One possible reason for this inactivity is the effort required to make Twitter worthwhile. Facebook can be more of a spectator sport – even if you’re not uploading photos, posting status updates, etc., there’s still plenty to see, and it’s plenty engaging and useful.
Twitter, on the other hand, is more about contributing and sharing. There’s plenty to consume, and users definitely use the network to check what others are linking to and talking about. But the most engaging aspect of the network is in tweeting and being tweeted at. Hence the higher 30 connections mark – Facebook, in contrast, estimates it takes only 10 friends to keep users coming back. It simply takes more commitment to become (and stay) active on Twitter.
Twitter recognizes that inactivity is an issue, and they’re taking steps to fight it – both by cleaning house, and by driving users toward the “aha moment.”
- The network has started releasing inactive accounts. They now send emails to inactive users to reactivate their accounts, which get about 9% click-through reactivation rates
- They’ve made changes to the sign up process, adding steps to help users follow accounts and start tweeting. By removing Captcha requirements for signups from new IP addresses, Twitter increased signups about 5%, without increasing spammers
- Twitter has seven full-time employees dedicated to fighting spam
- New tools are making it easier for users to find new accounts to follow
And the network is definitely growing. According to @TwitterGlobalPR, there was a 52% increase in global monthly Twitter account signups from December to March (57% US). And it’s getting more active – Twitter reported a 41% increase in global tweets per day in the same period (38% US).
Use Twitter to encourage earned media
Number of followers is an easy, quick metric, but interaction and engagement should be much more important to your team. Yes, there may be fewer active Twitter users than you thought. But are they worth your company’s time? If your brand uses Twitter as a broadcast network, you may need to reevaluate your marketing with a more realistic audience size in mind. But if you’re using Twitter to drive customer conversations, this report shouldn’t scare you.
With the extra effort it takes to be active on Twitter, it follows that active Twitter users may be more likely to make the effort to be active in other online media. The numbers back up this theory. Active Twitter users – those who use the network on a daily basis – are more likely than other online consumers to produce a wide range of influential online content. Active Twitter users are nearly…
- Five times more likely to publish a blog post on a monthly basis (72% vs. 14%)
- Three times more likely to write at least one product review monthly (61% vs. 20%)
- Six times more likely to publish an online article on a monthly basis (56% vs. 10%)
A Pew survey found that Twitter users are more active offline, as well: “85 percent of them were involved in group activity offline, followed by 82 percent of social networking users.”
Capitalize on Twitter users’ likeliness to contribute by using your brand’s Twitter presence to encourage earned media like user-generated product reviews, blog posts, photos, and videos. Recognize that shoppers and customers have different needs on social networks, and help Twitter users to create the content that both types of consumers crave – opinions from real people like them.
Twitter’s “true” population may be smaller than it looks, but that doesn’t mean the network isn’t useful for marketers. Use Twitter as you should use all social media – to encourage conversations between real people.