Twitter may be a hot marketing channel, but it’s consumers who dominate the landscape and set the tone on the microblogging service. According to the “Twitter & the Consumer-Marketer Dynamic” white paper from digital marketing agency 360i, more than 90% of tweets come from regular people, compared with just 8% from marketers.
A major goal for marketers on Twitter is to enlist the help of those regular people in the form of brand advocacy. Brands trying to take advantage of the earned media potential on Twitter should be trying to spur both discussion and syndication—or retweets—of their content.
The white paper found that three-quarters of marketers’ tweets consisted of general information or news content. Marketers spent just 16% of their 140-character messages conversing with consumers.
360i characterized this behavior as brands “talk[ing] at people—not with them.” Among consumers’ tweets, for example, 43% begin with the “@” character, indicating conversations. Marketers are more interested in pushing information out.
Other research suggests this strategy may be giving consumers what they want. According to MarketingSherpa, more than 60% of social followers said they followed companies for information about new products, features or services.
Sharing information is also consumers’ top motivation for talking about brands on Twitter. Informational tweets about companies are more than twice as common as those that share an opinion about brands.
Tweets about news or information also made up the largest proportion of retweets, at 38%; 34% of retweets were used to syndicate an opinion.
Marketers need syndication to boost the power of their own Twitter feeds through earned media, but they may be devoting attention to sharing informational content at the expense of more direct, conversational engagement with their customers.
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