A Comparison of Facebook and Twitter as marketing tools – methodology

Facebook and Twitter provides various avenues for small scale businesses to market their products and services. Facebook has been one of the social networks whose growth has been phenomenal. Its features mainly characterize a platform whose design is aimed to provide users the opportunities to reconnect and interact with friends (Pilch, 2009). Its list of features includes a communications component allowing instant messaging, sharing public messages, posting photos and videos (Pilch, 2009). Further its features allow users to segment friends into lists that provide one with a tool to customize what a specific individual can or cannot access (Pilch, 2009). Other features of Facebook include creating groups to which users can join, creating notes that allow for a more length communication than the profile updates and creating fan pages that allow people to follow ones activities. Unlike for a friend status where prior approval must be granted by the recipient of the request, a fan page that allows users, for instance, to follow a particular entity never requires such approval. Facebook thus allows users to share a wide range of information through different modes – e.g. video, text, and photos.

Twitter, on the other hand, is a micro-blogging application, whose limitation of messages to 140 characters, trains users to economize on space and get more innovative in formulating their messages (Pilch, 2009). The opportunity twitter provides for people to build relationships comes in form of a feature that allows one to follow and be followed by other users (Pilch, 2009). Unlike facebook where users are required to accept a friend request from another user for the relationship to begin, a user of twitter can follow another one based on the other’s messages, without being subjected to the relationship-approval process (Pilch, 2009). Similarly, if one finds out that the individual one is following is not offering any valuable communication, one can terminate such relationship with a single click (Pilch, 2009). Individuals thus use the platform to share news, ideas, inform friends of upcoming events, and share such other related information which can is performed through either a primary post or a re-posting of another persons’ message, by clicking on a button allowing such a function (Pilch, 2009). By being a 100 percent permission-based tool, users can thus follow an entity and provide feedback that the entity, in turn, can provide personalized responses to (Pilch, 2009). This paper purposes to provide a comparison between these two social media platforms in terms of their effect on marketing for small business entities in the United States.

With social media marketing benefits suggested to better marketing strategies (e.g. Gladwell, 2000; Wright et al., 2010), and the forecasts indicating its continued prominence over traditional marketing approaches (Bernoff, 2009), this paper aims to compare the effectiveness of two social media marketing tools – Facebook and Twitter – with regard to small businesses in the U.S. The paper will employ the metrics suggested by Hoffman and Fodor (2010, p. 44) for measuring effectiveness of various social media applications. Go to part 7 here.

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