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Twitter roundup: 175m users and counting!

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 3rd November 2010

There’s been a flurry of news about Twitter over the last week or so. Here’s a quick round-up post in case you missed it!

Yesterday it was revealed that Twitter user numbers have increased to 175 million. Although, as Econsultancy points out, numbers themselves are only half the picture.

Arguably, celebrities have been responsible for a decent portion of this growth in popularity. But new research finds that consumers in the UK are more likely to follow a brand on Twitter than a celebrity.

This shows that while celebrities might be driving interest in Twitter, consumers seem to be getting (or at least attributing) more value from the brands they follow.

However, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of the medium for brands or celebrities. This week Stephen Fry has been making headlines around comments he made to Attitude magazine. Fry then used Twitter yesterday to rebuke the arguments. These comments on Twitter were then picked up in the newspapers again, with Fry apparently threatening to quit Twitter (again) as a result!

It’s yet another sign of how a celebrity (or brand) with sufficient followers can use Twitter as a very personal brand reputation vehicle, but still get the traditional media talking.

When it comes to follower numbers, Penguin Digital is leading the way when it comes to UK brands on Twitter. This is according to some investigative work by Sutro Digital. The company found that the book publisher was followed by 144,386 people, around 44,000 more than the next closest brand, Topshop.

Clearly follower numbers don’t necessarily correlate to popularity and so it’s also worth pointing to another survey, which shows that, when it comes to follower numbers, consumers don’t really care! According to research this week, 62% of Twitter users in the US said they attribute little importance to follower numbers when deciding which brands to follow.

Rather than just chasing numbers, brands would be wise to look at how they can increase value in their Twitter streams and encourage engagement.

Finally, in perhaps the biggest news of the week, Twitter has started pushing out promoted tweets in user streams and also through popular third party app Hootsuite. This is seen as Twitter’s big gamble in terms of monetisation and yesterday the Wall Street Journal was one of the high profile advertisers sending out promoted tweets to coincide with the US elections. It remains to be seen whether these messages will be the secret to Twitter’s financial success or whether they will just put users off…

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