In today’s world, where within seconds any question we need answered is at the touch of our fingertips, social media seems to be taking over. Not only for social activity, but also as a source of news updates. It seems only natural, then, that brands would eventually turn to social media in hopes of spreading the news about their products and entice new allegiant customers.
With an abundance of social media outlets available, such as Flickr, Blogger, Digg, LinkedIn and the almost forgotten MySpace, the outlets most commonly used are Twitter and Facebook. Both have proven to be successful when it comes to informing the public of various brands, but in the world of public relations, which one is more effective?
Facebook has a great number of advantages and disadvantages. For starters, an actual profile can be created with ample information about the brand provided on the page. Also, more people use Facebook than Twitter. According to Mashable.com, nearly half of Americans use Facebook, while only 7 percent use Twitter. This would lead one to believe that there is greater potential to attract new clientele through Facebook since there are far more people who use it.
However, those who are Facebook users typically use it strictly for social purposes rather than brand research. This means a person who is age 50 is likely to get on Facebook just to catch up with an old friend, or a college student wants only to look at other friends’ profiles. Facebook is also becoming overcrowded and less private, which is a drawback that causes users not to check their accounts as frequently.
Like Facebook, Twitter also has its pros and cons. Because we live in a fast-paced world, people want to learn what information they can as quickly as possible, without having to read minor, insignificant details. This is the very essence of Twitter. “Tweets” can only consist of 140 characters, meaning users must be clever in how they share great amounts of information. This feature can be considered good or bad. Some brands have trouble summing up what they wish to share with their followers in so few characters. This causes them to have to tweet several times in a row, which can overwhelm their followers.
Twitter is gaining new users while Facebook is losing users. SocialTimes.com released an infographic comparing Facebook and Twitter, which showed that while more people do use Facebook, Twitter is more likely to drive a person to go purchase a product. Also, Twitter allows users to use a hashtag. The use of hashtags has made its way into television, usually placing a show’s hashtag in the bottom right corner of the screen.
So which is more relevant when it comes to branding? Ultimately, it is up to the consumer. Personally, my loyalty is to Twitter. Twitter has it all. Where else can one go to read a tweet from your best friend, your favorite brand and from the president himself, Barack Obama?