A recent report from Weber Shandwick, a New York-based public relations firm, shows that many of the Fortune 100 companies are still trying to figure out the Twitter phenomenon taking over the planet. However, they are going to need to get onboard soon if they want to keep up with the world. The social-networking site has been very useful for companies by giving customers another way to stay in contact with their business.
Surprisingly, 27 of the 100 companies had never even touched Twitter, while the other 73 companies had created a total of 540 Twitter accounts for various departments within their company. While that seems like a lot of accounts, the report found that only 32% showed personality on their profile along with well-designed backgrounds in addition to names and/or photos of those who posted tweets.
Four percent of the accounts were no longer used and was due to either the account being “set up specifically for an event that had since ended or the account was simply abandoned. “Eleven percent of the accounts were quiet, and were categorized as placeholders to prevent what is known as “brand-jacking.” The term comes from companies creating an account so that no one else will take the account. This can cause confusion and potentially damage company reputations. This shows that companies realize the important of Twitter, but aren’t necessarily using it. The remaining 53 percent would post, but with no personality, and only posting company news or product information.
One of the important factors that plays a part in customer experience on social media sites is engagement from the company through the sites. Successful companies engage in conversations with their customers with the “@” sign, or retweeting (RT) and covering certain concerns. The graph below shows both the number of followers the companies have, along with the number of tweets they have.
“Half of [the top 100 fortune companies] accounts had fewer than 500 followers, while more than half did not meet engagement metrics that were analyzed in Twitalyzer (e.g.numbers of links, hashtags, references and retweets). As well, three-quarters (76 percent) of those accounts posted fewer than 500 tweets. This indicates either a lack of engagement by many companies with their followers, or newly established accounts that haven’t yet started using the platform to build relationships.”
And finally, the survey looked at what purpose the Twitter accounts served. Close to a quarter used their accounts most specifically for branding awareness, while another quarter used Twitter to share the latest news from within the company.
The report concluded that for the majority of Fortune 100 companies, Twitter remains a missed opportunity. Many of their Twitter accounts, examined by Weber Shandwick, did not appear to listen to or engage with their readers, instead offering a one-way broadcast of press releases, company blog posts and event information.”
The company suggests that in order “to maximize the benefits of Twitter, companies should offer opinions and encourage discussions, reach out to their communities of customers and advocates, build relationships with new customers and look for untapped supporters.”