You might have seen a report floating around last month about the top 25 engaged brands on twitter. The study looked at how brands cultivate relationships with influencers, customers and advocates on Twitter. Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, using the Inifinigraph engagement platform's algorithm, helped to identify the top performing brands. The study gleaned some surprising and counter-intuitive insights about brand engagement on Twitter. I had the opportunity to talk with Nestivity's Founder and President Henry Min about the study. He gave me some words of wisdom about the motivations behind the study, what he found surprising about it, and his own recommendations for brands.
What was the motivation for commissioning the study?
There are a couple of reasons why we felt compelled to launch this study. As we started to see the top 25 brands -- based on Dr. Natalie's algorithm -- we noticed some very different organizations participating. From National Geographic to WWE to CNN to Arsenal (sports) -- it's not one specific type of company. Everyone is interested in how to use twitter. It created a lot of conversation. We want people to learn from the study with the hope that they can improve their own outreach. We are a software provider building for twitter--we want to help brands get more out of their efforts on twitter.
What was a surprising finding in the overall study?
What surprised me was the follower aspect -- people are very focused on followers. When you look at the infographic, the top 25 brands have a million followers and above, but so do 70 percent of the least engaged. It's not just about the total number of followers. Everyone can have a million but that still puts you at the bottom half, not the top half.
The research also showed success is about the frequency with which you use twitter. That includes when you're tweeting, how often you're tweeting and what time of day. Based on this study, Wednesday afternoons between 2-5 p.m. PT is when the tweets get the most eyeballs. It's not rapid fire -- the top 10 brands post every six to 20 minutes but so did the bottom half of the list. Whether you're leveraging photos or videos -- with twitter anything is possible. Twitter is the most innovative company. The Vine app is also really wonderful to bring to life the content.
Why were the top brands entertainment brands?
From my perspective it doesn't surprise me that for the top companies that made the list, their brand represents something. The reason they're making the top 25 list [is because] they understand the arc of storytelling. They understand twitter as an engagement tool. Those stories allow followers to connect with the brand. Storytelling is how to bring your product to life to connect with your customers. NASA is a great example -- they don't talk about their space shuttle -- it's not about the technology behind the mars rover -- but how they are pushing mankind forward. There's nothing about the technology of what they do.
What is your one recommendation for brands that are not seeing results?
This study is by no means the end all be all. It is one look into how brands are doing it. We can start the conversation about why this is meaningful. It goes back to engagement. There's a lot more work to be done. This list highlights the brands that are doing it well. They're doing it in a great way because their audience feels connected via the stories and content. The next phase in the opportunity is to use the most powerful social communication channel as a two-way channel. There's more to it than simply being used as a broadcast channel. To create dialogue -- your followers aren't just following as a passive audience. They're evolving as active brand participants.
You can follow Henry Min on twitter @HenryMin