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  Twitter and Facebook – A Primer for the Uninitiated
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  +Sandra Riano   Twitter and Facebook – A Primer for the Uninitiated Sandra Riano | smriano@gmail.com | 416.606.904 | March 2011 1 Inception and Conception  Jeff Bezos, CEO at Amazon.com   once said “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, theymight each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends”[1]and while this quote captures the potential impact of Social Media in the business world, companies have beenslow to completely embrace the power of strong Social Media giants such as Twitter and Facebook. In thispaper, I’ll discuss the similarities and differences between Facebook and Twitter and how they can beleveraged to yield profits and stay ahead in a market by observing market trends, and each medium’sstrengths and weaknesses.Facebook and Twitter were created with two different purposes 2,3 : Facebook was created in March of 2004 foruniversity students at Harvard as an online directory to keep in touch of school activities, friends and eventsand contact fellow students. It quickly grew to include several other universities and colleges until completelyopening up for anyone, regardless of their status, to join. Twitter was created two years later to allow users tosend private or public text-based messages to a group of ‘followers’; these messages were posted on the user’sprofile page along with the messages of the users they themselves followed. These essential differences haveshaped the type of interactions and potential monetary benefits each of these two services can yield, as it’ll bedemonstrated later.An important factor that differentiatesFacebook from Twitter is the set offeatures they possessed when they wereinitially introduced and the rate at whicheach introduces new features. Facebookusers could create a personal profile withtheir basic information (name, age,relationship status, etc), add other usersas friends by sending an email request,exchange messages through wall posts orprivate messages, join common interestuser groups (which can be made privateor public) and receive automaticnotifications when they updated theirprofile; all these updates where shown onFacebook users’ reverse timeline.However, Facebook has introduced slowyearly improvements since they cameinto the market and taken an almost ‘if itisn’t broken, don’t fix it” approach totheir feature updates and upgrades [see chart above]. Some of the changes have been focused on developingthe brand as a “meeting place”, i.e., photos, notes, chat, places, etc., while other changes have been introducedto attract corporate interest (fan pages, marketplace, ads, etc).  +Sandra Riano   Twitter and Facebook – A Primer for the Uninitiated Sandra Riano | smriano@gmail.com | 416.606.904 | March 2011 2 Twitter users, in the other hand, when the service was initially introduced were only able to exchange SMSlimited to 140 characters in length, making them public or private to their followers (also known as tweepswhich is a combination of the words twitter and peeps), and adding hashtags (#, pound sign) to theirconversations if they desired in order to join their topics into groupings. This ‘conversations’ were shown oneach Twitter user’s prolife as a progressive feed.Twitter has ramped up theimprovements to their system to givethem a complete overhaul in the lasttwo years of their relatively shortexistence [see figure at right] withmore projected changes on the way 4 .Similarly to Facebook, Twitter’simprovements have been two-fold, inone hand, they have been focused oncreating an conversation hub wherelike-minded individuals can voicetheir ideas or happenings (trendingtopics, hashtags, twitpic, twitvid)while in the other hand, slowlyopening the door for monetizing theexchange though paid ‘promotedtweets’.Twitter’s similar double-prongedapproach, similarly to Facebook,creates branding and promoting opportunities for businesses. One of them is the recent proliferation ofsponsored tweets; this is the practice where Hollywood celebrities are paid to promote a brand by eitherproviding a link to said brand’s page or by simply gushing about the brand to their twitter followers; this hasbecome one way to monetize the exchange and one that can be adopted by corporations to help promote theirbrand and benefit from the positive ‘halo effect’ celebrity endorsements have, that is, if the appropriatecelebrity is chosen. Also, Twitter can be used to promote brand loyalty by answering questions, retweetingpositive comments about the brands, address any negative feedback, redirecting users to the company’swebsite for promotional purposes and in general, humanizing the brand to help bridge the gap between whatthe does and what it stands for.  +Sandra Riano   Twitter and Facebook – A Primer for the Uninitiated Sandra Riano | smriano@gmail.com | 416.606.904 | March 2011 3 Factors in Brand Awareness One of the reasons businesses should adoptFacebook and Twitter as one of their promotingtools is due to the large exposure they can reach.Case in point, Facebook was able to quickly growto over 50 million users in their initial four yearsand Twitter has been able to reach over 105 millionregistered users 5 in their first four years (2006-2010).Not surprisingly, and perhaps because of this quickgrowth, Twitter’s brand awareness 6 has increased61% for the 2009 to 2010’s period and whileFacebook’s in the same period has only increased13% - bringing both of brand awareness almosthead to head.This brand awareness combined with actualgrowth of usage, translates on a large number ofpotential market demographic interacting onlineon a daily basis.For example, according to a 2010 study 7 byOnlineSchools.org, in a typical day’s 20-minuteperiod, from an staggering 24,929,000 actions inFacebook, 41.24% of the usage corresponds tocomments made to posts, 10.89% to uploading ofphotos (photo tagging not included) and 10.89%to sending messages while the left over 36.97%correspond to the remaining activities (wall post,links sharing, tagging photos, event invites, statusupdates and friend requests). Side-by-Side comparison of user demographics Source: Digital Surgeons.com - Social demographics 2010: A fresh look atFacebook and Twitter, 10.08.2010Link: http://www.digitalsurgeons.com/blog/design/social-demographics-2010-a-fresh-look-at-facebook-and-twitter/ Side-by-Side comparison of Brand Awareness Source: Tom Webster, Edison Research - Twitter Usage In America: 2010,Edison Research/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia StudyLink: www.edisonresearch.com/twitter_usage_2010.php    +Sandra Riano   Twitter and Facebook – A Primer for the Uninitiated Sandra Riano | smriano@gmail.com | 416.606.904 | March 2011 4 Types of Interactions  A similar study from Sysomos Inc. 8 looking into the types of interactions within Twitter, found that of 1.2billion tweets examined in a two-month period, retweets (to repost another user's message) accounted for19.3% of the activities and replies (to respond to another user’s message or mention or comment) amounted to9.7%; this indicates 71% of the Twitter posts didn’t srcinated responses from other Twitter users.What all this means for business is the ability to reacha large market of users that are conditioned toquickly and actively participate in their virtualcommunities; these attitude can help businessescrowd sourcing efforts and provide immediatefeedback to advertising efforts that can shape theircampaign efforts almost immediately. In contrast, ifthe same campaigns are run in traditional mediamethods (TV, digital signing, printed media, etc)feedback and response time will be slow by comparison and change over, if needed, would be considerablylonger.One interesting fact is the steady climb on adoption of these Social Media sites by corporations as found on astudy by the University of Massachusetts Darmouth 9 . This study found that as of 2011, 298 (60%) of the Top500 Fortune companies have corporate Twitter accounts updated on a regular basis. This number increasedconsiderably from 35% as found in a similar study conducted on2009 10 . 35% of these companies (298) consistently respondedwith @replies or retweets within 72 hours or more often andhave consistent interaction with other users and on-goingdiscussions that are easy to follow. Strangely enough, eventhoughFacebook has been in the Social Media sphere for a longer time,only 280 (56%) of the Top 500 Fortune companies are onFacebook; also, 147 companies (29%) have neither a Twitteraccount nor a Facebook presence.
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