Brand Perception of Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin


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.


About Aman Sharma

Management Professional.
This entry was posted in Social Media, Twitter and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Brand Perception of Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin

  1. vikaspgoel says:

    very well captured ! On a personal front being on all 3 , to me – Facebook is more about friends and family whom we know reasonably well and would have met some time in life . LinkedIN is basically about professional networking , primarily about ex and present colleagues . Its a boon for corporate recruiters .Twitter is all about conversations , opinions , creativity , humor and brevity , content rules and Its a boon for celebrities .btw , this Flitterin toon is awesome – Future Boss ( LinkedIN) , Past Flames (Facebook) and current obsession (Twitter) 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear Vikas,Your observation is right! That’s how Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin are perceived by many. With the buzz around probable launch of GoogleMe, it would be interesting to see what positioning it sets out to achieve.Regarding the cartoon, credit goes to Mashable, whom I have credited in ‘references’ at the end of the blog post.Thanks for your comments!

  3. ashwinkgopal says:

    Wonderful..This is precisely what most of us have in mind. Your analysis draws a very objective link to the possibilities and explores what can be done where. But sadly, against the general perception, recruiters today have started using this to judge a candidate which may or may not work out against the candidate. This is one grey area of social networking. For Google to succeed in this arena, it would need some radical design and ideas. Google Buzz AFAIK, is a big let down. Orkut also was decimated by Facebook. Wonderful analysis!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dear Ashwin,Appreciate your comments! Yes, since social media brings about a lot of public gaze around a user, employers might use it as a tool to pre-judge candidates. This is one reason I am of a strong opinion of using social media as a knowledge medium more than anything else.GoogleMe is very much in the air and I am sure Google has learnt a lot from the Buzz experience. With the kind of deep pockets and technical expertise that Google has, there is a strong possibility of it giving some tough time to Facebook/Twitter.Even the perceptual maps show gaps that Google can try to occupy in the consumers’ mind. Interesting!Thanks again!

  5. PervaraKapadia says:

    Good capture thanks Aman

  6. WorldsBestTips says:

    No one Social Media site can be everything to everybody. Abe Lincoln said it best, you can’t please all the ppl all the time can you? I think the point of having strengths is that there are symbiotic synergies that can be exploited by us when we manage our image. The efficiency to be gained for instance when I Tweet and my posts are broadcast across my LinkedIn Network. Or I can update my Facebook fr and fam by typing my Twitter URL and remind them of new material or posts and it shows my whole Twitter profile on my FB page. Even if google were to attempt to be everything to everybody, it is too late. LinkedIn has clearly staked out the Professionals and Business Owner,s Facebook just wants everybody and Twitter is still new and frankly nobody knows what it will look like in two years, it might evolve into a bazaar or online market! Perception evolves as well. It has to. With the ever changing internet, these social sites must evolve, we must evolve, and the public’s perception and the sites’ perceptions of themselves should also evolve. I tweet at WorldsBestTips.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for some very meaningful comments WorldsBestTips!You have hit the nail on the head when you say the social media space is in a phase of evolution. Internet is such a dynamic and vibrant medium that it will be many years before we actually get to know how much social media has evolved or shaped public perceptions.While I do agree that Linkedin has eaten away the business/professional pie of social media, I see very little activity there. Browsing through the net, it was difficult to get an idea of the number of updates by users there. A gap Google can eye upon!?Similarly, can Google look at Twitter users with no ???whale fails??? on offer!? Or, learning from the Buzz fiasco, offer Facebook users impeccable privacy to allow them share all their photos and private updates!? The perceptual maps show clear gaps that Google can exploit. Only if it is smart enough!Appreciate your comments!

  8. WorldsBestTips says:

    As singles mature and have families they will need to live with their words sown on #Twitter and #Facebook. #LinkedIn, since it is not used much by this demographic is still an opportunity for younger people to "mold" their image. We may notice for instance a tweet where the person admits they cannot say certain words on FB b/c their grandmother might see it, evidence that person is at least maturing to the point where they can see the consequences of past or present content. As we discussed earlier, Aman, managed evolution could be executed by innovation. Not only by a business, but also by end users. Recognizing that millions of young people probably don’t want employers to know they are using Twitter like they used to use FB, as an outlet of expression; many have chosen to Tweet under an umbrella of annonymity. Aman, is that a collective, subconcsious attempt to evolve, to pass over the Perceptual Map’s structure? Has this demographic realized in real time what the future foretells for alot of others?? That their words are their world, maintaining a good online image is imperative? And we cannot escape what we type?? If google is to "succeed" at social media, the real war will be in creating a balance, where a comfort zone is maintained. Where one can freely express themselves and it not come back to haunt them. Maybe I propose a fantasy app that cannot or will not ever exist. Maybe so. But understanding Perception, as you so clearly point out is a step in managing how WE are percieved on the Internet. If we know how the vast number of people "percieve" a site, we can do a better job at managing how we individually and professionally are percieved.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Excellent WorldsBestTips! You have covered points that had not come to my mind at all! Thanks for giving me an opportunity to express my views on these aspects.1.
    Being responsible for one???s online behavior is a logical extension to the rules that apply in real life. Aren???t we all responsible for our actions in real life? Don???t we pay for our mistakes and get rewarded for good things that we do? I don???t see a problem there. Yes, online perceptions of users will matter in real life. That???s a fact and all youngsters have to live with it!2.
    Anonymity – boon or bane? I totally agree that anonymity will be used by many to avoid responsibility for errant online behavior, as perceptions they carry online don???t really matter to them. However, I also know a lot of users who, despite being anonymous, come across as the most reasonable and knowledgeable people. I follow several of them! Do their perceptions matter to me? Yes, they do, as they are more often very learned, well placed people who do not wish their online life to interfere with their work life. Only thing is, we need to follow the behavior of these anonymous users more closely initially, before we attach weight to their perceptions!Wonderful arguments that made me think hard!

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