Are you aware of Facebook’s dirty, little secret?

It may help determine what you use the site for (hint: it’s not for selling products).

Should you use Twitter or Facebook? Most consumer brands use both now, but what is the difference if you are crafting your strategy related to increasing sales?

Twitter is selling and Facebook is marketing.

Facebook is marketing

Facebook brand pages are one of the biggest marketing deceptions in history. You might have millions of fans, but you can’t reach most of them. You can’t call people out. You can’t message them. You must wait for them to come to you.

Pages are much like a big billboard on the freeway, except imagine that the billboard goes blank for 45 of 50 cars that drive by. Your challenge is to get them to come by, but you can only talk to them if they come to your page. It’s a lot like sitting in your store and hoping customers will walk in.

But Facebook has a dirty, little secret: It wants this failure. Facebook never intended pages to be a success for businesses. Brand pages must fail because if they didn’t, Facebook would be out of business. It wouldn’t be worth the dumb money being touted.

Why? Because of Facebook ads.

Ads are the revenue driver. If I could reach all my fans easily, why would I buy ads? As long as brand pages have less than 1 percent engagement rates and as long as there are more than 700 million accounts, brands are going to buy ads. Facebook has no desire to change this, thus brand pages for 99.9 percent of business will never drive sales on Facebook (0.1 percent get lucky). And isn’t advertising part of marketing?

How many of you go to Facebook because it has the brands you love? None of you. Thus brands have to buy ads. If you want to reach people on Facebook, you need to buy ads.

Twitter is selling

Selling is finding someone and persuading them to buy your product. On Twitter I can search, contact, ask questions, overcome objections and close the sale.

I have a mobile gourmet food client in Los Angeles. When she is in a town, I can search for people who say they are there and let these strangers know that the most delicious ice cream sandwiches in the world are available nearby. I can send direct messages to our Twitter followers, and call our brand ambassadors out by name without them posting or engaging us first.

I can’t do any of this with a Facebook fan page. Twitter is a sales-friendly platform. If you disagree, try telling me on Facebook first, and then on Twitter.

Howie Goldfarb is president and CEO of Sky Pulse Media. A version of this article originally ran on

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