Jul14Large and small businesses alike have spent the better part of the past half-decade trying to best leverage the marketing potential of Facebook – and rightly so. Facebook reports 1.23 billion active users worldwide, and an increase of 92 percent when it comes to shared content since 2012. People like Facebook – a lot – but it seems that just as marketers think they have the social network all figured out, the rules change.

Some of the most recent modifications to Facebook have made it more difficult for marketers to get their messages across, at least in the ways they are accustomed to reaching their audiences on the social network. Specifically, viral reach has been reined in – frustrating marketers who are seeing a dip in engagement rates with their content. Facebook says that it is simply trying to make user News Feeds less cluttered and more personalized with the content of actual friends. Critics say it is just a money-making move to get desperate marketers to spend more on promoting and boosting Facebook content, instead of relying on free organic visibility. At any rate, the reach of page posts appears to be narrowing on Facebook, and marketers will need to adjust.

At the same time, Twitter is unveiling some pretty stellar new options for businesses wanting to tap into its 255 million, and growing, active monthly user base. In the past few months, Twitter has announced Promoted Tweets in a public form and one-click, in-stream video viewing options. In other words, Twitter is finally making a move to tap into what it knows about its users so marketers can better target the right audiences. It’s a far cry from the original Twitter concept that sent 140-character messages out into the Twitterverse without any customization. The way that Twitter is utilizing its new promotional tools is innovative, and true to its format, which will help these new endeavors succeed.

Twitter’s changes that center on building visual, customized, more engaging content will not only build up the brands that use the micro-blogging platform, but will also lead to higher user acquisition and retention (the latter point has always been a thorn in Twitter’s side). People love visuals. People love online video. People are becoming increasingly accustomed to sites reading their minds and showing them content that they will like without much effort on their parts. Twitter is tapping into all these trends and human-internet nature quirks and the result will be a stronger network for marketers that certainly rivals Facebook’s offerings.

Which network will ultimately win out remains to be seen, of course, but Twitter is certainly making its move.

In-text Photo via Flickr on Creative Commons