How smartphone users engage on Twitter: three key findings

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Selecting a smartphone is no easy decision. The devices are a significant investment, and the prospect of committing up to two years to any of the myriad service plans can give pause to even the hardiest buyer. To make an informed choice, savvy consumers are turning to Twitter.

A recent study conducted by Millward Brown in partnership with Twitter showed that Twitter is used more than any other social network throughout the decision-making process when buying a smartphone. How can phone and service providers use Twitter to engage and influence customers and enhance brand sentiment throughout the purchase process? We dug into the data to find out. Here are the results and our recommendations.

The study

During June and July of 2014, Millward Brown surveyed 1,238 U.S. online consumers age 18-54 via a 10-minute questionnaire. All participants either owned a smartphone or intended to purchase one in the next year. The firm then compared Twitter users to the average user of six top social media networks (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Vine and Tumblr). A user of any social network was defined as someone who logged in at least once a month.

The results

I. Twitter mobilizes smartphone shoppers

Brand content on Twitter spurs action. Four in 10 users said they had taken action after seeing information from a smartphone or wireless service brand on Twitter, whether they followed the brand, visited its site or searched for it online.

As to the kinds of content Twitter users like to see, most popular were deals and promotions (43%), information about service coverage and outage issues (33%), funny or lighthearted content (31%), tips (31%) and new device launches (27%).

Tip: Reflect these interests in your Tweets, and Tweet regularly about them. For example, @TMobile Tweeted to let users know they could pre-register for new @SamsungMobileUS devices.

II. Twitter users are eager to engage with smartphone brands

Twitter users crave the latest information. They’re 38% more likely than the average social network user to learn about a new phone provider or wireless service carrier, and once they’re aware of a brand, they’re 86% more likely to stay up to date with the brand’s news and promotions.

Interaction is also important to Twitter users: 17% have conversed with a smartphone or wireless provider brand via Twitter, compared to only 7% on the average social network. Most users (63%) who received a response from a telecom brand said it made them feel more positive towards the brand.

Tip: Find positive ways to engage and reward users regularly. In this Tweet, @HTC accomplishes both.

@NokiaUS also succeeds by creating an incentive — offering concert tickets to trivia contest winners — to engage users.

III. Twitter influences smartphone shoppers throughout the purchase process

From awareness to advocacy, Twitter plays an important role at every step in the purchase process.

If spreading the word about your brand is a goal, Twitter is a good place to start. Twitter users are almost 75% more likely to become aware of a new phone provider or wireless service carrier than the average social network user.

Next, brands can leverage Twitter to forge deeper connections with customers. Twitter users are 83% more likely to interact with a smartphone or wireless provider brand than the average social network user.

When it’s time to consider a purchase, it’s clear that customers rely more on Twitter than other social networks.

Compared to the average social network user, Twitter users are 43% more likely to use content on Twitter to influence their decision.

Finally, satisfied Twitter customers like to champion their favorite brands on Twitter, which can quickly extend your efforts. Compared to users of the average social network, 16% more Twitter users act as brand advocates.

Tip: Craft Tweets that appeal to users at every stage of the purchase cycle, and don’t underestimate the power of a Retweet or recommendation. For example, this customer’s enthusiastic endorsement of @VerizonWireless reached more than 2,000 followers.