So we checked out this Twitter infographic on The Drum’s website, which says that 67% of mobile users follow brands on Twitter.
Our response is, is that really that high? You’d think that almost every user would follow at least one brand, whether it be @Topshop, @redbull, @Sharpie, @Instagram or @DisneyPixar.
Many of us follow brands because we like to believe that rather than us sharing their philosophies, values, styles and humour, they instead share ours. It’s their job to connect with us, and when they achieve this, we then engage with them. In this respect, whether or not they make an extra sale as a result is academic.
By following a brand, we’re fed things that we can relate to; from which we can take inspiration; or at the very least, which make us go “ooh”, “wow” and “LOL”. Most of us have brands that we hold dear, whether we admit it to the world or not, and though we won’t necessarily follow them all on Twitter, chances are that we’ll turn at least one follow button blue.
Having said that, here at Force-7 we do a lot of research ourselves, and it’s highly likely that when Twitter/Compete asked users if they followed brands, many would have answered no without really thinking about it. After all, @Oreo and @innocentdrinks do such good jobs of making themselves seem like friends rather than companies that you may forget you’re actually interacting with brands, and big ones at that!
Also, the term “following brands” can have negative associations, as if the Twitter user is a corporate puppet, prepared to have time and money squeezed out of them until there’s nothing left. As a result, they may very well say that they don’t follow any brands, when the reality is far removed from such abstinence.
In the end, we can all choose which brands we like and which we don’t, as well as the course of action (if any) that we take as a result; but it doesn’t mean that we have to tell the whole truth when it comes to market research, or even realise it ourselves without trawling through the list of those we’re following.
It would be interesting to know exactly what percentage of Twitter users follow brands, but this would require the publishing of comprehensive real-time metrics. That probably won’t happen just yet; perhaps we’re being a bit too @bbuk about the whole thing?