While it’s hard to put a hard qualifying number on either, a recent study by Forrester Research finds that Twitter followers have the potential of being more valuable in the future. The study confirms that Twitter followers are more likely to buy from brands they follow (37% vs. 21%), and recommend brands to friends (33% vs. 21%). These two factors are the yardsticks by which many social media branding campaigns are measured.
But it’s hard to ignore the immense advertising opportunities of Facebook. With an audience of 550 million, Facebook offers powerful connectivity where friends can share reviews of their favourite products. Word of mouth has long been touted as the most potent form of advertising, and right now there is no other platform that allows people to share brand sentiment as quickly as Facebook.
A major difference between the two social media site comes down to marketing theory. While both sites are interactive–Facebook involves more “push” marketing, offering fans incentives and rewards for interaction. Companies use third-party offers to obtain fans. For example, Bing used the social gaming network Zynga to build a Facebook fan base for its launch. Zynga offered “Farm Cash” rewards to entice Farmville players to become fans. While the launch was a success, that success can be short-lived since the brand is disconnected from the offer.
But used appropriately, Facebook can get the attention of a massive audience. Nike did just that by utilizing the multimedia platform of the social networking site. By posting videos and commercials directly on the page, Nike has attracted more that three million fans, thousands of which comment and “like” regularly.