April 4

Discussion: Twitter VS Facebook…


In our industry, we know how important external marketing is to our growth.

We also hear how important and necessary social media marketing is.

But what is the right mix…or is there even a right marketing mix?

First, I don’t care how much money ‘internet marketing guru’s’ and ‘health nuts’ are making selling their crap on Facebook, or through Twitter…our buyers in the financial/trading space are A LOT DIFFERENT!!

Let’s discuss!!

Twitter…or as I like to call it Tirekickers.com 🙂

I’ve worked with several amazing traders with great followers on Twitter. They are well-known, well-respected, and all have mediocre sales from their Twitter followers. In my calls and emails they all tell me the same thing: “they are so active with their trading that they think they can find it themselves and learn it without buying anything.”  And, it’s interesting because there really is SO much good stuff on Twitter, that these people think they can just dip their toe in the water…then go out and find it for free.

Selling retail products, books, etc. is an uphill battle that never really gets anywhere. These guys are the ultimate window shoppers.

Heck look at other companies that have tried to sell retail products, subscription services, and even books…they changed direction and basically stopped trying…and it was NOT because of bad products…the people just wouldn’t buy at a rate that made it worth the effort.

Are there are NO buyers from Twitter…no. There are buyers, but the effort it takes to get them from Twitter to ‘Buyer’ often ends up as a losing ROI.

So is it a futile attempt to ‘market’ on Twitter?

No. There IS value in the sense of diversity by getting your content out on more platforms…but don’t put in a ton of effort, trust me on this one. (Or if you don’t trust me, tell me why in the comments :))

Facebook…or as I like to call it BigBrother 🙂

I have 865 ‘friends’ on my Facebook. Some of them work, some of them family, some of them friends from school, some of them friends from church. They’re mostly different…but they have ONE thing in common…

Facebook is in control of who/what/when they see posts!!

Let me explain…

Facebook thinks it knows better than you, who you want to talk to/read/laugh at/interact with. Of my 865 friends, I really only see maybe a TENTH of their posts!!!!!!!!!! Facebook believes I don’t want to hear from Josh because he likes the Cowboys and I like the Redskins. Facebook doesn’t want me to know about what’s going on with Ruth because she didn’t mark her ‘religious status’ as Christian like me. Facebook doesn’t want me to keep up with Garth because he’s living outside the US right now…

Take two seconds and look at your own Facebook wall right now…’hey where is Ron from college?’…that’s right, FACEBOOK HID HIM FROM YOU!

Now how does this apply to marketing?? Easy…

If Facebook isn’t allowing YOU to see all your friends posts, why do you think that ALL your friends are seeing YOUR posts??

So all those posts might be hitting SOME of your audience, but not all.

I recently had a talk with two of my buddies who are on Facebook quite a bit, both marketing guys in different industries, but they’re seeing the same thing with their clients…the posts are not producing as much ‘juice’ as they did before.

It’s interesting really, but it makes TOTAL business sense for Facebook. They shut down all the ‘free marketing’ to all your friends and people you could add as friends…only to say ‘the only real way to reach your audience is to pay us…THANKS.’

So now that I’ve burst your bubble with your Facebook friends…should you buy ads to reach people on Facebook?!?!?!?!


I say no.

The tests I’ve done, the tests I’ve seen, and the feedback I’ve heard has lead me to believe it’s NOT the best place to spend the ad dollars.

What say you!?!

Let’s get this discussion going…do you agree or disagree??

Talk soon 😉


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  • Great article, Brad!

    And I agree, the ROT (return on time) measured by sales on Twitter & Facebook for most industries/companies is poor.

    That being said, I think you’ll agree FB or Twitter was never really designed as a sales medium – it’s designed as a means of engagement.

    Engaging with your prospects and customers – building that relationship with them – that’s where the value is…

    But then again, is it the “best” use of your time? I can think of at least a couple dozen action items that would produce bigger results.

    Thanks, Brad!

    • 100% correct Charlie…ENGAGEMENT and CONNECTION are the best uses for Twitter/Facebook. But you still have the problem of ‘bigbrother’ with Facebook…how do you overcome that? You might want to connect and engage…but only a tenth of your audience might see your posts!!

  • Hey Brad interesting thoughts, my first online business actually built its base through twitter. The key I found was rather than having those people engaging with just your tweets , you need to get them on your site and signing up to your list and introducing them to your funnel. The problem is that their are easier, less time intensive ways to do this. Twitter is good, but their are much better ways.

    Regarding Facebook, you’re right in facebook limits who sees what, but it is trying to do it with algos, mathematically analyzing, who and what kind of contextual posts YOU are most likely to engage with.

    So a Facebook fan page is all about engagement, if you get little engagement relative to the number of fans you have, facebook will ‘think’ that interest in your fanpage is low and is less likely to show it to friends of friends. However if you can drive engagement, sharing, likes, comments etc then facebook is POWERFUL!

    Content is KING, Engagement is Queen.

    • Scrape those twitter leads and WORK THEM! That’s the key.

      But with the Facebook algo’s…why does Facebook think they know your potential buyer/connection better then you do? Who says someone that I don’t always agree with, won’t buy my stuff?

  • Another good point of view, Brad… in my experience, you’re generally right.

    Twitter is next to impossible to get a conversion off of. I’d rather have 100 double opted-in emails than 1000 more twitter followers. BUT I have also had success turning these worthless followers into customers.

    Where I disagree is that I have found FB ads to be remarkably valuable in many situations, including with trader/educator clients. What matters is what you’re comparing it against. If you look at the Cost/Benefit versus an organically grown list, well then it’s not going to look very good.

    But if you compare it against buying Google AdWords or other traditional and online ad channels, there are many ways for Facebook to outperform those channels substantially.

    My approach is always to use social media to pull people to your site and then do what you do — not to promote your social media presence heavily on your site (other than allowing people to share your content). You want to keep people on your site, not send them to your facebook page, after all.

    • Maybe the costs might be lower because the ‘big guys’ are competing on Facebook ads as they are on Google ads…but for how long will that last? Think they’ll ‘figure it out’?

  • I think you hit the nail on the head. I have done extensive work on twitter both in the financial niche and in religious. Both of them have been utter failures in terms of conversion.

    Facebook has been a little better but it’s a huge hassle trying to properly tag a FB lead and follow it to a sale.

    Bottom line I think you’re spot on. Social media is a huge craze but the best sources for finding qualified leads is still the old school methods of direct marketing.

  • I’ve a twitter account with 12k followers – i dont think I’ve made over 1k collectively for the last 4 years..
    I have 4.8K friends on facebook.. but i consider facebook to be for entertainment and seeking information.. also most people from these media.. feel you should offer them information for free.. so when I have some freebies i post them there..

    offtopic a bit the following has more conversions: articles and videos – if you direct users to a squeeze and warm them a bit they are more likely to be buyers..

    fb and twitter – i use twitterfeed.com to automatically post feeds from blog or newsletter.

    Mike N.

  • Great article..

    Both sites are highly overrated.. the best way to aquire traffic still is buying it, solo ads from e- mail lists and the like… the only exception I make is when you promote stuff like your hotel, a good restaurant.. that works and the likes build themselves..

    just my 2 cents.

  • Hey Brad,

    Sorry for the long drawn out post below…it started out as a few bullet points and then kept growing.

    Nice article and definitely an important topic. I think the thing that people have to remember is to view facebook/twitter as secondary marketing items and not something to build your business around. I spent a good bit of money last year on TradingPub’s facebook page and we currently have about 50,000 likes. If I had it to do over again, I would not have spent that much money but there have been some benefits to it. Here is what I learned:

    1.) Facebook is a really good way to reach an international audience (which is where most of the growth in our industry is coming from).

    2.) Facebook in a way can serve as validation. I can tell you for a fact that some of the deals we have closed on the advertising front were helped in large part because people saw how big our presence was in Facebook. Everyone has been told, “you have to have a social media presence” and so this helped us in that regard because while we were a relatively new company, we were bigger than about 99% of the other companies they were talking to in that regard.

    3.) Facebook can be good for sharing free content to get users over to your site (like Skip mentioned) and a tip is that regardless of what the content says, be sure to share some kind of weird or funny picture that other people are more likely to share. If you draw a blank just share a picture of cash, gold or some tropical beach and tie in how you can trade from anywhere and people love sharing those pics. I use veer.com to buy pictures when I draw a blank and will sometimes just scroll through pictures and then make a post around the picture as opposed to finding a picture to fit a post.

    4.) You are right that the actual posts you make do not end up showing on the walls of your “fans”. However, it is relatively inexpensive to promote a post. For $30 we can have a post show to around 15,000 people. The conversions will be low but the cost of the ad is so low it typically trumps other things that are out there.

    Twitter: I think twitter has been most helpful for us in making relationships with other trading companies (it is not great for finding buyers/subscribers as you pointed out). I actually came across PivotFarm (Aamar’s company on twitter) and that led to doing several webinars that helped generate thousands of dollars and have a few other business relationships that started out via twitter that yielded partnerships, leads and/or affiliate revenue. In my opinion, twitter is great for that kind of stuff but as far as getting paying customers out of it, that will have to happen by getting them on your site and email list.

    Cons – Everything you already mentioned above 🙂

    • Thanks Morgan!!

      Just playing devil’s advocate here… 😉

      1. Is an international audience really worth it? They often take longer to buy and require 2-3 times the customer support.
      2. From an ad side that’s an interesting detail…perception might be a bigger factor then we think.
      3. People love pics…I suggest your next one say “Name a Trade that doesn’t have “E” in it!!”
      4. That’s true, costs are lower…but as Charlie mentions, TIME. If it can be done quickly and you can scrape those clicks and turn them into leads…boom bam 😉
      5. Twitter from a biz dev point is a lot different, but that IS a value of Twitter 🙂

      Thanks again man, solid points!

  • Hi Brad…I totally agree with you on that piece you wrote. I do know a trader who is probably one of the few who has been able to monetize Twitter, but that’s the exception to the rule.

    As well, as a favor to a friend, I built his Twitter from zero to 2000 in a month…there was zero monetization off of that. I suspected that would happen in the back of my mind, but that pretty much confirmed that traditional social media (at least in our industry) does not have much of an ROI. I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, but I know plenty of people in this industry. I hear things like, “I have 12,000 Twitter followers,” but when you dig deep and ask where you make your money — it’s from relationship/engagement type lead gen that drives qualified leads.

  • Good points Brad and everyone. The key is knowing what role in the business development/customer engagement cycle each channel plays. Where people get into trouble is spending too much time on any one channel development (whether that’s fb, twitter, or others), or using the wrong channel for the wrong message-to-market match. Engaging with traders with solid content via those channels helps.


  • Thanks for your comments on this subject, Brad. I have been uncertain about what to expect from social media referrals. A recent article about the relative conversion performance of StockTwits was interesting http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/04/which_social_network_makes_you.html .

    Still, I am glad to see other comments here add to the discussion. Personally, I’d like to know more about the comparative effectiveness of LinkedIn in building a better brand awareness among professionals, many of whom are consumers of financial content or potential business alliances. I pay more attention to content streams there, but don’t use it to broadcast often.


  • Really surprised that Google+ was not part of the article. Our financial network is a bit more of an….educated buyer of products and services and these people are migrating to Google+. LinkedIn as well.

    Time invested in Twitter? For us zero, it’s all automatic so it is worth the time. When you are talking about thousands [sometimes 10’s of thousands] of people seeing your post, it pays.

    For us most of these people are landing at Amazon.com….what a coincidence still our largest monthly check. Admittedly though I think we live in a different world among the financial affiliates out there.

    Great discussion Brad!

    • Maybe I’ll look more into Google+, but for me I never use it and just as Markus said…”is your dad using it?”

  • Test, track and measure! 🙂

    I have heard of traders who built their database and business through Twitter and StockTwits.

    And we are regularly testing Twitter and Facebook campaigns – usually once a year. Thus far we haven’t seen a significant return on investment, but it might change. Who knows? “Change is the only constant”, isn’t it?

    Our target customer is the 55-year old male, typical Baby Boomer.

    At this point our target customer is not (yet) on Facebook and Twitter, and therefore we haven’t been able to successfully attract leads (and business) from these mediums.

    But I always tell my team: “Think about your dad. What is HE doing? How’s HE looking for information?”

    My dad doesn’t care about Facebook. At least not yet.

    But again: This might change.

    That’s why we test, track and measure!

    Just my 2 cents, since you asked so nicely for a comment. 😉

    – Markus

    • Very true…things could change for our demographic! That’s why I made a fortune marketing trading products on MySpace a few years back 😉

  • I have a hard time with certain social media channels getting all the buzz when I hardly feel they deserve it. Interestingly enough I went back to a university that I studied at years ago to propose something to investors just last year and I swear all they teach about in their marketing department now is social media. There is no way to avoid or ignore it but to put too much stock is I feel is getting ridiculous.

    I think Facebook and twitter are yet to evolve. Too many people with your shared opinions of how they determine what makes sense and doesn’t means it’s only a question of time before people push back against how things are done. I also think that they have a “wanna be” Google mentality. In other words they move along day by day with the idea that they have had so much input and picked the best direction that only an idiot would disagree with how they’ve chosen to take things.

    Great article Brad thanks for sharing!

    • I think the ‘putting too much stock in it’ is a good description. They might believe they should get the same ROI as they do from other marketing campaigns and when they don’t…’we must be doing something wrong’…instead of saying, ‘maybe this just isn’t the right sales media for us.’

      I believe the next big marketing craze based on the evolution of Facebook/Twitter…”Instant Instagram Marketing” (copywrited ;))

  • I was one of the OG’s on twitter and stocktwits, and that’s how I built my business and brand. Social media can help build a brand, validate a market, increase social engagement, introduce new distribution channels and so on.


    One metric I use on my analytics is “time on site” to measure overall user engagement. When I segment new users between social and non-social, the results are striking. Social traffic sources (including distribution channels on CNN, Bloomberg, Reuters, and Yahoo Finance) have been garbage relative to SEO and other channels.

    • You’re probably the most OG thug on twitter right now 😉

      But the time on site is the factor that a lot of people, using/learning twitter, don’t get. Thanks for the insight!

  • Great article Brad and gets the juices flowing.

    In our experience you wont make a ton of money or any at all really on Facebook ads.

    Twitter and Facebook from the marketing perspective are invaluable though as Social proof – people expect that if you are “anybody” you are active on these and also are amazed when you have eg a few thousand friends as obviously they think you “are on to something good” or why else would you have so many followers 🙂

    That’s the real value for my 2c

  • The thing about G+ is that it actually is doing phenomenally well — overseas. In US it kind of languishes. But if you mention something about, say, Saudi Arabia, you’re going to get a ton of comments from people over there.

    So it kind of loops back to the whole “do you want international?” question. But the good thing about the international engagement with G+ is that it’s integrated with the auto-translation services, so you can have people in 10 different countries that don’t all speak English able to engage with one another.

    (What you do with that though…that’s the question…)

  • Great Comments above.

    I am a big fan of twitter and have been using it for a long time in my marketing. As a matter of fact twitter is my third source of traffic when I look at my analytics.

    Direct traffic is 1
    Search traffic is 2
    Twitter traffic is 3

    Facebook traffic is 15

    I have many sales from twitter and for all of you that are interested here is how I do it.

    I engage my followers every day.

    I ask them how they are doing? I tell them good morning. I show them trades. I ask them questions. I share good information with them. I help share the content they want to share with others. I answer their questions. People follow me because they know I am a real person.

    Then I have all of my team do the same thing. Every day. This has been going on for over 4 years now.

    So with my twitter and my team we have a very large following and it drives a great deal of traffic and leads and sales every month. This just continues to grow.

    Now here is the key to all of this. Consistency, it takes time and effort to do this. So for me it is worth the effort because long term it has been working. This is not for everyone because you wont see results right away. It is not for everyone also because it is not automated and you actually have to interact with people.

    Now you can pay someone to interact with people but that is tough because you have to do it a long time before you see results and then you have to give direction to make sure they are doing it and doing it the correct way.

    I have trained myself and each member of my team to make it a daily routine to spend some time on twitter each day and it is worth it for us.

    If you want to see it in action follow me and my team:


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