Friedrich Nietzsche said that the future influences the present just as much as the past… but what about Twitter?
A new study shows that on Twitter, followers don’t necessarily equal influence. Researchers found that “follower count is not sufficient to capture the influence of a user (i.e., the ability of a user to sway the opinions of her followers). It only shows how popular the user is (i.e., the size of her audience). But, as we showed in our paper, retweets and mentions, which measure the audience responsiveness to a user’s tweets, do not correlate strongly with number of followers.”
A surprising finding of the study was that only a fraction of Twitter users actively tweet and it is this small group of active Twitter users who initiate retweets and responses. The majority of Twitter users read other users’ messages but don’t generate many new messages themselves. So what does this mean for your clients and their Twitter accounts? Encourage them to engage their followers directly. Monitor direct messages and retweets closely. Identify followers who tweet actively and take steps to engage them. Make sure you’re engaging your audience in relevant topics.
The researchers believe that “businesses, rather than trying to put emphasis on the follower count, could try to increase audience responsiveness in their fields.” Instead of using a Twitter account to push out news on a regular basis and nothing more, try taking a more active role. Besides, a comprehensive Twitter engagement strategy is much easier to wrap your head around than a Nietzsche quote!
David Carlson: Social Media and Traditional PR