Oct 26, 2009

Have you Read Half a Million Tweets?

Probably not.  Even at the height of the live tweet feed #iranelection, I read only around 200 tweets a day, equaling a potential annual amount of 72,000 tweets.

However, Jim Jansen, associate professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST), did!
Assisted by a small team of two students along with Abdur Chowdhury, Twitter’s chief scientist, Jim Jansen analyzed 500,000 tweets to study the presence of brands on Twitter.

In the crossroads of marketing, sociology, and technology, social commerce is becoming a “red hot” subject of research and business.
The results of their study were published in the Journal of the American Society for Information Sciences and Technology.”

Confirming my post “The Twitter Paradox”, brands are often cited on Twitter.  With 20% of tweets being about or mentioning brands, Twitter is the quintessential word of mouth marketing platform.

Considering that there are 6 million people who use Twitter on a daily basis who tweet around two times a day, this equals 2.4 million tweets about brands.

Jansen adds:
“It may be right up there with e-mail in terms of communication impact.”

“Businesses use micro-communication for brand awareness, brand knowledge and customer relationship.  Personal use is all over the board.  A lot of the brand comments were positive.  There are some good products out there, or at least products that people are happy with.”

When one of the biggest hesitancies in using social networks by brands is the fear of “bad rap”, it is debatable whether adopting the use of social networks as communication tools is close and unavoidable.

In fact the results of the study by Jansen’s team are telling and can be broken down as follows:
  • Very positive (no criticism, buying recommended)……..29.8%
  • Positive (positive feedback, prevails over criticism)……30.8%
  • Balanced (positive status is mediocre or balanced)…….12%
  • Negative (globally negative or deceiving)……..15.7%
  • Entirely negative (no positive feedback, not recommended)……..6.5%
  • Neutral (no opinion, ask questions)…….5.2%
Brands need not worry because the percentage of negative tweets only account for 22.2% of the total.

Contrary to other marketing strategies which are based on the purchase of key words or the diffusion of emails, social marketing on networks is founded on the creation of conversations, the differentiating feature of the word of mouth strategy.

A challenge for all who think that it is only a question of money and that they would be running the risk of the networks being spammed, word of mouth works according to the relationship system that Jansen presents above.

The publication of a tweet can positively or negatively affect the image of a brand and marginally improve its notoriety.

The tweets circulation among followers and eventual retweets reinforce the confidence and satisfaction and generate loyalty or strength, which in turn shows in an immediate or future purchase. 

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