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Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn: Which one should you Target?

January 19, 2011
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Lately, we were analyzing  the relative presence of the top 3 social networks (Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn) in four groups of influencer communities.
We identify the relevant niche influencers through their blogs, find their social network accounts and finally, we do the math.

Overall results:

Clearly,  (charts with more details at the bottom of this post):

  • Twitter dominates
  • In B2B, LinkedIn is ahead of Facebook but not by far.
  • In B2C, Facebook isn’t far from Twitter.
  • In B2C, LinkedIn isn’t a factor.
  • Significant variations in penetration of the different social network exists across different communities.

Drilling down at the community level surfaces interesting observations:

  1. In B2B high tech communities, Facebook is quite used for the likes of Cloud computing, Enterprise Architecture, Unified Communications but appears totally irrelevant for security (5%).
  2. In Healthcare, Twitter is above 60% in neuroscience but around 10% in addiction.
  3. In consumer communities, Twitter and Facebook are generally very popular.

How could the data be used?

“Engaging with people online requires that you know who they are, where they gather, who they talk to”. Said Sally Falkow back in December.

People are to social what keywords are to search. They organize the network.
Thus, in any social media optimization effort, concentrating on the right people is the way to go. In a previous post, we talked about how to find the answer to “who they are”. Relevant influencers are a big part of it as they can echo, through the power of their network, your marketing effort.

But you need to find the best way to engage with them online and offline. Online, it means understanding “where they gather”.
There is plethora of social networks, online communities, forums or groups on any given domain and new ones are created all the time:  Take Quora, the new kid on the block, which is seen by some digerati as a potential addition to the Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn dominance. Should you have a presence there? Probably. Do you have the time for it? I hear a lot of people saying ‘probably not’. Social media is very fragmented and more options put a lot of stress on any marketer’s time, creating the need to choose in order to produce results.

That said, if you understand what social network is used the most by your target audience, or, as a proxy, the influencers driving the conversation, you’re in a better position to align your investment or strategy accordingly.

The methodology should be close to:

  • Choose the community(ies) that fit your objective and get an idea of social networks penetration
  • Identify relevant influencers (it could be the whole community or just a subset of it that is hyper relevant to your area of expertise)
  • Gather data about their presence in social networks (eCairn helps you do it at the community level and drill down to the individual influencers)
  • What’s their participation (presence is just about them being there, but it’s key to know how active they are)
  • Optimize time/content/relationship building and nurturing accordingly

As an example, a brand in Cloud Computing with a specialization in Management, could decide to have an active twitter presence (40% of the Cloud Computer influencers use it) and for FB and LinkedIn (15%), target (listen/build relationships with) specific influencers for whom Management is a hot button.
By the way, eCairn enables you to do exactly that.

Here’s the drill down on the 4 groups communities that we looked at previously:

High Tech Infrastructure

High Tech Software

Healthcare

Lifestyle

How would you optimize your marketing if you had this kind of data?

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