To be kept in the loop - what fans want from brands on Twitter


This morning I asked on Twitter "What is the one main reason why you follow brands"

Why do you follow brands on TwitterThese are the responses I received back

It's not just deals and special offers. People genuinely want to follow brands for news and information, conversations about products and services and to show their support.

When we look at Facebook the reasons are much the same. But they have changed since last year. In 2010 the main reason was discounts and promotions. In 2011 it's news and information

In November last year Social Media Marketing Forum reported on a Cone report

Cone found that people on average only followed 4.6 brands on so-called “new media” and, more importantly, that it’s not easy to get a loyal “follower” or “fan”, and certainly to keep him.

By far the most important reason to start following a brand, Cone found, with a whopping 77% of respondents, were…incentives. Indeed: discounts, freebies and promotions.

But the study also found that specials and deals don't keep people interested for that long. Brands must offer an experience that's more engaging than just broadcasting deals and special offers hour after hour.  Several of the tweets I received above are clear examples that people want conversations, to have fun and engage with the brands they use and love.

Penn Olson wrote about an ExactTarget report.

The top reason with 38% of the respondents stating that they wanted to “stay informed about the activities of a company”.

Going back to the Cone report from 2010 they also shared insights on why fans unfollow brands on Twitter

  • 58% - The company acted irresponsibly toward me or other consumers and I am no longer a fan.
  • 58% - The company over-communicates with me (i.e., too many messages, too much content, it sends spam)
  • 53% - The content the company provides is not relevant to me
  • 36% - The company doesn't communicate with or engage me enough (i.e., doesn't respond to me, content seldom refreshed, doesn't provide me with incentives, is boring)
  • 28% - The company censors the content I and/or others post on its channels (i.e., deletes negative comments, posts)


So what can we take from this.

  • While special offers and discounts are a great incentive to build an audience, in order to keep people engaged you'll have to be interesting too
  • Balance your conversations with product offers or specials
  • Ensure you don't post or tweet too frequently - if you don't get a response or any interaction from a post that could be an indication you're posting the wrong content or posting too much.
  • Conversational wins - every time
  • Transparency, honesty are qualities we all look for, even in brands we follow
  • Be consistent - in order to grow an active and engaged audience maintain a consistent level of activity throughout the week