360i Finds Brands Aren’t Using Twitter to Converse

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twitter_smallADOTAS – In the wonderfully titled piece “Twitter, Twitter, Little Stars” on the rising role of the corporate social media director, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Felix Gillette notes that in one day Ford’s Scott Monty — considered a field dynamo by peers — tweeted 38 times about Ford on his personal account in addition to 12 times on the Ford general account, eight on the customer-service account, two on the FordDriveGreen account and once on the FordMustang account.

While the sheer volume is impressive (even if it is only 140 characters a shot), what’s most notable is that the majority were not offers or publicity retweets — they were conversations, real back-and-forth with consumers on Twitter.

That’s something many brands and marketers are missing, according to a six-month study tracking Twitter usage by digital marketing agency 360i. While 43% of all consumer tweets represent conversations between, only 16% of marketing tweets are actual dialogue with consumers. Even worse, only 1% of consumer tweets are conversations with brands.

“Twitter is a platform dominated by the voice of the consumer and consisting primarily of two-way conversations — marketers can be doing so much more to participate fully in this two-way medium,” said Sarah Hofstetter, 360i’s senior vice president of Emerging Media & Brand Strategy. “The real value for marketers who participate on Twitter is in creating an ongoing dialogue with consumers that enables brands to become a more meaningful part of people’s everyday lives.”

However, three out of four marketing tweets are focused on news or broadcasting information (offers, discounts). On the other side, 12% of consumer tweets mention a brand by name, and 43% are passing on news while 35% are relating a recent experience with the brand. Interestingly, only 7% of brand mentions fall in the negative category and 11% are positive. The overwhelming majority at 82% is informational or neutral.

Thus, the opportunity for engagement seems real enough, and something that most brands are missing.

“Ultimately, [Twitter] is the most personal of all the social networks,” Monty tells Bloomberg Businessweek. “It’s one-on-one communication in the public square. It gives a person the satisfaction of having interaction with a big company like Ford and of being listened to. And it also shows the public that we’re listening and that we get it.”

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