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Paul Hudson
Paul Hudson CEO of Intersperience
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Are you a Follower or Are You a Friend?

The two most popular social sites on the internet, Facebook and Twitter are a focus of the majority of businesses who are looking for ways to create a more engaging service and establish a strong bond with their customers.
 
There are some obvious differences between the two sites such as you tweet on one and ‘like’ on the other. But what is really interesting is whether they are used differently; is there a difference between being a follower and being a friend? 

It turns out, yes!

Strong ties are created on Facebook. Friends and family are the two main types of ‘friendships’ made on the site. Staying in touch, catching up and checking what friends are up to is what motivates the checking of a Facebook account. 

Twitter connections on the other hand are based on loose ties. Users interact a lot more with acquaintances, celebrities, artists and people never met in person compared to Facebook. 

Does it matter? Yes, it does! 

Because of the family-focused use of Facebook, users post a lot more personal information compared to Twitter. Interactions with family and friends encourage submitting photos, places visited and bio. This makes users more sensitive towards privacy and security on the site. 

Twitter is more anonymous. There is less space to talk about you. Users are less likely to share their date of birth, marital status, post about personal views or share details about their family. They also only have 140 characters to say what’s on their mind. This makes Twitter users less concerned with privacy and their interest in site security is also smaller.

What does this mean for businesses?

Facebook, despite being larger and more popular, is riskier. It requires greater care when approaching and interacting with users. Any unsolicited contact or unexpected marketing messages are perceived as a threat or violation of their privacy. Users hesitate to interact with businesses on Facebook as they have little understanding of what information about them, businesses have access to. 

Twitter users are a lot more forgiving. Unanticipated contact from brands does not worry them as much. Anonymity encourages them to be more open and if you’re looking for customer feedback they are more likely to post it on Twitter than Facebook.

How do you approach these sites? Are you a follower or a friend? Share your thoughts with us here.

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