Berlin-based PR agency Zucker.Kommunikation and Blatterwald, media-resonance analysis specialists, have produced the first survey of content produced by companies that communicate by Twitter, such as Volkswagen, BMW, Deutsche Telekom, Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Google and Lufthansa, to name a few.
Over a period of one week, the way that companies work with the micro-blogging service Twitter was analyzed. Half of the tweets arose through dialogue (51%), about one third were news (32%), and 17% of tweets were advertising. However, the proportion of advertising employed by companies listed on the DAX, Germany’s stock exchange, was twice as high. Twitter profiles of German companies and the German subsidiaries of international enterprises display on average 661 followers, they in turn follow 350 other profiles, and they post an average of 13 tweets per week.
“The large number of companies already twittering was frankly a surprise”, said Oliver Numrich from Blatterwald, in statement. “This analysis also shows us that around half of the companies have understood the dialogue-based approach of Twitter, and they are acting accordingly.”
Companies do make mistakes with Twitter though, as evidenced by the following figures: the clear majority of companies (80%) send anonymous tweets, i.e., the biography contains no information. Only 12 of the 60 profiles investigated were backed up by a personal twitterer. Most of the tweets (85%) did not address their followers in person.
“There is no clear guideline on just who is responsible for Twitter at the majority of companies”, said Matthias Bonjer from Zucker.Kommunikation, in a statement. “The frequent occurrence of anonymous senders, a lack of subject focus of the tweets, and the naming of entire departments as the sender are all clear indicators of this. Furthermore, in very few of the cases that we studied was Twitter dialogue being handled by customer service departments. Inside of this year we expect an improved coordination of Twitter activities within companies. We will continue to observe the developments in the use of Twitter and, in cooperation with Blätterwald, we will be publishing a new trend report in October.”
The second most active account over the period investigated was Twitter profile “Golf VI GTI 2009” with 255 tweets. However, almost none of the tweets related to the sender: “In this case, corporate news was being communicated, such as on the stock-exchange rate for VW shares or the latest on the Porsche deal. The profile name and the content simply do not correspond”, said Bonjer. “As a consequence, there were high levels of fluctuation and heterogeneity among the followers.”
Overall the report reveals that German companies are far more active on Twitter than is generally assumed. In other words, Twitter is being taken seriously as a new channel for communications. Although the relatively low proportion of advertising at under 20% indicates a balanced mix of the content, the subjects addressed by the individual profiles vary greatly. The utilization of Twitter for dialogue appears to depend strongly on the affinity of the editor.