As a Forrester analyst I get to work with a fantastic team of researchers – including Tom Cummings, who contributes some great work to our research on social media marketing and a wide range of other topics. Below, Tom discusses a piece of research we collaborated on, covering how marketers are using Twitter:

Tom Cummings [Posted by Tom Cummings.]

We recently published WebTrack review of how major companies are using Twitter. Over a span of three days in
October, we tracked 30 marketers on Twitter to see how they named and branded
their accounts, how often they tweeted, how they interacted with other
Twitter users, and more. We didn't just study the most popular accounts on Twitter –
instead, we looked for a broad sample of accounts across key industries (including retail, travel, financial services, auto, and CPG).

For the most part, brands get the basics right. 
The large majority interact with followers (more than three-quarters of the brands we tracked reply and retweet). And most fill their streams with a steady flow of relevant content (80% tweet at least daily). We especially liked seeing companies go beyond traditional marketing messages – like when State Farm promotes fire alarm safety or when Ford gives behind-the-scenes perspective on their new engineering processes.


But while most get the basics right, many branded Twitter accounts still fall short
on some key points.  For instance, it’s surprisingly difficult to
find the appropriate account for many brands.  Neither Google nor Twitter search offer an ideal way to find a company's official account – and often, a company's official primary account isn't the most active or the most followed.

We were also surprised that only half of the accounts we
reviewed “validate” their Twitter page.  It's not enough to link from a Twitter account to a corporate page – those corporate pages must also link back to
the account to prove that the account is official.

We like how Whole Foods – which runs more than 100 official accounts – handles both of these problems: They keep their primary account name simple and searchable (@WholeFoods) and link from that account to a list of all their other accounts. Other marketers should follow suit – because it’s up to them to prove the authenticity of their account
(no matter how many followers they have) and to make it easy for fans to find the right account to follow.

Clients can read more examples and findings in the full report. In the meantime, we’d love to hear how your brand is using Twitter, how you let
fans know about the account, and what other tips you have for best leveraging the power of Twitter.