Guest Post by: Jo Stratmann

As a social media agency we’re always interested in what makes people interact and engage with brands online.

We’ve already written about why people follow the UK’s top brand on Twitter, and a recent report from ExactTarget builds on this analysis  further by revealing why people follow companies on the popular microblogging site.

Here are the top 5 reasons why people follow brands on Twitter:

1. To get updates on future products

38% of respondents said that they use Twitter to get updates on future products or new product developments.

From a brand’s perspective, this shows that Twitter is a useful PR tool for creating buzz around a new product launch. It would also work well for innovative companies who continuously update their offering or for FMCG businesses where new products are frequently launched.

2. To engage with the company or brand

32%  of respondents said they wanted to stay informed about the activities of a company or brand, with a further 20% stating they become  followers to interact with, share ideas and provide feedback about services or products.

From a brand’s point of view, this proves the value of Twitter as both a customer engagement and customer feedback tool.

3. To save money

Saving money seems to be another key motivator for people to follow brands on Twitter. 31% of respondents said that they follow a company to receive discounts and promotions. A similar percentage of people also hoped to get “insider” information about upcoming sales, discount events and free samples.

This means that businesses could use Twitter to feed out discount codes and coupons in order to encourage brand loyalty and drive sales.

4.  For entertainment

For 26% of the people surveyed, following brands on Twitter was simply for entertainment and no other reason.

With this in mind, perhaps brands and businesses need to evaluate the way they engage people through Twitter and include more fun, interactive content, like videos and pictures, rather than just a news and updates, in their Twitter stream.

5. To display loyalty

23% of people surveyed said they follow brands or companies to show support. In other words, it is to show their loyalty to others.

For a brand or business, this type of user could be a key influencer and, as a brand advocate, if you engage them in the right way they will help spread positive word-of-mouth about your products or services.

It would be interesting to know why you follow brands on Twitter.

Image courtesy of Todd Barnard

Original Post: http://www.freshnetworks.com/blog/2010/08/5-reasons-people-follow-brands-twitter/

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