How is Twitter faring as a business model? What brands are succeeding in grabbing our attention and why? We're in a recession. Money is tight. So which brands are diligent in positioning themselves up front and personal on Twitter to capture what dwindling disposable incomes we have left.
What do the Top Ten brands do that gets them the buzz? This Top Ten list will provide you with a snapshot as to the best practices, brand positioning and some cautionary warnings to companies that are being talked about versus being talked to.
Revolution and I-Level's social media agency recently published the "100 Most Mentioned Brands on Twitter." My list focuses on their Top Ten, where I offer insights, concerns and best practice that are used by top brands in stimulating a good number tweets in the Twitterverse. (Note: The number of mentions and followers listed here are based on a sampling that occurred during a 3 day period in April, 2009).
1 - Starbucks - In the number one spot is @Starbucks. With over 3.37 million mentions and 120,868 followers, who says the cream doesn' rise to the top. Coffee drinkers and people in general love Starbuck's corporate social media responsibility. Starbucks uses their brand on Twitter to reinforce their CSR reports. Looking at one of Starbucks competitor @DunkinDonuts you can see a real difference in the two coffee-makers' diverse conversational-styles, which probably accounts to why Dunkin Donuts only has 24,000 followers.
2- Google - While @Google actually has more followers than Starbucks( 307K to 120K), but its mentions of 1.01M to 3.37M pales in comparison. However Google just recently registered with Twitter, while Starbucks has had a presence for a while. My guess as to why Google finally acquiesed to Twitter was to learn more about real-time search and how to either acquire Twitter or come up with a better mousetrap. The Twitterverse hasn't so much embraced Google on Twitter as they have come to understand it as a 'necessary evil.'
3 - BBC - With only 21.6K followers the @BBCnews's 703,000 mentions is very impressive. During breaking news events, BBC News was one of the first news organizations to incorporate viewpoints, eyewitness accounts and user generated content from users on Twitter into their developing coverage. It was this approach that endeared them to the twitterati and continues to distinguish them as the brand model in the news industry to emulate.
4- Apple - Apple, who surprisingly has not even registered for a Twitter account came in 4th with 512K+ mentions. Now why does an innovative organization like Apple not engage in conversation? Everyone talks about Apple and all of its products on Twitter, but Apple doesn’t talk back. Why does Guy Kawasaki, a previous Apple Fellow maintain a significant presence (130K followers) and yet Steve Job's team has chosen not to join ranks. No best practice here. Just a cautionary note to Apple, that they might want to reconsider their position on microblogging, before the conversation starts going from postitve to negative.
5- AIG - Now AIG is another matter. With over 455,000 mentions, they also do not maintain a Twitter account. So my guess here is thatdue to the recent financial crisis, people continue to be vocal with their criticisms about this company and that is the reason for their excessive number of mentions. In turn, similar to Apple, it would be be beneficial for AIG to think about countering this negativity with a Twitterized public relations campaign.
6- Amazon - With only 1007 followers, @Amazon was surprisingly mentioned 245,760 times during this 3-day period in April. Differing from Apple and AIG, however, Amazon decided to join in the conversation and signed up for a Twitter recently (currently their followers have grown 3 fold since April which is testimony to their popularlity). On the flip side, since "Twitter" is one of the most often keyword searches on Amazon's web site, it was very wise for Amazon to use its Twitter account to sell "Twitter" books, DVDs, and other Twitter related merchandise. Quid pro quo!
7- Microsoft - Strangely enough, while Microsoft did not have a presence on Twitter in April, it now appears to have an account labled the "official Twitter account for Microsoft." However, somewhat suspect, since the avatar lacks a logo and the profile description is brief. Nonetheless with over 221K mentions, it is apparent that the Twitterverse has a lot to say about the company, even though Microsoft isn't talking (as evidenced by its "zero" updates).
8- Guardian - @guardiannews racked up 211,000 mentions with its 14,913 followers. In May, 2009, Guardian commented about their success on the social network and microblogging service "as a communications technology that is breaking down barriers of geography, class and even shyness." A unique collaboration between The Guardian and Twitter will also see the launch of Gutter (which I will cover in a subsequent blog), an experimental service designed to filter noteworthy liberal opinion from the cacophony of Twitter updates. Gutter members will be able to use the service to comment on liberal blogs across the Web via a new tool, developed by the blogging platform WordPress, entitled GutterPress. Stay tuned.
9- Dell - @Direct2Dell's success stories on Twitter are perhaps the most often repeated, so it is no surprise that they have made the top ten list, with the second highest number of followers (287,575) second only to Google and 185,000 mentions. After generating $1 million by alerting Twitter followers to sale items during the Christmas holidays, Dell was the first to offer discounts exclusively to its Twitter followers (now considered by most as the most successful business model to follow).
10 Coca Cola - Notorious for competing head-on with their rival Pepsi in the Cola Wars, Coke beats them out once again for this Top Ten ranking (Pepsi ranked 30th in the Top 100 list). However, even with their 135,600 mentions, Coke has chosen to protect their updates which is never a good idea for a brand that is trying to gain market share. Are they successful in spite of themselves? Or is the cola giant not got its social media act together? And are just trying to protect their account from "Twitter Squatting" until they hire a Twitter Twexecutive to manage the account? Time will tell on this one.
Well, there you have the Top Ten. Now its your turn to vote for your favorite brand from this list? Which brand do you think does the best job with their ongoing conversations in the Twitterverse. Vote now and retweet this blog to others who are looking to benefit from a business account on Twitter. As always your feedback and comments are welcomed.