Any companies engaged with Twitter? I found two

Any companies engaged with Twitter? I found two

by danperry on March 28, 2008

in twitter

There are a number of companies using Twitter, but there’s a difference between using Twitter, and actually being an engaged member of the Twitter community. Let’s take a closer look at some of data, and see what we can find.

For each company noted in the original post, I’ve collected the following 6 points of data:

  • Name of Company and Twitter URL
  • Number of Followers (in general terms, the higher the better)
  • Number of people following (the higher, the more engaged, although that’s up for debate)
  • Date of most recent tweet (Are they currently engaged?)
  • Date of 20th tweet (the homepage of each site shows the last 20 tweets. The farther back the date, the less they are updating, thus the less they’re engaged.)
  • Notes

I’ve focused on 6 non-media companies using Twitter. There may be more, and I apologize if I left anyone out.

October, 2007
April 2, 2007
Valiant effort, but it’s been abandoned. Shame, considering they have such a large, and seemingly still loyal audience.

Macworld Magazine
March 25, 2008
February 15, 2008
Seems like a really good mix. Not automatically following everyone, but definitely following a group. Semi-frequent, relevant updates (20 in the last 5 1/2 weeks). Tweets include info on reviews, events, and homepage design tweaks. Very impressive.

March 27, 2008
March 5, 2008
Frequent tweets are good to see. Like that they’re answering questions of users. Most of the latest 20 tweets are responses to questions (more legroom, etc.) Also, a shout out to The Guardian for a positive comment on the airline. Great mix.

Forrester Research
March 22, 2008
November 16, 2007
Started off slow, but they’ve posted 5 times in the past week, so they’re gaining steam. In addition, most of the first 15 posts included inbound links, while the most recent 5 are much more personal. Willing to bet that Jeremiah Owyang had a chat with the official Twitterer!

SouthWest Air
March 27, 2008
January 24, 2008
All 20 tweets are pointing inwards, with no @replys, which tells me they’re not comfortable with the tool yet, but at least they’re trying. Also, they’re following JetBlue. Competitive Intelligence? I’m guessing yes. Good for them; JetBlue is doing a lot of things right as far as Twitter is concerned.

Apple Inc.
January 28, 2008
June 11, 2007
Again, sort of a shame. No posts in two months, and most of the latest 20 are for products. Oddly, none of the tweets have links that point either in or outbound. For such a strong marketing company, I’m left less than thrilled.

Of the six reviewed, I’m most impressed with JetBlue and MacWorld Magazine.

I like JetBlue mainly because they’ve succeeded where a lot of companies don’t; they’re Twitter “persona” has a personality. By reading the tweets, I can almost picture the person typing them. With multiple decision-makers and multiple departments, that’s tough to do. Congrats.

MacWorld is a close second. If they would increase their tweets, but keep the same “feel”, they’d be giving JetBlue a run for their money.

What do you think? How should a company convey themselves via Twitter? Looking forward to your comments.

If you like this post you might enjoy following me on Twitter:

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeremiah Owyang March 28, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Many of our analysts are using Twitter at Forrester, not just the official @forrester screen name.


Stewart Madeer March 28, 2008 at 10:22 pm

Somehow I doubt the “appleinc” on Twitter is actually Apple. Someone could have easily set that up, and the tweets seem a little too amateurish to be from Apple PR.

I agree JetBlue is doing a great job with Twitter – they’re engaging well with customers and tweeting useful flight and service info. Excellent way to build loyalty.


danperry March 28, 2008 at 10:37 pm

@Stewart Good point, and it could be true; I really don’t know. I will say that, considering Apple is pretty strong in their other forms of marketing, they could be a great fit for Twitter.

Anoop March 29, 2008 at 6:50 pm

Thanks for a good post, Dan.

I wonder how long would it take (if ever) before Twitter becomes compelling enough for marketers for reach purposes. If the total universe of all active twitter users in US is less than 0.5M, how many can a company hope to reach? Debate on size –

Granted that if done right, only the most relevant and targeted audience would follow (in twitter sense) your messages but one must question if it’s prudent to reallocate marketing resources from other larger reach mediums.

For market research purposes, as a complement to focus groups, it has a lot of potential for a sharp and creative market researcher to extract narrative insights for almost no expense. Jeremiah did a great job with SuperBowl Ad tracking….:-)

Companies that already blog can use the same resources to dip their toes into micro-blogging too. However, if web content generation is not core to their business model it will be difficult to justify a lot of resources to such initiatives…but then, it may not need a lot of resources beyond talent to make an impact.

Mark March 30, 2008 at 8:41 am

I think it’s important to factor in the type of customer that would follow a companies Twitter feed. One would have to assume that anyone taking the time to regularly check a companies feed is extremely loyal and extremely likely to bite on any marketing.

Quality, not quantity. Just a thought.

danperry March 29, 2008 at 11:25 pm

@Anoop: I agree that there shouldn’t be a lot of resources dedicated to this type of initiative. The reality is that it doesn’t take that many resources, and it doesn’t take that many resources to do it right. The online and social aptitude of the individual running the account is the key. If it takes a group effort (PR, marketing, Product, etc.) it’s almost guaranteed to fail, shining a negative light on the company.

In addition, there are vast differences in actually being engaged, and just adding links to your own content. From what I’ve seen above, more of the latter than the former. Time will tell. Thanks for the well-thought out comment.

Chris March 31, 2008 at 7:20 pm

Hi, I work for Smarter Travel Media and we’re just getting started with three of our brands on twitter: @SmarterTravel, @BookingBuddy, and @SeatGuru.

We’re still in the experimentation phase and we can learn from your analysis. Thanks!

Chinavasion April 1, 2008 at 3:07 pm

This is a great idea you gave us! We’re going to treat Twitter like a mini press release area and see if customers find it useful.

Colonel Tribune April 8, 2008 at 11:55 pm

What about the Chicago Tribune’s persona, yours truly? I happen to be pretty spiffy, you know.

danperry April 9, 2008 at 12:27 am

@ColonelTribune I didn’t include media companies, mainly because they aren’t really “engaged” by definition. I would expect them to be feeding me updated news on a regular basis. Not quite engaged, but serving their purpose. That’s why you don’t see any above.

Colonel Tribune May 16, 2008 at 9:16 am

Good point, Dan.

John December 20, 2008 at 2:03 am

Does anyone have a more comprehensive list of companies using Twitter?

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