A recent BazaarVoice study –one that analyzed conversations across 26 million tweets, 8,000 radio and TV mentions, 17 months of stock data, over 18 months of Google query data, and 270,000 user generated reviews for the same 13 brands – found that stock prices move upwards with Twitter mentions.
Crazier still is that the correlation is only with respect to positive mentions, the correlation did not hold up between negative brand mentions falling stock prices.
Which is both surprising and interesting, since it means that consumers and investors are more heavily swayed from positive influence. It also means that Twitter has become a force to be reckoned with, and is now able to influence global markets.
Looking Closer At The Study Data
It turns out that tweets contain a lot of valuable consumer feedback; with 12 percent of brand-mention tweets including product suggestions, 20 percent of which are rated at 4 stars or higher.
From 2010 to 2011 there was an almost 20 percent increase in average time spent on Twitter, from 2011 to 2012 Twitter saw a 19.7 percent increase, and while average pages per visit decreased from 2010 to 2011 by 9 percent, from 2011 to 2012 page views grew by a whopping 58.7 percent.
Twitter is becoming a destination; people are going to Twitter for Twitterand then staying there. The volume of brand mentions is growing, but the volume of original tweets is declining; the volume of exact retweets containing brand mentions grew from 15 percent in 2010 to 18 percent in 2011 and then up to 22 percent in 2012.
What does this mean for brands and reputation management?
…a single piece of content can have major consequences for the companies involved... many of the most retweeted messages about brands were negative in sentiment, and concerned things like scandals, lawsuits, and negative press coverage.
This illustrates that news is traveling faster than it ever has before, and brands need to get smart and stay vigilant. This also reinforces the need to be actively cultivating a positive relationship with your customers and creating a good first impression on new potential users.
Here are some ways to leverage Twitter’s massive influence as it approaches 600 million users:
Use Some Consumer Psychology
One of my favorite ideas that is suggested in the study by BV is to “use the words you find in tweets about your brand...using the language of your top reviewers - or better yet, quot[ing] them.”
This is very similar to the idea Anthony Pensabene had to include user reviews in your meta descriptions. And to take this further, maybe augment your paid search and social media messaging with some actual language from user-generated content; pull from on-site reviews, tweets, Facebook messages, or Yelp to increase impressions of positive sentiment in the language of your customers.
People’s minds stick to language, and many people have more of a visual memory for making psychological associations. Using the language of your customers will help to influence others to think about your brand in the same context.
And it doesn’t take long to achieve this mental trigger... in a 2001 MIT study by David Melcher, an associate professor at Trento University in Italy, it was found that after only 1 second of display, respondents described visual images with 60 percent accuracy, and after 5 seconds users were able to recall an average of 5.1 different objects.
This means that your opportunities to leverage positive consumer sentiment by getting positive, sticky language in front of your target audience only takes a few seconds. Five objects is enough to remember important positive sentiment adjectives like; good, great, amazing, perfect, and recommend, should you choose to use them.
Really Get in the Conversation
It isn’t enough to simply thank or retweet your audience, to see a positive return from your Twitter army. You need to engage them like real people; show them you actually care.
Here are three quick tips for getting in the conversation:
1. Have a Legitimate Purpose
Finding the angle to engage your audience is more effective if you’re able to wrap it around the benefits of your products. Being funny just to be funny is not as effective as putting a humorous spin on an important piece of messaging. Dollar Shave Club spread like wildfire when they released they’re hilarious video “Our Blades Are F****** Great!”, but it’s worth noting that they made the benefits of their product very clear at the same time.
2. Act Quickly
The best recent example of this is still Oreo’s response to the power outage at the Super Bowl, where one simple tweet with a picture earned them tens of thousands of new followers in the course of an hour.
3. Use the Best Medium For Your Content
Knowing your audience and knowing what technologies they’re using is crucial for engagement. Calvin Klein has a large and active twitter base, so it was a smart move for them to leverage Vine to run this ad during the power outage at the Super Bowl.
Take Feedback Graciously
Contrary to the old adage, your customers may not always be right, however it’s never smart to take negative feedback or brand mentions personally.
Every interaction is a chance to make a positive impression, and if nothing else, we’ve seen just how bad a situation can become when feedback is mismanaged on social media.
Take feedback with consideration for the people and their situation, even if they are being snarky or rude. Social media is not the place to have an ego, it’s almost always better to turn the other cheek.
Consider Potential Campaign Dangers
When McDonald’s set out to promote the livelihood of American farmer’s with their “Meet the Farmers” campaign, they didn’t stop to consider the potential dangers of using the somewhat ambiguous hashtag #McDstories.
This allowed for Twitter user’s to twist the intended use of the hashtag into a bashtag. It didn’t take long for the Twitterverse to quickly run amok with the campaign, quickly turning it into a series of terrible stories and dark parodies.
And who can forget the onslaught of social media terror when Chick-Fil-A announced they were having a national appreciation day, shortly after their COO made a series of public comments voicing his opinions on same-sex marriage.
Take advantage of all of the real time benefits afforded to you and your brand to engage your fans and be fun and memorable.
Think quickly, be creative, follow your core audience, and more than anything else follow the golden rule of Twitter: tweet others the way you want to be tweeted.