Advantages & Disadvantages of Twitter

By Shea Laverty

As one of the largest social networks on the Internet, Twitter's potential for expanding your business or website's audience is hard to deny. Creating an account is free, making it easy to get started tweeting to promote your work or share your ideas and thoughts. However, Twitter is not perfect: It has both benefits and drawbacks that you need to consider before deciding how much time to invest in its use.

Pro: Massive Audience Potential

One of the biggest advantages of Twitter is the potential audience: Twitter has 284 million monthly users as of December 2014, according to Trusted Reviews. While your feed obviously won't reach every user, even a fraction of that pool is a substantial audience.

Con: Balancing Post Frequency

Post frequency requires careful tuning. If you post infrequently, your audience is less likely to see your posts compared to other feeds. Post too often, and you can lose followers because your "spammy" posts are junking up their feeds. Striking the right balance can be a tricky feat, requiring both time and analysis.

Pro: Widely Accessible

Twitter reaches beyond Web browsers: Twitter apps exist for smartphones and tablets as well. This gives you an opportunity to maximize your audience across multiple platforms. For example, you can reach people who use Twitter on their phones but not on their computers, or on their tablets but not their phones.

Con: Full-Time Management

Maximizing the effectiveness of your Twitter account can become a full-time job. This is especially true for feeds that extensively use Twitter to promote content or products. Depending on how you use Twitter and how often you need to post to maintain a solid audience, you may spend more time using Twitter than generating content.

Pro: Customer Service and Advertisements

Twitter can be a handy way to quickly address customer concerns. Many companies answer tweets from followers who ask about products or look for help with a particular issue. Twitter can also be an effective way to alert consumers and clients to changes in policy, recalls, upcoming events or sales and other important notices and advertisements.

Con: Limited Message Size

One of Twitter's selling points is its 140-character posts. This short message size is a double-edged sword, as details are omitted to accommodate post size. Including links to details on your website can alleviate this issue, but it relies on your followers clicking them.