Facebook impacts buying decisions 24 times more frequently than Twitter. Wow. We knew that Facebook is 6-7 times larger than Twitter and therefore likely more influential, but a new study by Edison Research (and our friend Tom Webster) shows that the influence gap is actually much larger.

What does this mean for your social media programs? First off, it points to the need to have a measurement mindset. While Facebook is more valuable on an aggregate basis, that isn’t necessarily true for your business. You need to do the work to determine that for yourself.

But let’s say your business is “typical” and that Facebook is much more influential than Twitter (or LinkedIn, etc.). How does that change your social media marketing strategy?

Simple. Your strategy is crafted to achieve business goals. If you goal is to drive purchases, Facebook should receive a disproportionate amount of time and resources. If your goal is to provide customer support, Twitter is still likely going to be just as important, simply because it’s more public and more prone to cascading unchecked negativity. And it’s ultimately quicker and easier to tweet a complaint to @USAirways rather than navigating to their Facebook page.

Interestingly, the results of this study are very similar to our analysis of the value of Twitter followers and Facebook fans that we did a couple of months ago. After looking at socially-generated revenue across our customer base and dividing by the number of fans/followers, we determined that a fan was worth $16 over the course of a year whereas a follower was only worth $3.

This is where I get a little geeky, so bear with me. These two studies were done using completely different methodologies. Edison used surveys, sample groups, and complicated statistics. Ours used observed patterns of social media interaction and purchase history. And we came to nearly identical conclusions. Our observed differential between reach and impact is 16/3=5.33. Edison’s differential between reach and impact is 24/6=4. Yes, these are lipstick-on-napkin comparisons, but my point is that these results are real darn similar. It’s probably time to pay attention.

Do you have a data-driven social media strategy that is aligned with customer behavior?

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