Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Brands on Twitter: 76% of Accounts Infrequent Users

Many Apply Traditional Marketing to Emerging Channel

from AdAge...

I often have a love-hate thing going with Twitter.

On one-hand it's a platform for the trivial. A time-suck. A platform to distract and, at the same time, isolate ourselves from subjects out of sync with our own world-view. On the other, it's a proven platform that carries incredible power to reshape how we learn, interact and share with communities online. For marketers and media-makers, it's hard to think of a recent innovation that's altered our landscape more than the simple 140 character platform. And for that I'm skewing to the love side of the spectrum.

Where do companies fit on the spectrum? Is it on the collective corporate radar? How is it being used? And in an age where advocacy carries the day, is it being used as a way to truly engage customers and other important stakeholders to the brand?

Our firm, Weber Shandwick, analyzed the Twitter phenomenon this fall, specifically into how Fortune 100 companies use it as a barometer to share with our clients.

The take-away: Most companies fail to realize Twitter's full potential as a market engagement platform. While 73% of Fortune 100 companies registered a total of 540 Twitter accounts, effectiveness based on level of activity, interaction and engagement were off the mark. Brand-squatted accounts, as reported last week in Ad Age, remains an issue for many companies. For those that are on board, many more are largely tepid accounts with limited activity and interactivity (76% of accounts tweet infrequently). Even more telling is how companies apply currently traditional marketing practices to this new media channel, including:

  • Twitter as a newsfeed: 26%
  • Twitter as brand-builder: 24%
  • Twitter as direct marketer/sales channel: 16%
  • Twitter as thought-leadership channel: 11%
  • Twitter as customer service channel: 9%
Clearly there is much work to be done to cultivate an engaging brand presence through Twitter. It starts with a clear, company wide-strategy for using the medium to its full advantage, then following through with consistent and meaningful presence that engages relevant communities of interest.

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