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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):
|Marks & Spencer||43||9,721|
|British Airways US||34||42,246|
|British Airways UK||34||17,293|
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:
Employs an informal, conversational tone. Avoids tweeting dry marketing messages. Runs competitions, tweets step by step recipe instructions, special offers, asks questions, drives discussion.
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.
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.
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: