Twitter is the Least-Liked Social Media Brand?

Twitter apparently doesn’t make the cut when it comes to brand loyalty. A new study from Brand Keys paints a picture of social media being dominated by, of course, Facebook, but also MySpace and Flickr. And Twitter is left on the sidelines. We take a close look at their measurements, and exactly why Twitter ranked so low, below.

Out of all of the social media platforms out there, Brand Keys says Facebook is the leader in terms of loyal and engaged consumers. No surprise there, you might say. But going down the list of top five social media brands might offer up a shock: MySpace is in a solid second place.

Brand Keys only examined five social media platforms, and ranked them as following:

1. Facebook
2. MySpace
3. LinkedIn
4. Flickr
5. Twitter

As our sister site AllFacebook points out, most people would expect to see Twitter in second place, and MySpace in last – or not on the top five at all.

We are a little perplexed at Twitter’s abysmal placement on the list too.

MediaPost got an inside look at what factors went into this ranking, which might explain Twitter’s last-place status:

“[Robert] Passikoff [founder and president of Brand Keys], says Facebook is a dominant No 1, because it fulfills its users expectations about their own “self-image,” which is the No. 1 brand driver among online social networks, followed by “ease of connection,” “security and control” and overall “brand value.””

So, if these are the factors that Brand Keys used to measure Twitter against other social networks, it does make a little more sense that MySpace would rank above Twitter (though not much). MySpace definitely offers users more options to create a “self-image” than Twitter. And we imagine that people new to MySpace would find it easier to form new connections than new users on Twitter, who often complain about “not getting it” for weeks before they understand the follower/following dichotomy.

Still, Brand Keys claims that the brands that rank highest on their lists are “…the one[s] whose customers will demonstrate the highest levels of engagement and loyalty over the next 12 to 18 months.” It’s a stretch to say that MySpace users will demonstrate more loyalty and engagement than Twitter users over the next year, especially considering how engaged the power-users are on Twitter and MySpace’s slow decline.

However, perhaps Twitter ranks so low not because users are less willing to engage and be loyal to its brand, but because of the category in which Twitter appeared. I, like many in the space, have argued in the past that Twitter is not a social network, but is rather more of a social information network. It’s not about sharing what you did today so much as it is about sharing your thoughts, information, and insight about the day’s events – whether your own, related to your niche, or globally.

So, yes, I see how Twitter might rank low in terms of allowing people to create a “self-image” like other social networks facilitate. But I also argue that that is not Twitter’s main purpose. Brand loyalty to Twitter isn’t formed around your user profile – it is formed around the nodes of information that you have access to, as shared by those in your network.