A recent study by Compete looking at how consumers use some of the top social media platforms, especially in relationship to brand interaction, revealed some interesting points about the comparative use of Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps not too surprisingly, Twitter claims a larger share of mobile device use than Facebook (or LinkedIn, which was the third social media platform surveyed). For example, with smartphones, 43% of Twitter users reported using Twitter on their smartphone, leading Facebook at 34%. Comparatively, desktop usage is 92% and 98% respectively, indicating a preference for Twitter on mobile phones.
Another interesting finding was that 17% of those responding to the survey reported tweeting about a TV show while watching it. This may be a relatively small percentage compared to those who read tweets (61%) or tweet updates/links to others (49%), but it is an indication of the multi-tasking nature of Twitter and its users. If a brand can capture the interest of those TV viewers at that moment, this could be a powerful boost.
But don’t count Facebook out. In another study, Compete discovered that in February 2011 the Facebook page for the iTunes store saw more traffic than the actual iTunes domain. The study also found that almost half of respondents said they were “fans” of 5 or more retailers/brands via Facebook. And in general, 25% said they check out their favorite brands on social media pages at least once per month.
The more data that is collected about the use of social media in relation to branding and retail behavior, the more one gets the impression that although it is clear that consumers are involving social media in their purchasing decisions, it’s really impossible at this point to say with any certainty which platform is the most popular for doing so, or indeed where prospective consumers can be expected to land when shopping or looking for information about purchasing decision-making.
What one CAN say with certainty at this point is that each business must take some time to assess their market and its relationship to social media, look at what their competitors are doing, investigate options available to them, and make some tough decisions about where, when, and how to participate as a business. Although some participation is a no-brainer, with social media, you must be prepared to keep the conversation going — you can’t just put up a Facebook page and leave it, expecting it to keep bringing traffic to your site or your business. Nor can you open a Twitter account, tweet once in a blue moon about a new product in your store, and expect people to follow you or even care that you are there. If you make the plunge into deal-a-day offers or other social networking properties, or if you opt for advertising on social platforms, be prepared to check the analytics of such campaigns scrupulously to ascertain their effectiveness. Keep updated on changes to how social media operates so you can jump in as quickly as possible when features are added or altered to make the most of the frenetic nature of the media itself. There are a lot of basic tasks you will need to make an integral part of your scheduled upkeep — research and start making lists of best practices for making the most of your investment in social media. In short, if you want to be successful in this arena, you have to be prepared to pay attention much more than you might be used to doing with your main website and make some tough choices about where to put your time and your money.