I would guess that 80-90% of my Facebook friends, including real life face-to-face friends, believe that Facebook is more valuable than Twitter--especially to their business and book sales.
I used to be one of them.
Until I took a year and truly immersed myself into Twitter. And honestly--it took a year to REALLY understand it. People use Twitter differently and for various reasons and so you will get millions of opinions on the same topic when you start searching for info. There are many Twitter apps. Some are great, others ok, and some not worth the time. It took an entire year to try them out for myself, see what worked for me, and how it could benefit my work, and how best to implement it.
For any author who is developing an author platform, Twitter is indispensable, as long as you understand it and use it in a beneficial way.
For instance, at the time of this writing, out of the 3,502 people following my Facebook author page, only 1,158 are Facebook friends. The other 2,344 are mostly from Twitter at roughly 67%. I would have never had any access or connection to these valuable people, without Twitter. In fact, Twitter was also the channel for pushing the last 20-30 blog followers to my personal blog. I'm not sharing these numbers to boast about my efforts since there are many others who have much higher rankings and followers, but to show you the value of Twitter in case you are not utilizing it to its full potential.
The Don'ts of Using Twitter
Newbies like to use Twitter like a megaphone, spamming links to their books, website, blog posts, and sales on Amazon. In fact, I wrote a blog post awhile back on A Lesson On Spamming. Like Facebook, Twitter is a social platform, and while it is different from Facebook, it must be treated as a social platform. It will cause you to lose followers, get blocked (and you won't know it), and lose credibility among those who continue to follow you--they've just gotten really good at ignoring you, are doing the same thing, and therefore, neither of you are hearing each other, or they are no longer active. Other newbies don’t know what to do or give up altogether.
Twitter has evolved over the years and has become a valuable breaking news source and evens the playing field giving us commoners access to big name stars and athletes. For businesses and others, it eliminates the middleman or the gatekeepers. Authors can have REAL conversations with readers without having to spend thousands to travel to a local book signing, it gives people a chance to express opinions on products, services, or actions of others. It allows people to spread info about things that are important to them and make things go viral without spending millions in marketing efforts. While some of this also happens on Facebook, it seems to spread faster through the Twitter sphere.
Want to Better Understand Twitter?
Take the time to read through their HELP section. It’s full of helpful tips, rules, explanations and how-to’s. Ask people for their opinions, offer your blog to other authors, run Twitter contests for readers. Facebook is NOT the only place for contests. Learn by watching others, pay attention, read and educate yourself, and then do it. The best way to learn is by doing it.
Google websites by your friends and people you admire, appreciate, or trust in their knowledge. On their website, click their Twitter buttons and follow them. You will learn best through friends, competitors and READERS. You have readers and potential readers on Twitter. Don't ignore them. Several of my Twitter followers have TOLD me that they don't even have a Facebook account. Therefore, Twitter is the only place I CAN connect with them--unless we connect elsewhere. These readers are already talking about their favorite books by retweeting their favorite authors, posting campaign hashtags, and posting links to their reviews, but you cannot be included if you don't have a Twitter presence--or at least an active Twitter presence.
Don't overlook the value of Twitter, by spending all your social media time on Facebook!