The Percentage of Businesses Using Twitter
To satisfy my curiosity, I recently conducted research on my own Twitter accounts to get an estimate of how and why Twitter is being used today. Is Twitter still being used as a social outlet for personal interaction among friends and online acquaintances, or are a higher percentage of tweets from businesses selling a product and/or service?
We cannot deny the level of influence that social media has in the business world today. In fact, according to a recent research study conducted by MarketWatch, a subsidiary of Dow Jones & Co., “Nearly 60 percent of businesses in the US and UK use Twitter and Facebook for customer service.” Platforms that were once created for personal socialization among friends and online acquaintances are now targeted by many corporations and other small businesses to sell products and services.
Measuring Business and Personal Tweets
My analysis includes a sample of Twitter posts from a sample of users who are following my own Twitter accounts. My mission for this study is to show the intent of minute-by-minute tweets that were posted by a small sample of users to measure the percentage of tweets that are intended for personal use and socialization, and the percentage of tweets that have a business goal in mind.
I personally use Twitter for both personal and business purposes (primarily business), and my accounts consist of approximately 2000 followers. My followers are a balanced mixture of personal users and business professionals. Using a fairly balanced sample, I intend to show that a vast majority of tweets are posted primarily for business purposes compared to the number of Twitter users who use this service exclusively as a social outlet.
I monitored 20 individual tweets made by followers in my online community. I used the following checklist to measure whether each tweet would fall into one of two categories; Personal or Business:
___Tweet was 100% informational
___Tweet was 100% personal (i.e. status update)
___Tweet was intended to sell a product
___Tweet was directing users to an outside website
This checklist will break each tweet into one of two categories. Tweets that are marked as “Informational” and “Personal” will be categorized as Personal. Tweets that are marked as “Intended to sell a product” and “Directing users to an outside website” will fall into the Business category. Please note that tweets that are directing a user to an outside website are still related to business. This outside website is either offering information to satisfy a business goal or selling a product or service.
Business vs Personal Results
According to my sample of 20 tweets, 3 were offering information that was personal in nature such as a status update. 16 tweets were from businesses using Twitter for either selling a product or directing a user to an outside website. 1 tweet was both offering information and directing a user to another website. However, after visiting the site, I found that the Twitter user was providing a link for followers to visit for a good laugh. There was no business motive involved that I could find.
To clarify these results even further, 4 tweets fell into the Personal category, leaving 16 that were included in the Business category. In other words, 20% were personal and an astounding 80% were business related.
While this Twitter account analysis will show the significant impact that businesses have on Twitter usage, these results may not be as accurate as I would hope. To increase my chances of achieving more accurate results, I would need to include a larger sample of Twitter users, and monitor hundreds, if not thousands, of individual tweets. A much larger sample would tremendously increase my chances of accuracy. Nonetheless, these results do show a significant comparison between personal and business related usage.
Are you using Twitter for Business?
Admittedly, I am also guilty of using Twitter to achieve business goals and for driving traffic back to my websites. To be quite honest, if it weren’t for the business benefits that Twitter provides, I would not even have a Twitter account. When I do post a tweet that is personal in nature, my intention is to provide a balance of personal tweets versus business tweets so that I do not come across as spammy. I am curious to see how many other Twitter users have this same opinion.
What about you? Why do you use Twitter? Is your Twitter usage for business or personal reasons?