Further proof that you need Twitter to build your brand

The talented team at Brandwatch in the UK have produced a very useful report on Twitter usage by global brands. This report should be read by marketing departments and CEOs. You can read the full report here but some of the findings are listed below:

1) 253 companies, primarily from the US and UK were analysed for the report.
2) Only 2.4% of the companies surveyed did not use Twitter at all
3) 97% of major brands used Twitter in 2013, up from 62% in 2011.
4) It was noted that Apple does not use Twitter or any other social media. Interestingly, Apple’s share price has tumbled to as low as US$400 earlier this year, down from US$700 in September 2012. Of course I’m not blaming that on the fact they don’t use Twitter however it does mean there will be some distance between the brand and customers.
5) Brands use Twitter for both broadcast and engagement purposes but most of them acknowledge that Twitter is best utilized as a two-way channel.
6) 145 brands surveyed (over half) tweet a minimum of 30 times per week.
7) 25% of Brands use Twitter solely as a broadcast channel.
8) 63% of Brands have multiple accounts. Using one for company news and another for customer service was a common example of multiple accounts.
9) Dell has 44 Twitter accounts.
10) Weekends are the best time to reach customers on Twitter. (I don’t think that applies to Asia). However a little research into what your audience prefers goes a long way to successful engagement.
11) Tweets with media (a photo/video) get 3 to 4 times more engagement than those without.
12) The average size of a UK and US Twitter team is 4 people.
13) The maximum number of tweets in a week for the US was 2,500 tweets, compared with 113 tweets in the UK.
14) The Twitter web interface is the most popular platform for tweeting.
15) 20% of the top 100 global brands use HootSuite.

What can Asian firms learn from this data?

For a start, if your firm is not on Twitter, it needs to be. Twitter won’t go away! British and American firms have an average of 4 people on their Twitter team. Most Asian firms don’t even have a community manager, let alone a social team. This needs to change.

Asian firms can use Twitter to engage customers more effectively, deal with issues and retain customers. It is far more effective and less expensive than attempting to use acquisition marketing across traditional channels to retain existing, unhappy or vulnerable customers.

Twitter can be an effective and inexpensive way to drive sales. Low cost airlines in the US generally tweet special offers to their followers before making them available. The cost for the tweet is minimal and its effectiveness can be easily measured.

Asian firms can be notoriously opaque and secretive. Twitter forces firms to become more open and transparent, encouraging trust.

In Asia we tend to follow the US and Europe in many things, especially in marketing. This report gives Asian firms the data needed to support their marketing strategy going forward.

Twitter users increasingly influential

Twitter estimates that there are 26 million monthly Twitter users online in 2010. This is not that significant compared with the 500 million using Facebook.

But it’s not the numbers that matter, it’s the quality of the users that count. Twitter users are far more influential than other online users. In fact, a recent study by ExactTarget considers Twitter users to be the most influential online.

Quote “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.”

The study, conducted in April 2010 found that the main reason consumers follow brands they like on Twitter is to gather news and information about the company and its products and to learn about future sales and likely discounts. Interestingly the study found that brands are still not participating in conversations with followers, reducing the opportunity for the brands to build relationships with consumers that cannot be duplicated, like the sales and discounts.

Reasons for this might be because brands are seeking social media advice from advertising agencies who prefer to recommend traditional broadcasting of messages from the brand rather than engagement with consumers that gives more responsibility for the brands development to the consumer.