Objective : of this blog post is to study in very simple terms how the three stalwarts of the social media space ??? Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are perceived by a common user.
Purpose : of carrying out this analysis is to debate whether there
- is a gap in the respective company???s desired positioning vis-??-vis the actual perception
- are gaps that the new entrants like Google Buzz or Google Me can exploit.
Method : Perceptual Maps are easy to interpret graphs that visually display the perceptions of customers about a brand. I have used this technique to display the relative position of Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin across certain key attributes.
Before we embark upon the analysis, it is important to put in perspective certain key stats about the three companies.
Analysis by way of Perceptual Maps
Perceptual Map 1 : Personal Vs Professional Networking
- Facebook scores very high on personal networking but low on professional networking.
- Facebook users tend to look for and interact more with old friends/acquaintances.
- Twitter has much better use of professional networking with corporates in the fray too.
- Twitter users are more open to making new friends ??? who had been total strangers till they met on Twitter.
- Linkedin???s perception is that of a business/professional networking site. That’s how it has been officially positioned as well.
Perceptual Map 2 : Knowledge Based Vs Relationship Based Updates
- Twitter scores the highest in knowledge based updates. This includes links to news, opinions and blogs.
- Personal updates on Twitter are not that common. In fact, they are despised, with a threat of unfollowing looming large in case they are used more often.
- Linkedin is low on updates of any kind. That???s something Linkedin management is trying to address through measures like provision for article links, the ???like??? button etc.
- Facebook is high on personal updates but low on knowledge based ones.
Perceptual Map 3 : Privacy Vs Downtime
- Linkedin has neither faced privacy issues nor any serious downtimes.
- Twitter is pathetic in terms of downtime.
- Twitter has also faced privacy issues, with the hacking menace giving jitters to users every now and then.
- However, since Twitter has been positioned as an open/public site, too much personal information is neither desired nor available on the website that could cause any serious privacy issue.
- Facebook is facing serious privacy issues but seems to be doing fine as far is downtime is concerned.
There are sufficient gaps in the social media space that Google can exploit, viz
- Perceptual Map 1 : There is no website that is high on both professional and personal updates at the same time. Is this an opportunity for Google, or an invitation to confused positioning?
- Perceptual Map 3 : Can Google Me offer excellent privacy with minimal downtime? Google is a powerhouse, and can achieve both! (Only if it does not botch up accidentally as it did with Google Buzz!)
As per Perceptual Map 2, both twitter and Facebook are comfortably placed in their respective quadrants, and it would be difficult to nudge past them!
What perceptions do you hold about Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin? Do you think there is a gap between their desired and actual positioning? Is there enough space available for a player like Google Me to co-exist? Your views are welcome!
Disclaimer : These maps are based on my perceptions of the three companies.
- Facebook vs. Twitter http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/060710-tech-argument-facebook-twitter.html
- By The Numbers: Twitter Vs. Facebook Vs. Google Buzz http://searchengineland.com/by-the-numbers-twitter-vs-facebook
- Twitter Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter
- Facebook Press Room http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics
- Linkedin Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinkedIn