10 Surprising Twitter Stats for Community Managers

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Last week, I was lucky enough to be featured in a fantastic infographic by the folks over at Mention.

The infographic highlighted five surprising statistics about Twitter and offered up different insights about each data point that are really beneficial to community managers.

I loved the idea so much that I thought I would contribute five more statistics and offer up an expanded look at each one with insights on how these facts can help you be a better community manager.

1. The average company is tweeted 39 times a day and 273 times a week.

Not only are your customers on Twitter, they are talking about you on Twitter. As Moz founder Rand Fishkin observes: “The quantity of interactions on Twitter may now rival many businesses’ interactions through their customer service teams.”

Going one-step further, I think this trend points to the fact that social media (especially Twitter) is overtaking traditional customer service to an extent.

In a previous article, I pointed out what a typical lazy customer service tweet looks like.


23e0efcThis response is so frustrating to the customer because they already know you have a customer service line. They’ve chosen to go around it because the expectation is that your Twitter account is also your customer service line and that the service will be more timely and responsive than contacting customer service via telephone or email.

Takeaway: Treat Twitter as a standalone customer service line instead of directing your customers elsewhere.

2. 53% of brand followers expect them to respond to their comments in an hour. That number jumps to 72% when it’s a complaint.

Your customers are not taking the time and energy to tweet at you just to be ignored. They want instant feedback, especially if they have a complaint.

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Yet customers are ignored more often than not. One study found that 70% of customer service complaints on Twitter are ignored. If 72% of users complaining expect a response, but just as many are totally ignored, this gives brands so much room to make a positive impression and to set themselves apart. 

Takeaway: Respect those who take the time and effort to tweet at you by responding quickly and prioritizing any complaints.

3. 60% of company mentions are posted when you’re not at the office.

One of Twitter’s defining features is that it is “always on.” So it only makes sense that people expect brands on Twitter to follow suit past the traditional nine to five work day.

Considering how much energy is put into driving engagement, it would be a shame to let that engagement go unanswered. While it may be unreasonable to expect your team to be on 24/7, it might not be as unreasonable to bring on a part-time night or weekend social manager. Or, at the very least, to identify which times during off hours have the highest brand activity and schedule content for then in advance. An even easier option is to simply list your active hours on your account’s bio so that your followers know what to expect.

Takeaway: Schedule activity for off-hours in advance and/or hire social managers to manage your account while the rest of the team is out of the office. 

4. 30% of tweets including company names don’t include their Twitter handle.

When attempting to gauge the conversations going on about your brand, it is important to note that many of those mentioning your brand are not formally “mentioning” you. According to Mention’s infographic, 30% of company mentions don’t actually use their handle. 

As Aaron Lee of PostPlanner warns: “Businesses that don’t monitor mentions without the @ risk missing over 30% of feedback.” 

It would be a real shame if you put in all the effort of monitoring customer feedback, and missed out on a third of it because of such a small oversight.

Takeaway: When monitoring mentions of your brand take informal mentions of your company into account by looking for brand specific keywords and/or misspellings.

5. Only 9% of tweets mentioning a company are directed at the company.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 1.31.06 PM

Another important consideration when looking at the conversations surrounding your brand is that only 9% of tweets are actually directed at your brand. This means the majority of people mentioning your brand are talking about you, not to you. 

This can tell you a lot about the nature of brand discussion on Twitter. Beyond the aforementioned complaints, most chatter about brands is not addressed to the brands themselves. However, Twitter conveniently allows you to eavesdrop on these conversations in real time if these conversations are public. 

This can give you the opportunity to surprise and delight your audience by dropping in on a tweet about your brand or the ability to mitigate any criticism before it has the chance to spread.

Takeaway: Just because someone doesn’t mention you directly doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t weigh in. Surprise the people talking about your brand by showing that you are actually listening.

6. 60% of tweets mentioning companies don’t get retweeted.

Given the sheer volume of tweets mentioning your brand at any time, and the seemingly unreasonable expectations of your social media followers, the task of mitigating and responding to all criticism might seem impossible.

Focus on identifying and responding to the real influencers amongst your following first, because those are the tweets most likely to spread. This is not to say you should simply ignore your less influential followers (sometimes paying attention to them can be very memorable), but don’t get so distracted responding to each small complaint that you miss the big one–they can do a lot more damage.

Takeaway: Choose your battles. Don’t worry about responding to all tweets, prioritize based on the amount of potential reach those tweets may have. Simply retweeting a positive tweet about your company is sometimes a good enough thank you to a member of your audience.

7. Tweets with less than 100 characters get 17% more engagement

While Twitter’s official character limit is 140, most statistics suggest that you should aim to be about 40% lower than that. Data from Buffer shows that the sweet spot for tweets is roughly 100 characters.

The reasons for this seem straightforward enough. First of all, Twitter users are not known for their patience. In a never-ending newsfeed of 140 character tweets the shorter one will be easier to digest and will be more likely to get noticed (this is probably the same reason that tweets with pictures are twice as likely to be engaged with). 

Second of all, if a follower is going to retweet you, it is likely that they may want to add their own opinion. If you fill your tweet to the brim that gives them no room to add their own spin unless they take the time to edit yours down. Which is definitely not happening in most cases.

Takeaway: Keep your tweets well below the 140 character limit and opt for pictures and/or links whenever possible to help drive more engagement.

8. Twitter users are 23% more likely to have a college degree than the average American.

While there have definitely been some less than intelligent tweets, data from HubSpot shows that Twitter users are considerably more likely to have a college degree than the average American. 

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 12.26.04 PM(Source: HubSpot)

Keep this fact in mind when creating campaigns and interacting with your audience. Your followers are smarter than most, so don’t be afraid to be witty with your tweets or to create content that is a little more involved.

Twitter users can be impatient and fickle, but if you provide them with something engaging and stimulating you will have a much better chance of holding their attention and winning them over.

Takeaway: Your followers are smarter than you think. If it makes sense for your brand, create witty, stimulating content and you will be much more likely to grab their attention.

9. 97% of major brands are on Twitter.

This statistic is worth noting because it means that the chances are very high that your competition is on Twitter. It also means that in order for your brand to even have a chance of being noticed it must be doing something different than the 97% of other brands out there.

This is where your creativity as a community manager must come in to play. Keep close tabs on what it is your competition is doing and try to stay as far away from that as possible. Sure, there are best practices all brands must follow, but way too many brands get stuck doing the same things as their competition and end up getting completely ignored.

Use tools like Mention to monitor discussions of your competitor’s online and competitive intelligence platforms like Unmetric to track the specifics of a competitors campaign on social media.

Of the 97% of brands on Twitter there are a select few that are doing remarkable things and getting noticed for it. The only common thread between their approaches is that there is no common thread.

Takeaway: Nearly every other brand is on Twitter, so you better set yourself apart or you’ll be invisible.

10. Of the top ten most tweeted topics, 100% were televised cultural events.

Given that 77% of TV viewers use another device at the same time, the fact that the top ten most tweeted topics were televised cultural events does not seem all that surprising. 

What is surprising though is that many brands on Twitter do not participate in the massive conversations surrounding events of interest to their audience.

Most brands have difficulty doing so because many events occur outside of work hours or are hard to identify as a match for the brand. However, while it may be difficult it is far from impossible.

In fact, what many hailed as one of the greatest brand tweets ever was made by a century-old cookie brand during a football game which may seem like a stretch, but it’s all about being relevant to the conversation and aware of your own audience. While other brands were spending millions on big-budget commercials for the Super Bowl, Oreo paid attention, got creative and stole the show for free.

This was not by accident though. Oreo’s social team had been spending the entire year creating a culturally relevant image for each and every day. This constant practice gave them the expertise and quick thinking needed to pounce on the opportunity a sudden Super Bowl blackout presented.

Takeaways: With enough creativity and practice any brand can create up-to-date, culturally relevant content. And on Twitter, timeliness and relevance to major, televised cultural events can pay huge dividends.

What is the most surprising lesson your business has learned about Twitter? How has your Twitter presence your role as a community manager? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

P.S. If you liked this post, you might like How Millennials are Shopping: 20 Interesting Statistics & Figures and 7 Best Practices for Using GIFs & Cinemagraphs for Business.

Infographic by Mention:

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Brian Honigman

Brian Honigman is the author of this piece, the president of Honigman Media and a leading marketing consultant. He’s the author of numerous marketing courses for NYU and LinkedIn, an executive coach for marketers and corporate leaders and instructor of corporate training programs on marketing for organizations like Time Inc, Econsultancy and the Weather Company. Contact him to schedule an in-person training or coaching call.

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