There have been interesting studies about business Twitter accounts and government Twitter accounts, but the Pew Research Center has undertaken some serious research on the Twitter behavior of individuals.
First, only 22% of American adults use Twitter as individuals, and of those only 10% are responsible for 80% of the tweets. The includes retweets. So next time you’re in a room with 100 Americans, just about two of them are active on Twitter as individuals, and neither of them tweets often enough to be seen by the other.
In fact, both of them probably tweet twice a month and have just 25 followers.
They’re probably both women.
Who’s really using Twitter?
Pew Research also determined that some two thirds of links to popular websites are posted by bots. The definitions of popular websites and bots make it possible that this number does not include your pre-scheduled links to blog posts, but it’s not completely clear what kind of activity is being described. It is clear that an even smaller proportion of bots is responsible for all that posting than the small proportion of people tweeting.
So when you tweet something, how likely is it that your audience is really out there following you and enjoying your tweets?
In other words, is it worth using Twitter for your organization?
The numbers may be surprisingly small, but 22% of Americans is still a large number. What’s more, the average Twitter user follows 89 accounts –a lot more than the number that follows the average Twitter user.
What’s more, you can take a glass half full approach by noticing that the Twitterverse is a quieter place than you might have thought, at least in its social aspect. If you can make connections instead of just linking to your website (do that too, of course), then you might be able to stand out more easily than you would expect.
So don’t give up yet.
Use your data
As always, it makes sense to use your own data. Ask questions like these:
- How many people Like or Retweet your tweets?
- How many click through links to your website?
- What proportion of your Twitter traffic converts at your website?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you need to make sure that you are collecting this data. Generalizations are handy for creating hypotheses, but not necessarily for deciding how to allocate your resources.
If you’re a B2B organization, remember that the study described above did not look at business accounts at all.
If you need help capturing or analyzing the answers to those questions, we’ll be happy to help. Contact us today. We can help you get actionable insights and turn them into effective strategy.