NEW YORK: Twitter users who follow global Fortune 100 companies are more connected and influential than the average user, according to research released Tuesday by Burson-Marsteller.
The agency’s "Twiplomacy" research, carried out with social analytics company StatSocial, measured Twitter users’ influence by looking at how many connections they have across social networks, as well as the number of connections of their contacts. It specifically examined corporate Twitter handles, rather than followers of their individual brands or campaigns.
The study found that individuals who follow companies in the global Fortune 100 have more than double the connections (735) across all social networks than the average Twitter user who does not follow these companies (300).
The study also examined how this varies by sector and found that companies in the technology and automotive industries have the most socially connected and influential followers. Their followers are about 1,300-times more influential than the average Twitter user.
By comparison, followers of leading global healthcare and retail companies are 43 and 329 times more influential than the average Twitter user.
According to the study, followers of large global companies on Twitter are 1.2 times more likely to be interested in automobiles, business, and technology, and 1.09 times more likely to be interested in politics than the average Twitter user.
The research highlights how Twitter has become "the backbone of corporate reputations online," even more so than campaign-driven social networks such as Facebook, said Thomas Gensemer, chief strategy officer at Burson.
"More and more corporations are using always-on Twitter engagement to make connections and tell stories, and more people are looking at it to learn about the company," he said. "It is an anchor across every aspect of communications and not just a digital tactic anymore."
Gensemer added that the research indicates there is a greater opportunity for corporations, and specifically their leaders, for deeper engagement with consumers, and those using it as simply a "push mechanism" are missing out.