fast road to getting blocked or “unliked.” Similarly, one tweet a day won’t get you far on Twitter.

Do you see why sharing the same exact content in the same format could be a bad idea? Although it may seem like it will maximize your social media impact by “covering more ground” with less effort, it won’t.

Not only does it communicate that you don’t care about your audience and their preferences, but it also frames you as a lazy business who is looking for an easy way to do things. Besides, when you automate your social media marketing like this, you run the risk of abandoning one of your communities. Once you put cross-posting on an autopilot and stop logging in, you can miss out on some important interactions.

Remember, social media is not about broadcasting your messages to as many people as possible; it’s about engaging in conversations and building relationships.