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New Research: Topics That Get A Reaction

May 9th, 2014 by Michelle Bertino
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Facebook vs. Twitter – How Does Engagement Differ On Each?

Most of us create and share content on social media with the hope of getting a reaction. That Facebook post telling your friends about a great new restaurant down the street or that tweet about the score to tonight’s game, both have the same intention: strike a chord with your unique set of friends and followers. But how do you know your restaurant review will be helpful to your Facebook friends or that your Twitter followers will even care about the score of the game?

We were curious too, so we turned to the treasure trove of social data contained in the Klout Topics system. Klout Topics are derived from the social interactions of over 580 million people. Topics are uniquely assigned to each person based upon their interests and passions, and provide a good proxy for the areas that drive engagement on Twitter and Facebook. We found some data that confirmed commonly held beliefs, and also uncovered some surprising differences between the two networks.

It probably comes as no surprise to you that Entertainment and Lifestyle are the two most engaged topic areas on both Facebook and Twitter. In fact, the top 10 topics on each network are quite similar, with music and television ranking #1 and #2 on each network respectively.

Top 10 Topics

Moving beyond the top 10, things start to get interesting. We found that the topics people choose to engage with on Facebook and Twitter differ significantly. Given that over 60% of all engagement comes from topics beyond the top 10, these differences are meaningful. The graphs below show how the networks differ both including and excluding the top 10 topics.

Topic Engagement Including Top 10

Topic Engagement Excluding Top 10

Where Did The Data Surprise?

Digging into these differences, we found dozens of topics with surprisingly high variances between their rankings on Facebook and Twitter – proof that the two networks are not created equal when it comes to driving engagement. Here are some of the most surprising variances, and what they mean for you.

* Restaurants: Facebook 76, Twitter 112, Variance 36 - The food and beverage category sees much higher engagement on Facebook, so be sure to login and share your thoughts when you try that new neighborhood restaurant.
* Homework: Facebook 196, Twitter 98, Variance 98 - Posts about ‘homework’ see much higher engagement on Twitter. Perhaps those with homework, typically teenagers, are engaging more on Twitter than Facebook. We won’t draw conclusions, but this is another interesting data point in the ongoing debate about whether teens are leaving Facebook.
* Dogs: Facebook 23, Twitter 95, Variance 72; Cats: Facebook 52, Twitter 104, Variance 52 - We’re sorry to announce to all the cat lovers out there, but dog posts actually drive more engagement than your favorite cat meme on both networks. Time to get a puppy?
* Babies: Facebook 21, Twitter 66, Variance 45; Parenting: Facebook 22, Twitter 50, Variance 28 - Many people confess that they are not nearly as interested in seeing cute pictures of your baby as you are, but you can see from the rankings that anecdotes and photos about ‘babies’ and ‘parenting’ still get high engagement on Facebook.
* Customer Service: Facebook 197, Twitter 89, Variance 108 - So much for venting about a frustrating experience with a brand on Facebook. If you really want your complaints about a company to be heard, ‘customer service’ sees significantly more engagement on Twitter than on Facebook.

Another way to dig into the data was by looking at topics that we expected to be popular, but disappointed in their rankings. Despite their popularity around the water cooler, these topics had low engagement on Facebook and Twitter. Here are some of the topics that produced lower than expected engagement:

Low Engagement

* Despite the fervent media coverage and controversy surrounding Obamacare, health insurance didn’t crack the top 50 on either social network.
* When Facebook first launched, everyone had to have a college email address to be part of the social network. Back in 2005, parties must have been one of the most engaged topics. Flash forward to 2014 and you can see social networks are definitely not just for college students anymore.
* Although we use computers, tablets, and mobile phones to access social networks, we surprisingly don’t engage much with content about electronics on Facebook or Twitter.
* The wide appeal of Pinterest and it’s visual approach to lifestyle may have stolen conversations about hobbies away from Facebook and Twitter.
* With the popularity of music, you would expect concerts to have similar engagement. Not so. Engagement around concerts is significantly lower than expected on both networks.
* If businesses are looking to engage their customers, posting news about their business probably isn’t the right way to win hearts and minds. ‘Business News’ ranked extremely low on both networks.
* Despite the amazing rise of Tesla, electric cars haven’t received quite the warm welcome on social media as engagement is extremely low.

Influencers – How Are Some People Doing It Better?

The final way we looked at our data was by examining the topics that social media pros – the ones who have built their reputations to be known for what they love – are most engaged. To do this, we examined Klout Influencers, those with Klout scores above 50, to see whether they prefer Twitter or Facebook to drive engagement. The graph below lays out the differences.

Influencer Engagement

Opportunities – How Can Klout Help You?

Klout’s goal is to provide users with the tools they need to be great at social media. For some users, their social media goals may be attracting their first handful of followers and learning how to create engaging content. For others, this means increasing their online influence by establishing themselves as a true authority in the topics they are most passionate about.

Social Media 101
For users just getting started on social media the best topics to start with are the ones that drive the most engagement – topics like Music, Television, and other entertainment topics (see list above). These topics see high engagement across both Facebook and Twitter and are the topics most likely to have a positive impact on your social media efforts.

Advanced Social Media
Users who have mastered social media basics and are ready to really hone in on topics where they can have the greatest impact can look further down on the list for topics that have the greatest potential for growth in engagement. Topics like Crafts, Pizza, Architecture, and Cosmetics all rank well below the top 100 topics and others like Jazz, Poetry, Skiing, and Cybersecurity all rank well below 250. These topics have huge followings in the real world, and represent an opportunity to stand out online.

Top Low Topics

Where and When It Matters
People who drive social conversations know to post content when they will have the biggest impact – when their audience is online and most likely to engage. Klout provides the tools, online and in its mobile app, that allow you to schedule your posts so they can be delivered when people are actually listening. The scheduling tool recommends times based on when your audience is most active. By publishing at these times, you’re more likely to share the right message at the right time with the right people.

Klout's Scheduling Tool

We hope to help give you the tools and insight you need to share your passions, measure your impact, and grow your reputation. With this new data report and the tools Klout has built to discover and share great content, Klout provides consumers with everything they need to be as good at social media as they want to be.

 

Klout helps people be known for what they love.

The best way to have an impact online is to create and share great content that will strike a chord with your followers.

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Michelle Bertino

Marketing Associate at Klout
From Sequoia Capital to Klout, Michelle can't imagine life without working in technology. As a marketer at Klout, she focuses on social and community efforts. She's passionate about philanthropy, themed parties, and sweet tea.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 9th, 2014 at 7:00 am and is filed under measuring influence, social media, Understanding the Klout Score. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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