Breaking News: Twitter is more powerful than Facebook at breaking news
Within ten minutes of posting this tweet to my pretty lifeless twitter account with no followers, to my surprise I started receiving reply tweets from Channel 9 news, Channel 7 news, and many other news reporters asking to interview me as a witness to this event. I was on TV!
A difference between Twitter and Facebook is that your posts (known as ‘tweets’) are not just limited to your ‘authorised friends’ but searchable to the world. Since this ‘news breaking’ event occurred, putting my marketing hat on, I realised Twitter is not only a powerful form of citizen journalism, but potentially has a very powerful reach for all small, medium and large businesses.
According to Yellow™ Social Media Report 2012, 62% of Australian internet users use a variety of social media platforms, with many visiting every day. It should come as no surprise that 97% of these people use Facebook, which currently dominates this landscape, and only 14% use Twitter.
What becomes more interesting is when we compare these figures to the previous year. Consistently, 97% of social media users were using Facebook, but only 8% used Twitter. So, unlike Facebook which has basically reached saturation point in Australia, the figures show that the number of Twitter users is growing rapidly. In other words, everyone already understands Facebook and knows what it can do, but more and more people are only starting to recognise the power and uniqueness of Twitter.
Facebook has an obviously appealing purpose for everyone, and over the years has superbly adapted to the evolving needs of its users. It simply is the best way in keeping in touch with friends and family around the world, and the ultimate in social networking. On the contrary however, six years on from its introduction in 2006, Twitter still holds a sense of doubt amongst many; ‘what is the point?’, ‘I don’t need it’ are the common responses for non-Twitter users. With already over 500 million active users (about half that of Facebook), Twitter still has a lot to grow.
To put some perspective on the current Twitter landscape using Australian Business: Telstra has 38k followers, Optus have 23k, Westpac have 11k and Virgin Australia have successfully attracted 88k followers to their Twitter account. Alarmingly an 18 year old boy named Justin Bieber has 26 million followers. Now, by no means should we simply take the amount of followers as the sole measure of Twitter success, but this certainly is another interesting eye opener to Twitter and its ability to reach millions of people.
Of course, I’m not quite ignorant enough to think that I am the only person thinking about these issues and trying to identify social media trends. A simple Google search for ‘social media case studies’ or ‘social media marketing ROI’ brings up many interesting research articles and blogs written by a lot of credible people on this booming trend. Most importantly as marketers, we need to recognise these trends, and act. Referring to the graphic below, findings from Sensis 2012 Social Media Report show that social media marketing spend for businesses hasn’t kept up with the increase in social media usage by its customers – for large businesses especially, only 4.5% of marketing budget is spent on social media marketing.
I think in today’s society it is almost impossible not to be at least intrigued by this phenomenon. After all, social media is the ‘media’ of modern day at a very ‘social’ level.
Have you got any Twitter stories to share?
Have you also broken the news or had a Twitter conversation with a celebrity?
*The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Telstra.