Study: Twitter Followers More Valuable Than Facebook Friends?

A new study by TubeMogul may indicate that followers on Twitter may be more beneficial to an organization or person than friends on Facebook.  The study showed that on average, “audiences clicking on video links from Twitter watch a video 36.91% longer than viewers referred by Facebook and 49.98% longer than viewers referred by Digg.”

Now while the methodology was sound, we’re clearly making an inference on the Twitter vs. Facebook conclusion.  What’s more, any decent social media campaign will include both.  But it may suggest that because on Twitter we choose to follow interesting people, by definition we get more of the stuff we’re apt to want to see.

Consider this: on Twitter, people follow absolute strangers based on a mutual interest in subject matter. There’s no qualifications, little screening and not a big commitment on either side.  And by it’s very nature, Twitter isn’t bombarding you with Mafia Wars updates or “I Just Took the ‘What Breakfast Food Am I Quiz’ notifications.

In contrast, Facebook friends are just that: friends. It could be a business associate or high school buddy. Once you friend someone, you get it all: videos of the kids fishing, declarations that they’re off for a soy latte, and (hopefully) decent content you may want to see.

So what we may be witnessing on Twitter is the development of eco-systems of people who self-select to be part of a loose confederation of ideas on specific subjects.

Therefore, it is IMPERATIVE that companies tighten the focus of their content before they Tweet any and every little thing.  In short, don’t babble: speak clearly, intelligently and with purpose.  And of course, don’t forget to listen.

A word of caution before thinking Facebook isn’t for you: this study was for all Facebook users, and did not distinguish between Friends (individuals) and Fans (company). My guess (or at least hope!) is that if one studied the  video viewings for Fans separately, the rules of self-selection would yield more engaged results.

My shop is in the middle of launching Facebook pages for adidas, Sperry Top-Sider, Isis for Women and a few other brands that have the potential for enthusiastic followings.  As we get more and more data, we’ll post some results to see if the Fan hypothesis is playing out.

Twitter Update: Paid Tweets? Don’t Bother.

Muck Rack recently launched a new service where PR pros can pay $50 for a Tweet.  The service claims to be a conduit to reporters, so you’re paying them the same way one would use PRWeb, Business Wire or PR Newswire.

Sounds like a good idea at first, but upon further investigation it seems that of @muckrack’s 3,800 followers, very few are journalists.  However, Muck Rack does a great job of aggregating Tweets from journalists and indicating trends.  As a research tool, we love it.  As a paid service to reach journalists, not a big fan.

The reason is that unlike real press release distribution services, Twitter is a personal (remember, SOCIAL?) medium.  Building a following is a one-by-one endeavor.  True, when you get a following, you are talking to a lot of folks.  But they follow you or your client because they are interested in what’s on your mind…to get the scoop on what’s happening.  As soon as you pay someone else to write and communicate, the trust and validity of the medium is compromised.

Bottom line: if you don’t have time or ability to build a following of PR pros, or consumers for that matter, don’t use Twitter.  And don’t try to get into social media.  It’s a very hands-on, time consuming effort.  You don’t outsource it like getting your lawn mowed.

This is another indication that as communication becomes more “democratic” through social media, it does not replace good judgement OR the hard work in creating and maintaining relationships. That goes for PR pro to reporter, or company to consumer. Sadly, these new vehicles will expose more shoddy work by PR agencies…the same folks that called everyone in the news room on a petty release with the ingenious pitch: “Just wanted to make sure you got my release.”

That’s enough ranting for now.  Besides, I need to Tweet this post.

For a good review on Muck Rack, read today’s post on Bad Pitch Blog.

Social Media Study Shows ROI

Social media marketing drives sales, a new study says. According to the study by Wetpaint and the Altimeter Group, “companies find correlation between brands’ social media efforts and financial performance.”

The challenge is that this study looked at the 100 most valuable brands in America.  Great.  What about the other thousands of brands that we all know and love that don’t have the money or power of Google, Microsoft and Starbuck’s…all which fared well in this gauge?

First, the study confirms that deep social media engagement with consumers through online channels correlates to better financial performance. The ENGAGEMENTdb study (www.engagementdb.com) showed significant positive financial results for the companies who measured as having the greatest breadth and depth of social media engagement.

In short: social media marketing delivers measurable ROI.

These “Social Media Mavens” on average grew company revenues by 18 percent over the last 12 months, while the least engaged companies saw revenues sink 6 percent on average over the same time period.

The good news is that it’s true that better engagement with your prospects will drive sales, and online on social media marketing will work wonders. But the real danger with this study is that many marketers will look at it this and say to social media marketing agencies like CBC: I want that! Now!

It’s like a couch potato looking at Men’s Fitness and not realizing the amount of time, dedication and hard work it takes to get AND maintain a model-perfect body.

So if this study serves as inspiration to get going on social media marketing, I’m all for it.  But a word of caution: online and social media marketing requires a great plan, a full commitment and a new mindset for marketers.  It’s not about a Facebook page or Twitter feed, which are merely parts of your infrastructure. It’s about creating content in all its forms that is valuable, entertaining and, most importantly, not available anywhere else.  Then bringing all your resources to bear to promote and maintain this communication platform.

Watch this space for a new eBook: The 7 Deadly Sins (and 7 Golden Rules) of Social Media Marketing. It should be ready in the next week or two.