Is Twitter a Marketer’s Friend?

Social media marketing is by now a staple product line at ad agencies as well as internal marketing departments. People are hooked on social media, so if a brand wants to reach that audience it must join in the conversation (as seems to be the preferred line at the end of commercials these days). There is no doubt that social media is a great means of reaching your audience and immediately sharing information with an engaged audience.

It seems as if Facebook comes to mind immediately when social media marketing is brought up. It makes sense; there are 500 million users and a lot of interaction, so this platform is a must. But you might be wondering about Twitter. Twitter is huge, with over 100 million users, and it is featured in prominent news programs, but is it good for marketing? The answer is most likely that it depends. Specifically it depends on what you sell and how you will use Twitter to your advantage.

Facts, Figures, and Statistics

A lot of Twitter metrics have been released over the last few months with 2010 ending, so it makes sense to look at several organizations’ metrics.

Digital Surgeons

According to Digital Surgeons, only 25% of Twitter users follow a brand at all. The positive news is that of this portion of Twitter users, 67% will specifically purchase the brands that they follow over other brands. That means that when you get a Twitter follower, you are communicating with an attentive and loyal customer. Other interesting tidbits include the fact that by Digital Surgeons’ metrics (which we should all take with a grain of salt) most Twitter users (88%) earn less than $100k a year. This might mean that if you are a brand that sells products at premium prices, then Twitter might not be your platform. But don’t get too wrapped up in that figure, because 76% of Twitter users are either in college or have a college education.


It wouldn’t be prudent to ignore some of the facts that Twitter itself shares. They have a list of top trends in 2010 by category. Of the top ten technology trends, Twitter reports five trends that are specific products (mostly by Apple, along with one video game). Google Android and HTC made the list as well—not products, but still gold for anyone marketing those particular wares.

Under the “Movies” category, six of the top ten tweeted movies are geared towards kids. This can be interpreted as parents’ using Twitter to make recommendations to other parents. Think “I can’t believe I actually enjoyed Karate Kid” or similar statements. Remember that minors are the least prevalent age demographic on Twitter.

When it comes to sports, it was mostly individual athletes holding down the top ten spots, which could be useful to anyone who pays heavily tweeted athletes for endorsements or is looking for a new celebrity spokesperson.

What the Trend

What the Trend is an organization that tracks Twitter’s trending topics, then tries to delve into the data and clarify trends. For instance, Twitter reported Apple products as being five of the top ten technology trends, What the Trend lumps all of these products together and then states that Apple is the most tweeted-about company. There is definitely some usefulness to this extra bit of work. Of the top ten companies reported by What the Trend, eight are tec- based companies and only two, Uniqlo(fashion/clothing) and BBC (news media), exist outside of this industry. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to infer that techies would be more attracted to a tech-based platform like Twitter than others, but it still should be noted when putting together a marketing plan. When What the Trend broke down the top non-tech based companies the industries varied. Uniqlo and BBC took the top two spots but the rest of the list went as follows:

  • Lanvin-H&M-fashion
  • Capricho Magazine- print media (Brazil’s most popular teen magazine)
  • Nike- clothing and apparel
  • Four Loko- alcoholic beverages (keep in mind they got a lot of bad press so these weren’t all good tweets)
  • McDonald’s-restaurant
  • Air Tran/Southwest- airline
  • Cadbury-Kraft-food
  • TOMS Shoes- clothing and apparel

As you can see, all of these sets of metrics provide insight into who uses Twitter, which in turn allows marketers to use the platform more effectively. Keep in mind that Twitter “moves faster” than Facebook and many people use it for quick updates or information exchange. Twitter propels this by limiting your messages to 140 characters.

All in all, the best advice is to look at your products/services and see if they are relevant to the Twitter-sphere. You can try paying a popular Twitter personality to Tweet about you and then see what kind of response you get as a test run; it’s kind of a celebrity endorsement geared towards social media. You can also go all out and start a Twitter campaign–just make sure that you manage it correctly. With the right products and angle, you will likely find Twitter very effective.

For networking opportunities and the best information about marketing in the Tampa Bay area please visit the American Marketing Association of Tampa Bay online.


Ad Age

Digital Surgeons

Twitter-Year in Review

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