4 Reasons Why Twitter is Better than Facebook for Music Marketing

3423 41

Twitter Vs. Facebook: Music Marketing[This post was written by guest contributor Nic Robertson of Jaden Social.]

As both a musician and the managing director of a digital marketing agency, I spend a considerable amount of time working (playing) on Facebook, Twitter, and the many other Social Media platforms that exist on today’s online landscape.

Working with more than 40 independent and major label artists on an array of different campaigns over the years, I have gained a great insight into Facebook and Twitter in a music marketing context. And while both platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses, one platform emerges as a clear winner for me every time.

Allow me to share with you four reasons why Twitter is better than Facebook for marketing your music.

1. The Cost

Cost is without a doubt the number one reason why we at Jaden Social love and swear by Twitter. This ‘open’ platform allows us to quite merrily promote our artists’ music and grow their audience all year round without spending a single cent – hell yes!!

Now combine this with a few great cheap (or free) Twitter tools and a good understanding of your target audience, and this form of promotion not only costs next to nothing, it has the potential to drive waves of traffic through to your other music pages like Soundcloud, CD Baby, or your website; while also creating those coveted long-term connections with new fans.

Yep, all-in-all, aside from some relatively loose restrictions on following and unfollowing, Twitter marketers enjoy a carefree, cost-free existence.

So what about Facebook? Love it or hate it, Facebook is a staggeringly profitable business created by some seriously savvy individuals. And it’s certainly no coincidence that we are seeing our beloved Home feeds becoming more and more cluttered by Online Casino ads and ‘sponsored stories’ about our old school chum’s affinity for the sexy strangers he finds on Zoosk.

Now, let’s say you want to grow your audience on Facebook. You’ll need to firstly get to know your way around the FB advertising platform, then spend some time writing and setting up some enticing ads to catch the attention of new potential fans. Next it’s time to fork out some cash (anywhere from 50 cents up to two bucks) to convert the coveted eyeballs that every marketer and his computer-literate dog is fighting for into fans.

But that’s not all. After spending a few hundred dollars building a nice little fanbase on Facebook, we now find out that a measly 5% of them will see each post on average (more about this in the next point).

So how do we get to the rest of them?

Yep, you guessed it – by promoting your post; a privilege which will cost you no less than $5 a pop. My my, things are starting to get quite pricey on the old ‘book of Faces’.

2. The Reach

When it comes to reach, there is one important difference between Twitter and Facebook – Facebook limits the reach of your posts; Twitter does not.

Are you familiar with a little Facebook algorithm called ‘Edgerank’?

In a nutshell, what Edgerank does is it assigns a rank to each Facebook action that occurs (updates, comments, likes, shares etc) and tries to ensure that only the most relevant and engaging content will be seen by your friends, fans and subscribers – which generally works out to be between 2-7%. This helps to keep your Home feed clean and relevant, but more importantly it means Facebook can tax you to reach the rest of your audience (check out http://www.whatisedgerank.com for a more in-depth explanation of Edgerank).

Twitter on the other hand has no such devil in the details. Each time you tweet, your post will be seen by every one of your followers viewing their Twitter feed at that particular moment (or flipping back retrospectively). Now all that’s left is to become master of the timezones and your entire Twitter audience is at your mercy!

And the news keeps getting better – each time you get a retweet on Twitter, your reach grows further to include all followers of the user who retweeted you. On Facebook, receiving a ‘like’, comment or share on your post means that a few more of your posse and a handful of your engager’s peeps will see the post.

Yep – the dreaded Edgerank strikes again!!

So having 10,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook means 200 – 700 of your fans on average are seeing each post, but 10,000 followers on Twitter means potentially all 10,000 fans are reading each tweet. Talk about breaking our balls, Zuck.

3. The Engagement

From my experience working with Social Media over the years, Twitter is undoubtedly the more engaged of the two platforms. Edgerank certainly plays a big part in this by limiting your potential audience on Facebook, but in my opinion Twitter is just a far more interactive and personal experience. When it comes to marketing your music the aim is not simply to build an army. You get the best value for your efforts by building an interpersonal relationship with each of your fans – one by one.

When stacking the two platforms up against each other, I would say that Facebook is a great way to mark the important milestones in your musical journey – a proverbial ‘pool room’ of sorts. Twitter is more of a real-time journal documenting the day to day struggles & triumphs in the life of a hungry musician; the kind of insight that allows fans to know you – not only as an artist, but as a person. It encourages and fosters that one-to-one relationship; when you follow someone on Twitter you are subscribing to every dirty little detail of their life.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I find an artist whose music really resonates with me I want to know as much as I possibly can about them. And where Facebook provides a light snack between meals, Twitter decks the halls with a 5 course banquet of medieval proportions.

4. The ‘Now’

One of the major drawbacks that goes with using Facebook is the inability to track, partake in and locate people having real-time public discussions. On Twitter, if I want to catch up on the latest music, news and trends I can do so with just a couple of keystrokes in the search field. And similarly, finding out which of my fellow hip-hoppers are talking about the new Jay Z album takes just seconds.

Twitter is a platform built around conversation, and as an artist looking to grow my audience and connect with like-minded individuals the world really is my oyster. I can not only find people based on what they are currently talking about, but also what kind of music they are into – something easily determined by which artists and accounts a user is following (on Facebook the best I can do is pay to run ads targeting people who ‘like’ a particular page or interest).

Parting Words

In a time where online privacy concerns are at an all time high, it certainly bears mention that Facebook has successfully managed to collect and stash a pirate’s booty of personal information. And I am certainly not debating that when combined with their advertising platform this data is infinitely powerful. But for your Average Joe musician, the costs associated with building and maintaining a fanbase on Facebook far outweighs any benefit that might be extracted.

As an inherently less visual platform, Twitter has had to find different ways to provide the same kind of value as the multimedia-rich Facebook. The real value on Twitter comes through the ability to connect with like-minded individuals at little or no cost. And let’s face it, I don’t think any of us got into the music game to become millionaires; the ultimate reward comes from having a real fanbase made up of real people who are sharing the same kind of real journey through life.


Nic RobertsonAbout the author: Nic is the managing director & co-founder of Jaden Social, a creative Digital marketing agency based in Sydney, Australia. If you are interested in hearing more from Nic, he runs a weekly blog on the Jaden Social website dedicated to helping musicians market their music for free using Social Media. He has also written an in-depth guide on ‘How to Market your Music on Twitter’ which you can check out here.

Connect with Nic: http://flavors.me/nicjrobertson

Get Publicity for Your Band


[Tweet/Like image from Shutterstock.]

In this article

Join the Conversation

  • Great post Nic! Chris definitely struck gold with this guest blogger.

    I loved the information that you provided. Twitter is definitely built on conversation and it facilitates collaboration.

    I enjoy Twitter better than Facebook as well because of the engagement factor and the ability to learn how to market on the guy.

    Thank you very much!


  • TheHighCell

    Great post.
    I originally started off firmly on the Facebook bandwagon because of the tangible media-driven benefits that it offered over Twitter. But as Facebook began to extort page owners in order to share content with their fans, I've transitioned a little more to Twitter. It's good to see that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

  • Great article. Until recently, I was rarely on Twitter, preferring FB instead.

    I just didn't "get it", if that makes sense. The 140-char limit seemed oppressive. And I didn't know at the time about expanding to see a whole conversation, so I felt like I was getting only bits and pieces.

    But after a serious sit down with my marketing advisor, I've started using it and really engaging with people. I get it now! Now I'm on Twitter far more than FB.

  • bydavidrosen

    1. 2 and 4 I can reluctantly agree with but #3 is where I just don't get it. either I don't know how to use twitter, people don't care about anything I have to say, or the people that say twitter is better for engagement are just wrong. best case scenario is i post something funny and someone retweets it or favorites it, but i've gotten little to no conversation with fans and/or friends on twitter over the years i've been using it. it just feels completely one-way. facebook on the other hand, the posts that people ACTUALLY SEE (facebook and it's b.s. hiding posts practices are really killing it) tend to spark conversations and back & forth discussions with fans and friends. if only facebook didn't hide posts it would just be awesome.

  • Eddie Biggins

    I'm curious as to what you think of Google+. I engage quite a bit more there than on Facebook, though more on a personal rather than a promotional basis.

    • Not sure about other people, but so far I've just used G+ as a kind of professional thing… (because it's helpful for bloggers to have a G+ account), but it hasn't really grabbed me yet. Do you see much interaction for promo/music stuff on there?

  • Linda Vee Sado

    Unfortunately Twitter may not be free for long either
    the change should help surface better content. It’s definitely a positive for Twitter, which will have the power to designate “high” value tweets (in some cases, perhaps, for a price

  • I so agree… Facebook has been pissing me off big time. Also a Facebook page doesn’t allow you to interact in the same way as you would do by having a Facebook profile, so recently created a new profile account to run band stuff… i.e you cannot upload a photo album from your phone on to your Facebook page. You can do it tho from onto your profile. I absolutely love Twitter it is definitely the best platform for musicians! And eventually you get Facebook likes from there too!

  • Hmmm. Good to be on the lookout for. Thanks for the info.


  • Steven Cravis

    To which cheap or free twitter tools is the article referring?

  • I didn't know Twitter was a better journey to get one's music out there. I've been focusing so much on Facebook but now I'll put more energy into Twitter and test this market and see what happens. I've been putting my flowers in the same vase. time to buy some more flowers and a brand new vase and water them daily, thanks for the update..

  • John Garvey

    You've probably upset the board of directors at Facebook with your article and it's likely they have you under surveillance now. Be careful. I hear they contract out their Facebook ops to a really sharp tactical service called something like Bookwater or Facewater. Stay alert. They could be anywhere.

  • natalieharperPR

    Awesome. Just … awesome.

  • ianofthelarch

    Lots of compelling points but by far the majority of my band's fans & friends are on FaceBook and NOT Twitter – for whatever reason that medium hasn't garnered as much favor with the people that follow what we're up to – then 'cos it started out that way naturally I've spent years pointing anyone who's interested to the FB page…

  • Sabrina Signs

    So ture!!!

  • lauriest

    So, how do you get followers on Twitter?

  • Jeff Wyatt

    Thanks for the article. I’ve been underestimating Twitter.

  • Jeff Wyatt

    Thanks for your interesting, informative article. It appears I’ve been underestimating Twitter.

  • Jacob Bogh

    As a fellow musician and digital marketing professional, this was a great read. Especially since my own position had been “Twitter is stupid”.

    This gave me a bit of a new perspective, but I don’t agree with everything.

    The way I see Twitter, it’s two things. 1) A quite personal place, where people communicate 1-to-1 and 2) a bar where everyone is shouting and nobody’s listening.

    Twitter DOES have the potential for real interactions. It’s just really cluttered with people and brands wanting to be heard. You may have 10.000 followers, but half of them will probably be brands that only followed you in the hopes of a follow back.

    This may be the same for personal Facebook profiles, but for pages, I’m pretty sure most “fans” are actually fans.

    A second thing is, you’re sort of under/over playing the reach part. Facebook pages reach up to 23% of fans. This isn’t a potential reach, but real impressions. Twitter may have a potential reach of 100%, but how many people read ALL their Twitter feed?

    And a last point. Of the people being exposed to your post, how actively are they seeing it? How much attention are they paying? This is an entirely subjective opinion (based on 10 years experience with web design and UX), but I think Twitters presentation motivates skimming more than Facebook, which motivates actual reading.

    And of course, there’s the 140 characters thing…

  • It didn’t take too long then for the adverts to appear on FaceAche! Same as you tube. You know the best things in life are freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  • Bill Madison

    Great Info!!! Thanks Nic!

  • Sounds like I should get myself an education on Twitter and start using it more.

    I’m curious about something though. When I first joined Facebook, I was trying to set up a profile for my band. I remember FB telling me that “Iron Cowboy” was not a “proper name”, and I would have to set up a page, rather than a profile. I continued on, not knowing the difference at the time. Having a page, you have to earn “likes”. You can’t request “friends” or even invite people to events that you have created (shows, etc.). Since then, I have seen bands, clubs, etc. very carefully word their name, hyphenate words and so on to enable them to have a profile. Of course, they then spend every waking moment requesting friends and building of their friend count in no time! Then, when they create an event, they can invite these thousands of people to attend and it seems to snowball from there. What I don’t see is the down side of trying to create a fb profile, rather than an artist page. Any input?

  • Facebook sucks.

    My Reverb Nation page suddenly jumped to number one from somewhere in the teens one day. Knowing this would be a fleeting moment in time, I quickly created a humorous mock interview to boast to my friends on facebook how awesome thou art.
    After I clicked to post it normally, I was offered a chance to have the post shared with friends of friends, and others related for five bucks. They said it would reach some thousands of people. Maybe ten thousand, I don’t remember.
    I thought it was worth splurging five bucks for a little fun, and who knows, maybe a music sale or a fan. A lot of my friends and friends of friends are great musicians, and collectively have lots of fans.
    Well, they had some lame excuse of technical difficulty for not following through with their offer. So instead of my ad at least being seen by my friends for free, it went virtually nowhere.
    I was king for a couple days and they still did not do what they offered. In fact they did less than what could have been free. This was a time sensitive ad and they blew it for me.
    I asked them nicely to remove their heads from JP Morgan’s ass and try providing a legitimate service instead of just extracting money from people selling stupid games, and compiling personal information to benefit their financiers. I’m not holding my breath.

    Anthony Holloway

  • Jon Burr

    I dunno. It seems like Twitter is a river. If your follower doesn’t happen to be looking *that* second, your tweet is just gone in a river of zillions. Search and keywords are the most useful part, but how many are looking for your keyword? How many people are watching their twitter feed?
    Facebook is also a river, but it’s really sticky – people are spending a lot of time on it. You can buy yourself some eyeballs when you need to…

  • Nic…are you familiar with @Chripify [chirpify.com] ? i know bands like Green Day are using them. It basically allows for musicians to sell in stream on Twitter (and Facebook and Instagram) where their followers only have to reply with a ‘buy’ tweet to purchase their tracks. you should check it out. merely ‘marketing’ yourself on social media is old news. now you can actually get you music out to your fans easier than ever before. ps. i am not affiliated with the company…just enjoy using the service.

  • A different take from a friend who I showed this article too. He’s in a metal band:

    “Here’s a big counterpoint: that guy’s a hip hop guy. Twitter’s wayyyy more urban than metal. Hip hop / pop guys do well there but I don’t see much going on with metal dudes.

    Edgerank definitely sucks and I want FB to knock off the crap… but Twitter only gives you 140 characters, and the communal feel isn’t as communal. To me.”

  • One at a time. To build a real engaged Twitter following, it takes patience. Check out: http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/2012/01/twitter-tip


  • Hi Nic, thank you, I personally think you’ve really hit the nail on the head in this article. I entered the world of social media/music when Myspace was king and have hated using Facebook ever since everyone left Myspace. I think Twitter is more akin to Myspace in allowing you to follow people without much restriction and, as you say, hunt out new ‘potential fans’ based on their musical tastes, something that built me a nice following on these 2 sites, but never on Facebook. Let’s just hope Twitter never goes the same way.

  • Frank DiGaudio

    I find twitter to be less engaging giving fans less content to look at especially for mobile users who try to consume on the fly. twitter acts more like a news ticker and not a emersive media platform. It has no storage of and you have to have other places to go to find content. I have ot say for music which involves music, videos, pictures, event calendars twitter needs various other websites, social media platforms to be tangible… I have ot whole heartedly disagree here

  • I would argue that using Twitter to promote content on your website is the best of both worlds. Social media is a great way to encourage potential fans to come to your website.


  • It really depends on how many people you follow and how you use Twitter. I use Tweetdeck and usually have very specifically themed feeds that I monitor–either based on a theme or a person or business.


  • Good points. Twitter is really only as cluttered as you make it though. hashtags and @replys make it easy to monitor very specific themes and people.

  • Thanks Jeff!

  • videorov

    Youtube is better then both of them.

  • ljova

    Thank you for this! I had read this article and, within a couple of weeks, quit Facebook altogether. You made me realize just how cowardly Facebook's ways with their users content are, and how they make squeeze you for every eyeball that sees your post. Ultimately, the best way to promote work is to drive people to your website, not Twitter or Facebook or some other passing fad.

  • I’d like to see an addendum to this that compares your experience between Facebook and Twitter advertising (not merely FB ads vs. Tweets). Particularly given the new contextual / keyword targeting. And what about the Twitter Ad UI? Geez, that takes patience to figure out.

  • That'd be great. I'll keep that in mind as CD Baby does our own promoted tweets and posts and see if we can come up with a comparison based on real stats.


  • Ebone East

    Indeed. did not know that… I just deleted my twitter account to focus more on facebook. Going to make a new twitter account right away. The thing for me is not finding new fans. It's finding new musicians/artist who could afford my music services. I deliver new music and music videos to broadcasters, radio programmers, journalists, and other industry professionals….like MTV, BET, FUSE, and VH1. ebone_east@aol.com