People who follow brands on Twitter are more likely to both buy and recommend those brands' products, according to a recent study of online consumer behavior.
The study, conducted by Constant Contact and research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey, analyzed the behavior of 1,491 consumers ages 18 and older throughout the U.S., and revealed a number of details about how people interact with brands on the world's beloved 140-character social network.
So, just how powerful is the Twitter connection between consumers and businesses? The study found that 60% of brand followers are more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after following the brand on Twitter, and 50% of brand followers are more likely to buy from that brand.
These findings mirror those from a previous report, detailing how consumers interact with brands on Facebook. The study found that 56% of consumers said they are more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after "Liking" a brand on Facebook, and 51% of consumers said they are more likely to buy a product after doing so. The findings from both studies seem to show that customer loyalty is about the same across both social networks.
Any increase in customer loyalty is great news for brands, especially those lucky enough to make the coveted list of followed companies. According to the study, though, the chances of making that list are slim, as only 21% of Twitter users follow brands on Twitter, and of those, 79% follow fewer than 10 brands.
If your brand makes it to that highly sought-after status, you're in for the long haul — a whopping 75% of respondents claimed that they had never unfollowed a brand on Twitter. This finding, though, contradicts a previous study, which claimed that 41% of consumers have unfollowed a company on Twitter. The trend seems to favor longevity in both studies, however. If a user opts to follow your brand on Twitter, it's more likely they'll continue following, rather than decide to unfollow.
When it comes to a consumer's decision to follow brands on Twitter, exclusivity and access to promotions reign. Here are the top five reasons given by respondents:
64%: I am a customer of the company
61%: To be the first to know information about the brand
48%: To receive discounts and promotions
36%: To gain access to exclusive content
28%: To receive content/information to retweet and share with others
For the most part, brand interaction on Twitter is still largely a one-way process. While 84% of followers read tweets posted by the brands they follow, only 23% claim to tweet about the brands they follow.
The study also found that Twitter users are frequent Internet users overall — 50% of Twitter users in the study reported going online more than once per hour. Of Facebook users, only 34% of respondents reported going online multiple times per hour. Facebook and Twitter users both outpace the average Internet user, though, as only 29% of overall users that do not have Twitter and Facebook accounts reported logging on many times within an hour.
Twitter users even use Facebook more than users who stick solely to Facebook — 60% of Twitter users use Facebook more than three hours per week, compared with 49% of Facebook users overall.
The study offered one final nugget of wisdom that should inform how brands on Twitter approach their content strategies — 67% of brand followers expect unique content from the brands they follow. So get to it, social media strategists!