The top 10 most influential FTSE brands on Twitter

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 […]

Posted on June 21, 2010 by Lance Concannon author avatar

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):

KloutFollowers
Sainsbury’s666,837
BT Care606,359
Vodafone4713,663
Experian Hitwise449,086
Marks & Spencer439,721
Carnival Cruise4115,943
BT Tradespace373,202
Burberry3724,120
British Airways US3442,246
British Airways UK3417,293
ARM Community321,665
AstraZeneca US303,023

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:

KloutFollowers
Sainsbury’s666,837
BT Care606,359
Vodafone4713,663
Experian Hitwise449,086
Marks & Spencer439,721
Carnival Cruise4115,943
BT Tradespace373,202
Burberry3724,120
British Airways US3442,246
British Airways UK3417,293
ARM Community321,665
AstraZeneca US303,023
WPP308,112
BT Viewpoint291,386
BT Business282,030
Experian Hitwise US289,907
AstraZeneca Global262,101
Experian Simmons24336
Sage UK233,529
ARM Mobile22446
B&Q (Kingfisher)22768
Experian Hitwise APAC212,866
HSBC 100 Thoughts21701
Capita Symonds201,221
United Utilities20377
ScrewFix (Kingfisher)18974
Autonomy (Japan)17100
BAE Systems171,010
Barclays Stockbrokers17548
First Direct (HSBC)171,091
Reckit Benckiser171,772
Sainsbury’s Corporate17404
Intertek Sustainability152,645
Thomas Cook153,978
ARM Embedded14842
BT Insight Ideas141,940
Vodafone Corporate144,085
Barclaycard Press Office13638
Capita Education13125
Experiean US13949
HSBC Expat Explorer13661
Tesco Online13165
Tesco Clothing121,381
Barclays Wealth111,820
Investex11136
ARM Mali10256
Experian Data Analytics10281
Intertek Systems Certification10153
Rio Tinto101,590
Scottish & Southern Energy10357
Tesco Entertainment 10834
Experian QAS UK9354
BT Managed Security Solutions8789
BT Vision8811
BT OpenZone8313
Barclays Live889
Experian QAS AUS8563
HSBC Bank Cab898
Severn Trent Water8228
SABMiller71,063
Tesco Diets7926
Barclaycard Unwind6933
Barclays Wealth Insights6535
GlaxoSmithKline US64,174
Admiral 543
ARM Low Power5178
ARM Keil Tools5258
Aviva UK5403
Aviva Ireland5133
BT Cloud5846
BT Expedite5194
Capita Revenues & Benefits589
Capita Conferences5669
Capita Learning5220
Capita Total Document Solutions5282
Capita Housing5113
Experian UK5332
Experian Hitwise Canada5356
Experian CheetahMail Global51,080
Experian CheetahMail UK5377
Experian Market Services5457
Intertek ETL Mark5310
Invensys Operations Management5560
Invensys Wonderware5384
Legal & General IFA5187
Reed Elseview5158
RBS Economics5574
Tesco Football5109
TUI Travel5959
Unilever5545
Whitbread5382
Smith & Nephew4180
Aggreko0103
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