A survey by US-based analytics firm Pew Research Center in November last year found that “Two-thirds of online adults (66%) use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or LinkedIn. These internet users say that connections with family members and friends (both new and old) are a primary consideration in their adoption of social media tools. Roughly two thirds of social media users say that staying in touch with current friends and family members is a major reason they use these sites, while half say that connecting with old friends they’ve lost touch with is a major reason behind their use of these technologies.”
Other factors also played a much smaller role, with 14 percent of respondents saying that linking up with common interests was a major reason they use social media while 9 percent are saying that gaining new friends was as important.
“Reading comments by public figures and finding potential romantic partners are cited as major factors by just 5% and 3% of social media users, respectively,” it added.
In June last year, the firm released data that Facebook dominated the SNS space: 92 percent of SNS users are on Facebook; 29 percent used MySpace, 18 percent used LinkedIn and 13 percent used Twitter.
There was considerable difference with the way people used various social networking sites: 52 percent of Facebook users and 33 percent of Twitter users engaged with the platform daily, while only 7 percent of MySpace and 6 percent of LinkedIn users did the same. This proves most online users are active users of Facebook and Twitter.
In part 1 of Facebook vs Twitter we discussed the rivalry between two giant social networking sites (SNS), their main differences and privacy issues.
Part 2 will build up on how SNS, Facebook and Twitter in particular, can help you as a user and in your business. The Social Barrel team talked things over and argued which social networking site can help us get across our patrons.
Facebook – The Positives
Let us take a closer look on what Facebook brings to the table: a social networking tool that also allows importation of any blog address.
Many online users jumped into the blogging frenzy several years ago on popular services such as WordPress and Blogger. Nevertheless, times have changed, and Facebook has outdone all blogging sites and its providers with regards to relevance and popularity.
A 2010 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that, while one in 10 adults blog, only 14 percent of teens do, which is down from 28 percent in 2006, and the trend continues.
This drop also reflected in lower rates of teens’ blog comments within SNS: 52 percent of teen social network users said they comment on friends’ blogs, down from the 76 percent who did so in 2006.
So why not bring the blogs to the teens by way of Facebook?
If you own a blog site, the best part is that there’s nothing to change. Associates can still post on the blog like before. After linking the blog with Facebook and configuring the right setting, each post will automatically go to your Facebook page.
Another common misconception about Facebook is that it is not customizable. The social network used to have a static Facebook Markup Language (FBML) for adding new tabs and apps to your page, but it has been removed. The company dropped all FBML support since last month and encouraged all developers to move away from the old structure.
Twitter – The Positives
Twitter, on the other hand, is designed for people who regularly carry around a simple mobile device such as feature phones devoid of the complexities of mobile operating systems. It is a perfect fit in this intricate world of social networks because it allows users to interact on both computers and mobile devices without changing the experience.
However, Facebook also moved into the mobile arena with the development of its mobile site and apps for various mobile OSes. Moreover, it allows users to update their status thru SMS.
With Facebook tightening its grip on Twitter’s neck, why do we continue to use the latter?
One reason is that Twitter accounts are easier to handle and the profile creation process takes less than 10 minutes to finish, whereas more amount of work is needed to create a Facebook account.
Do you remember in part 1 we talked about Facebook’s advantage about privacy among users?
Most Twitter users allow others to follow them without the need for approval while Facebook requires a user to accept a friend request first. It is a disadvantage that prolongs the time needed to gather friends.
Another major reason to continue using a Twitter account is that users become more connected to their preferred social networks with time. Online users now have made a habit in opening their social network accounts first when surfing the web. Many even become so loyal to an SNS that they will defend it no matter what.
Some Twitter users do not care about Facebook. Most of their friends and the people with whom they communicate with prefer to use Twitter instead of Facebook.
Despite that, we have 500 million active Twitter users as of this year, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day.
In teen demographics, however, the Pew Research Center found that:
While teens are bigger users of almost all other online applications, Twitter is an exception.
- 8% of internet users ages 12-17 use Twitter. This makes Twitter as common among teens as visiting a virtual world, and far less common than sending or receiving text messages — as 66% of teens do — or going online for news and political information, done by 62% of online teens.
- Older teens are more likely to use Twitter than their younger counterparts; 10% of online teens ages 14-17 do so, compared with 5% of those ages 12-13.
- High-school-age girls are particularly likely to use Twitter. 13% of online girls ages 14-17 use Twitter, compared with 7% of boys that age.
- Using different wording, we find that 19% of adult internet users use Twitter or similar services to post short status updates and view the updates of others online.
- Young adults lead the way when it comes to using Twitter or status updating. One-third of online 18-29 year-olds post or read status updates.
On a positive note, this data shows Twitter still has plenty of room to grow as opposed to almost-saturated Facebook. The latter is also plagued with privacy issues that remain hot among privacy advocates/groups.
Facebook vs Twitter – Monetization
Twitter has the upper hand as traffic goes mobile. Many users habitually click links, which could easily be ad-sponsored links. Meanwhile, Facebook tends to keep users in-site. That means we do not have a good feel if users are looking at or ignoring the ads.
Until lately, Twitter has demonstrated indolence with monetization. Consequently, it only generated revenues of a meager $140 million last year.
However, Twitter is now working hard to push effort in this aspect, namely ad formats and programs, and it expects to reach $1 billion in revenues by 2014.
Facebook generates $4 billion annually.
Facebook vs Twitter – Promotion
For years, promoters’ main business concern had been the subject of separately logging into their Twitter and Facebook accounts to post updates and edit profiles.
Facebook took notice and offered a way to connect its status updates to Twitter accounts. For example, when we announce updates or events on our Facebook page, the same update will now be tweeted on our Twitter account.
With the integration between accounts across different social networks, users no longer need to log into many accounts to post the same information. This implies less maintenance for our Twitter account, because Facebook handles everything for us. Note: The same thing also works from Twitter to Facebook, with tweets automatically sent to Facebook as status updates when enabled.
For businesses, this trend provides incredible convenience; however, it does not instantly bring a high success rate. Put differently, a productive Twitter/Facebook effort “honestly” relates to its followers.
Experts have said in previous articles and blogs that a successful Twitter account for business will interact with its target audience rather than make common announcements. This means you have to talk to your users in ways that will hit them at a personal level. Be conversational. Make your posts relevant to their own postings.
Facebook vs Twitter – Visibility
Where do you go next? First, you need to remain steadfast in pushing and keeping your Facebook page updated. This formula will work fine as long as unique content are introduced on the page.
Fact: The process of more and more users liking your page is a gradual one. There is no quick and easy way to develop a huge fan base unless you are a mainstream personality or brand.
Visibility on Twitter needs better understanding since you cannot just create a simple account, tweet on a weekly basis, and expect followers to come together.
Users must start to be dynamic in following Twitter users, retweeting posts from other users to highlight a good book, movie, or a particular item that your site owns.
Businessweek.com notes that another constructive way to use Twitter would be to open another account for major events, such as concerts or fundraisers, name the account on the event’s actual name, and invite Twitter users as dictated by the account’s name and message.
Putting up Social Barrel so far has made us understand several of the most creative promotional methods online to draw fans and followers for our Facebook and Twitter accounts, respectively.
For instance, we have to keep creating unique and forward-thinking schemes for our Facebook page to be special. We have to offer dynamic services, which “friends of friends” of our fans see on their newsfeeds.
On Twitter, the best way to promote our account is to follow relevant users of the microblogging site and make quality posts to accounts that are interesting to those users and provide relevant information to Social Barrel. Facebook and Twitter are not entirely in direct contrast when it comes to promotion. This method of following can be as productive for Facebook accounts as well.
We have begun to look at other methods that are appropriate for our site, such as user polls, reviews and more up-to-date news articles. If all fares well (and we keep earning), we plan offer prizes to our Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and social media channels.
Facebook vs Twitter – The Verdict
Now, what are we to make of all this lengthy social networking talk: Facebook, Twitter, or both?
Based on our project’s results and everything we learned about Facebook and Twitter, we decided to try to make both our Facebook page and Twitter profile successful. So should you.
Social networking comes in various forms. As a user, pick the SNS you prefer; there are plenty for everyone to pick. As a promoter, our team must look at all of the social networks, not the ones we prefer as individuals or users.
Social Barrel is now in the position to use a wide variety of social networks available to promote all our services.
Keep in mind that each social networking tool or SNS has its own special value. A Facebook vs Twitter rivalry would be easier to judge if both were exact copies of each other. The reality is that these two services reach out in different ways to different users with a different kind of impact.
How can you find equivalence with that much of a difference?
In the end, for any user or promoter, creating a successful Facebook page or Twitter profile is not an overnight experience. Critics, who once said social networks were wasted efforts, are now advocates of the platform.
The fall of social networks is not yet visible on the horizon, and you will never know its promotional value unless you try.