Twitter is a brave new world for many brands as they explore how to maximize their efforts, connect with customers and build communities. There are as many different Twitter strategies out there as there are brands, but one thing is consistent in all of them: engagement is the key.
Engagement helps brands build relationships with their customers, encourage participation from influencers, and foster advocates to amplify their message. And while it’s easy to talk about “engagement” and “community building” on Twitter, it’s a lot harder to actually do these things. A case in point: Popular brands like @JetBlue, @AmericanExpress and @WholeFoods each have more than one million followers – yet, according to our research, there is surprisingly little engagement around these otherwise active handles.
All too often we see brands using Twitter to spout dozens of messages each day, but these same brands offer no replies to customer questions, retweets of interesting comments and ideas, or thoughtful conversation-starters to promote discussion among their followers. In fact, engagement is so lacking globally on Twitter that over 73 percent of tweets directed to the top retail brands on Twitter go unanswered. There are thousands of consumers right now looking to interact with their favorite brands, but getting no response.
Most brands have fallen into the trap of treating Twitter like a vestige of the old way of doing things: broadcasting messages and expecting to influence customers with little to no community-building efforts. This view of Twitter as a one-way communication tool severely limits quality interactions between brands and their customers, and is a short-sighted use of an inherently interactive communication channel.
Where is all the engagement?
Despite the fact that the majority of brands appear to be allowing their Twitter communities to languish, all is not hopeless. There are some amazing examples of brands who have worked hard to foster relationships with their followers.
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