A new study by ExactTarget claims that people that follow a brand on Twitter are more likely to buy that brand’s products than people that ‘Like’ a brand on Facebook, or that subscribe to its email newsletter. The same study also found that Twitter followers were more likely to recommend a brand to their friends than Facebook users or Email subscribers.
And I found this quote interesting from the EMarketer article (linked above):
These factors make Twitter followers attractive to marketers, but as the ExactTarget report notes, because of Twitter’s much smaller user base just 3% of US internet users follow a brand through the microblogging service. Those who do follow brands on Twitter are likely to be influencers in general, while Facebook users are more like the average consumer.
Interesting perspective, and I think there could be some truth to more ‘influencers’ being on Twitter than Facebook, at least by percentage.
So do you agree with this study? Are Twitter users more likely to influence your purchasing decisions, or is it Facebook or Email, or another tool? Or is it not about the tools, or rather which tools your network uses?
What do you think? When you need an opinion on a new movie or restaurant, for example, do you turn to Twitter or Facebook? Or elsewhere?
Ian Greenleigh says
Many that we follow on Twitter, we admire professionally. They’re not friends, but in certain, bucketed subjects they have real influence on our habits, interests and even purchase decisions.
Facebook is more friend-oriented. It always has been. I’d trust a Twitter mobile phone expert that I follow more than a Facebook friend to guide my search for my next device.
Mack Collier says
Hey Ian, I understand your point. But if you are at the movie theater and you want opinions on what to watch, do you go to Twitter or Facebook? I think for each person, it depends on where their TRUSTED network is. Mine is on Twitter, but yours might be on Facebook.
In other words, I don’t think this is a tool-specific question, but rather it’s about the location of our networks.
What do the rest of you think?
Geno Prussakov says
“Are Twitter users more likely to influence your purchasing decisions, or is it Facebook or Email, or another tool?”
Much depends on how you choose your Facebook friends and Twitter followers. If they are truly the people you trust, then, of course you’ll be influenced (very often my case on both Twitter and Facebook)… I am actually surprised to see Twitter score that much higher. Do we know how large their sample was?
Nic Wirtz says
Twitter is a strange beast. Best for sharing info and networking (a terrible term that impersonalises a personal relationship) in my opinion.
However, I find I have closer relationships, agreeing with Ian especially professionally speaking with those on Twitter. Perhaps this shows my personal bias for using Twitter as my main communication tool and not Facebook which I honestly hate.
Facebook pages just seem somewhat unprofessional to me. The comments they receive and broadcast are generally short but not to the point like on Twitter. Perhaps Twitter’s character limit forces us to get to a point and give useful info not waffle and waste time?
Or perhaps companies are using Twitter over Facebook to connect to their fans?
Of course as Geno states, it entirely depends on the quality of your followers in the first place.
Mack Collier says
I think I heard someone say last week in Dallas that Facebook is becoming the AOL of social media. I think that’s right, they are trying to do EVERYTHING in one spot. For now it’s working, but I think it will eventually become too much.
Twitter still basically has one function: Sending 140-character messages. As its users are getting smarter they are finding new uses within that funcationality (ie #Blogchat), but at its core, it still does one thing.
My guess is that Twitter will never enjoy the mainstream success that Facebook currently does, but I’d bet that Twitter is around longer than Facebook is. Unless they do something to totally honk off their core user base.
Ted Simon says
Good question, Mack. It strikes me that the answer is not the same for all circumstances or people.
Circumstances include – the ‘need for speed’ (is it an immediate question, e.g., your movie example above) vs. a ‘researched’ question (e.g., which stereo system to buy). People factors include – the underlying makeup of your personal Twitter vs. FB friends/connections (e.g., professional vs. topical vs. just a circle friends), how you use each channel, and so on…
My guess is that our “instant gratification society” may be leaning on Twitter because it better allows for “targetting” your question via hashtags, thereby opening your question up to your tweeps and beyond, and thereby produces faster answers. FB relies strictly on your friends, who may or may not be on the grid when you have a question. That’s been my personal experience, but my sample of one is probably not scientifically projectable to the social media universe.
I’ve been pondering this for a while now, and I’m convinced Twitter will become more popular in a short while, outgrowing Facebook. Why? Because of how Twitter can be implemented, there are several decks and websites that live out from Twitter’s feeds, this allows for multiple applications and specialized uses that Facebook will never be able to do.
If you tweet right, you can get clients to feel closer, without even being on twitter’s website this is a tactical advantage.