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Twitter users three times more likely to impact brands online

22 September 2010 | social media statistics,social-media | 1 Comment Twitter users three times more likely to impact brands online

Recently, ExactTarget released a study about the influence of Twitter users on brands that has my brain spinning. We’ve advocated for effective uses of social networking sites like Twitter that meet our clients’ goals and while some predict the death of Twitter or a decline in use, this study shows that consumers active on Twitter are three times more likely to impact a brand’s online reputation than the average consumer.

“Consumers active on Twitter are clearly the most influential online,” said Morgan Stewart, principal, ExactTarget’s research and education group. “What happens on Twitter doesn’t stay on Twitter. While the number of active Twitter users is less than Facebook or email, the concentration of highly engaged and influential content creators is unrivaled–it’s become the gathering place for content creators whose influence spills over into every other corner of the internet.”

This survey of over 1,500 consumers identified top motivations for following brands with the leading reason being to actually get information from the brand they are connecting with. Companies employing high school interns to tweet “lolz, our brand rocks, yo” over and over will surely flop because a true consumer seeking information needs to connect with someone authorized to not only make decisions about disseminating information properly and in accordance to your corporate culture but needs to be able to manage crises and have instant access to everyone in the C-suite.

The study reinforces what we’ve been blogging about for years- consumers on Twitter and social networks have high expectations when interacting with brands online. Signing up for a Twitter account, slapping up a sexy background and syndicating your press releases to the account is not a social media strategy (unless you count colossal failure a strategy).

Our own studies show that active Twitter users are among the more invested in web properties and are likely to evangelize as well as criticize at a more rapid and vocal rate than average consumers.

Key results of the study:

  • 72% of Twitter users blog at least monthly
  • 70% comment on blogs
  • 61% write at least one product review monthly
  • 61% comment on news sites
  • Daily Twitter users are six times more likely to publish articles, five times more likely to post blogs, seven times more likely to post to Wikis and three times more likely to post product reviews at least monthly compared to non-Twitter users

Twitter users are well informed and use the platform not just to be social but to garner information. They push their findings out onto their other networks. If your company is present effectively, a Twitter user should be able to connect with something you tweet- for example “we just got our first shipment of the fall line” should elicit responses such as “ooh when can we see it?” or “do you have pics?” or “I’ve been waiting forever!” or a simple retweet. If your Twitter account is a megaphone and lacks interaction however, you’ll hear crickets because people are not connected. If they can’t see behind the scenes of your company, they’ll have nothing to blog about regarding your brand and they won’t have a reason to interact.

  • 23% of online consumers read Twitter updates at least monthly
  • 11% of online consumers read Twitter updates, but do not have a Twitter account themselves
  • 20% of consumers indicate they have followed a brand in order to interact with the company — more than become email subscribers or Facebook fans for the sake of interaction.

There is a misconception that the Twitter community is made up of Twitter users. As you see above, there is a segment (that I would argue is growing) of people that are simply referring to Twitter accounts to garner information, not necessarily to be social with or even to connect with. Twitter accounts show up in Google results, so we believe this behavior will rise with time. But the golden egg listed above is the third line- more people are seeking interaction on Twitter than via Facebook or email. For the few brands that can actually be personable and execute an effective Twitter strategy, there is a lot of market share to be grabbed up here!

  • Men are more than twice as likely as women to follow brands on Twitter to interact with the company (29 percent compared to 13 percent)

This result is a clear indicator that before even opening the lid to your corporate laptop, you must know your target demographic. Before you set a strategy in motion, you must know who you’re reaching and what your goals are. If you simply jump on Twitter in hopes of striking it rich, you’re in for disappointment. Now, this stat doesn’t clearly indicate why there is such a disparity- it could be that men are more likely to follow anyone that follows them or that women are (which has been proven) more socially minded on Twitter, so they are not looking to interact with a logo. Again, knowing your demo is critical.

The bottom line is that Twitter offers a community of users that embrace brands rather than balk them and opportunities for branding, customer service management, sales and more are alive on Twitter despite the skepticism toward the platform. We’re no longer in a stage of contemplation as to whether or not Twitter “works.” It does. But the good news for you is that it is an easily abused platform with the majority of brands failing horribly. There is market share to be grabbed up.

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1 Comment for this entry

  • Tim McDonald
    September 26th, 2010 on 8:58 am

    Very interesting stats. I find that the Twitter community is not just people on Twitter to be so true. As social become even more prevalent on search results, this segment will only continue to grow. Are all the results shown from the Exact Target study, or are any of them from the studies you’ve done? So many thoughts after reading this.

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