The top 10 most influential FTSE brands on Twitter

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Some time ago I did a little research into which companies from the FTSE 100 index could be found on Twitter, and in this post I want to take a closer look at which of those brands are the most influential. I also wanted to know what makes those brands more influential than others, and if there’s anything we can learn from them.

Here are the top 10 brands, and I’ll put the full list at the end of the post (BT and BA each have two profiles at the top of the chart, so there are 12 in total):

Klout Followers
Sainsbury’s 66 6,837
BT Care 60 6,359
Vodafone 47 13,663
Experian Hitwise 44 9,086
Marks & Spencer 43 9,721
Carnival Cruise 41 15,943
BT Tradespace 37 3,202
Burberry 37 24,120
British Airways US 34 42,246
British Airways UK 34 17,293
ARM Community 32 1,665
AstraZeneca US 30 3,023

To measure influence I’ve used Klout, a useful tool which is rapidly becoming the industry standard for benchmarking influence on Twitter. Klout calculates a 0-100 influence score from a wide range of factors, such as the total size of your network (not just followers), how widely you get retweeted, and how much you engage with others.

For the purposes of this post I’ve focused only on Twitter profiles which are intended to officially represent the brands. While there are 94 profiles in total, the number of brands listed is much lower since several brands such as ARM and Tesco have multiple accounts for different lines of business.

What can we learn from these results?

The most obvious point is that being influential on Twitter is not just a matter of getting as many followers as possible; Sainbury’s is far more influential than many of the brands which have up to six times as many followers.

If it’s not already obvious, using follower numbers as your key metric for measuring the success of your Twitter activity is a complete waste of time. It’s easy to drum up several thousand followers if you really want to, but unless they’re interested and engaged with what you’re saying, they count for very little.

We can also learn a lot by looking at how the top five brands use Twitter:

Sainsbury’s

Employs an informal, conversational tone. Avoids tweeting dry marketing messages. Runs competitions, tweets step by step recipe instructions, special offers, asks questions, drives discussion.

BT Care

This customer service profile is used to respond directly to Twitter users who are having problems with their BT product. The tone is helpful, practical and, again, very informal and chatty.

Vodafone

The Vodafone Web Relation Team use this profile to respond directly to comments and questions from Twitter users, as well as sharing news updates. The team’s photos and names are displayed on the page, and when tweeting they show their own personalities rather than staying rigidly on message.

Experian Hitwise

The tweets are all posted by research director, Robin Goad, who adds personal comments and off-topic discussion to regular updates about the brand’s research findings.

Marks & Spencer

Although M&S tweets as a brand, rather than named individuals, it still employs an informal style, engaging in chit-chat with consumers and provoking conversations as well as sharing news about special offers and new product information.

There are some clear trends here. These brands all adopt an informal and conversational tone, they make an effort to drive discussions with their followers and they go beyond simply pushing out dry marketing messages. Look at some of the brands at the bottom of the influence chart and you’ll see a marked difference in their approach.

Obviously having a lot of followers is helpful, but the real way to increase your influence on Twitter is to get followers who are genuinely interested in your brand, post content that they will find relevant, and make the effort to interact with them rather than simply pushing messages out at them. Rocket science, it ain’t!

If you’ve got any further thoughts on what the brands at the top of the chart are doing better than those at the bottom, let us know in the comments section.

Here’s the full list:

Klout Followers
Sainsbury’s 66 6,837
BT Care 60 6,359
Vodafone 47 13,663
Experian Hitwise 44 9,086
Marks & Spencer 43 9,721
Carnival Cruise 41 15,943
BT Tradespace 37 3,202
Burberry 37 24,120
British Airways US 34 42,246
British Airways UK 34 17,293
ARM Community 32 1,665
AstraZeneca US 30 3,023
WPP 30 8,112
BT Viewpoint 29 1,386
BT Business 28 2,030
Experian Hitwise US 28 9,907
AstraZeneca Global 26 2,101
Experian Simmons 24 336
Sage UK 23 3,529
ARM Mobile 22 446
B&Q (Kingfisher) 22 768
Experian Hitwise APAC 21 2,866
HSBC 100 Thoughts 21 701
Capita Symonds 20 1,221
United Utilities 20 377
ScrewFix (Kingfisher) 18 974
Autonomy (Japan) 17 100
BAE Systems 17 1,010
Barclays Stockbrokers 17 548
First Direct (HSBC) 17 1,091
Reckit Benckiser 17 1,772
Sainsbury’s Corporate 17 404
Intertek Sustainability 15 2,645
Thomas Cook 15 3,978
ARM Embedded 14 842
BT Insight Ideas 14 1,940
Vodafone Corporate 14 4,085
Barclaycard Press Office 13 638
Capita Education 13 125
Experiean US 13 949
HSBC Expat Explorer 13 661
Tesco Online 13 165
Tesco Clothing 12 1,381
Barclays Wealth 11 1,820
Investex 11 136
ARM Mali 10 256
Experian Data Analytics 10 281
Intertek Systems Certification 10 153
Rio Tinto 10 1,590
Scottish & Southern Energy 10 357
Tesco Entertainment 10 834
Experian QAS UK 9 354
BT Managed Security Solutions 8 789
BT Vision 8 811
BT OpenZone 8 313
Barclays Live 8 89
Experian QAS AUS 8 563
HSBC Bank Cab 8 98
Severn Trent Water 8 228
SABMiller 7 1,063
Tesco Diets 7 926
Barclaycard Unwind 6 933
Barclays Wealth Insights 6 535
GlaxoSmithKline US 6 4,174
Admiral 5 43
ARM Low Power 5 178
ARM Keil Tools 5 258
Aviva UK 5 403
Aviva Ireland 5 133
BT Cloud 5 846
BT Expedite 5 194
Capita Revenues & Benefits 5 89
Capita Conferences 5 669
Capita Learning 5 220
Capita Total Document Solutions 5 282
Capita Housing 5 113
Experian UK 5 332
Experian Hitwise Canada 5 356
Experian CheetahMail Global 5 1,080
Experian CheetahMail UK 5 377
Experian Market Services 5 457
Intertek ETL Mark 5 310
Invensys Operations Management 5 560
Invensys Wonderware 5 384
Legal & General IFA 5 187
Reed Elseview 5 158
RBS Economics 5 574
Tesco Football 5 109
TUI Travel 5 959
Unilever 5 545
Whitbread 5 382
Smith & Nephew 4 180
Aggreko 0 103