A year ago, I could emphatically say that Facebook and Twitter were complementary social networks – each with a set of fairly distinct use cases – and that as such, the two companies weren’t really direct competitors.
Today it’s become a lot harder to say that since with each new Facebook feature comes with it a giant Twitter déjà vu. Here are six ways that Facebook is turning into Twitter:
From its earliest days, Twitter was designed around the ability for Twitter users to non-mutually follow others. In September of 2011, Facebook launched the ability to “subscribe” to an individual’s public posts. And this past December it changed the name from “subscribe” to “follow” – the exact term Twitter uses.
For years hashtags and Twitter were essentially synonymous – When you’d see a hashtag, you immediately thought of Twitter. But then Instagram adopted the familiar tagging lexicon and three months ago, Facebook began supporting hashtags.
As a marketer, I can say it’s much easier to run a contest on Twitter than it is on Facebook. Historically, the only way to execute promotions on Facebook was on a separate tab. 5 days ago, Facebook loosened the reigns on promotions now allowing the use of their main platform functionality for contests.
6. Trending Topics
One of the most powerful features of Twitter is the ability to see “Trending Topics” – which have been credited for breaking news stories. Two days ago, Facebook confirmed its now testing out a “Trending” topics section on its newsfeed.
It’s doubtful that Facebook’s seemingly “copy cat” strategy will in any way have a negative effect on Twitter – as the latter platform continues with strong growth and to solidify its niche as the real-time social platform. After all, imitation is flattery, right?