When people think of social media, they think of Facebook and Twitter. When businesses think of social media, they think…

Well, what do they think? We have all heard stories that businesses need to get more involved in social media. But why? What does is have to offer businesses? What’s better, Facebook or Twitter? Well, let’s see.

According to Facebook, it currently has over 500 million active users. Their average user has 130 friends and spends around 700 billion minutes a month on the site. Facebook is not just a presence in the United States. About 70 percent of Facebook users reside outside of the United States and the site itself is available in 70 different languages. The majority of Facebook users ranges from 18 to 34 years of age.

According to Barracuda Labs, Twitter has about 19 million accounts. However, to be an active user, you must have ten followers and have ten people following you. Only 21 percent of those 19 million accounts are active. Even more, only 34 percent of users have actually tweeted and 73 percent have only tweeted less than ten times. About 62 percent of users are located within the United States. The majority of Twitter users range from ages 13 to 34.

So what does this mean? Which platform is best for businesses? Well, it depends. Let’s delve a little deeper to what each platform can offer.

For businesses, Facebook provides what they call “pages.” These provide a professional Facebook page for businesses or organizations, which users can “like.” Here, your business can post all general information like what your business is, office hours, contact information, and other pertinent information. You can also send updates to keep your fans in the loop as to what’s going on with your company. You can share photos, videos, links, and start a discussion. It provides communication with your audience on a more personable level.

A great example of the use of a Facebook Page is AirTran U. Obviously, Facebook is a great network to reach their target market of 18 to 22 year olds. Their “wall” is filled with posts by satisfied customers and they even created a social game, AirTran U Creeper, to provide their users with a more interactive experience. There are photos, discussion, and even polls. The company has definitely provided a popular outlet for their consumers.

Whether or not Twitter is actually a social network can be argued, as seen in our previous blog article. A reason for this is that many Twitter users claim to use the platform as an information dissemination tool. A growing number of people use Twitter to receive news. That means that businesses can use their Twitter accounts to quickly give their consumers information.

T-Mobile utilized Twitter as a quick way to provide their consumers with information during their outage in 2010. Being a T-Mobile customer myself, the first place I turned to was the T-Mobile Twitter page to find out why I couldn’t make or receive calls. They immediately broadcasted updates through their Twitter to keep their followers informed of the situation. They even used the “@ reply” function to specifically address angry customers. Luckily, with the rapid responses to the situation, customers were always in the know.

So, depending on your purpose and your audience, you could choose between Facebook, Twitter, or possibly both. Facebook has its advantages in that it can reach a larger market and give users a more interactive, personal experience. Twitter is advantageous in that it can give your followers quick updates and breaking news.

You choose and tell us what your take is on the social media war. What’s better for your business, Facebook or Twitter? Add your comments below. Then, check out the post where we pitted search engines against one another, Search Engine Wars: Google vs. Bing