10 Insights on How Top Marketers Use Twitter – Report

10 Insights on How Top Marketers Use Twitter - Report

There is one big advantage Twitter has over Facebook. It’s not filtered.

That is both a blessing and a curse. It means you can see every tweet as it streams past from your followers. But it can be overwhelming.

That is why using lists and #hashtags are vital to glean the gems from the garbage on Twitter.

The serious application of Twitter by business was ignored for a long time. Bloggers bent their head around it early but it struggled for adoption by bigger brands.

That is changing as the CMOs and marketing managers have worked out its place in the social media universe. Twitter was also its own worst enemy as its management chopped and changed over the years and it delayed rolling out its self service advertising feature.

So how do the top marketers use Twitter?

Leadtail and DNN have just released a report that analyzed 504 North American marketing professionals in companies that were both business and consumer focused. It was carried out for the last 3 months of 2013 and was targeted at companies with 50-5,000 employees.

I have distilled this report down to the highlights that can be applied by both marketers and business owners. Here are 10 insights on how top marketers use Twitter.

#1. What social networks are they on?

What I find surprising here is the high penetration of the visual content networks such as Instagram and Vine. The other standout is how low Google+ ranks here.

I would put that down to marketers still being confused about how to use its reach and features.

How do top marketers use Twitter

#2. What apps and platforms do they favour?

The increasing role of mobile is apparent here with nine of the top fifteen being “mobile apps”on this list. Hootsuite and TweetDeck are the platforms used for managing the Twitter torrent.

What is intriguing is that Flipboard makes it onto the list. Its development and launching last year of “personalized magazines” is maybe part of the reason for its rise. I have certainly found it both easy and effective and now post my articles to my “Jeffbullas.com Blog Magazine” on Flipboard.

How do top marketers use Twitter

#3. What types of content do they share?

Mainstream media content makes the majority at 43% with industry media such as blogs not far behind at 34%. The report discovered that the content shared covers issues and trends including marketing, technology and leadership.

How do top marketers use Twitter

#4. What are the most shared mainstream sources?

Forbes adopted a very social media focused publishing strategy early on and its ranking is no surprise. Huffington Post is the first placed “new” media focused news source at #2. We  then have a mix of the old and new brands as top shared content sources.

How do top marketers use Twitter

#5. What are the most shared industry sources?

Mashable ranks here at #1 and its success continues. It was maybe the first social media blog to go mainstream and compete with even the likes of Huffington post on news and other topic categories.

It’s good to  see Hubspot (which was an inspiration for me 6 years ago) in the top 25 along with some favourites of mine including Social Media Examiner and Jay Baer’s Convince and Convert.

How do top marketers use Twitter

#6.  Top 50 brands most retweeted

The top 10 includes New York Times, Harvard Business Review and even a sports brand @SportsCenter. Some software brands such as Salesforce and Marketo make it into the top 50. This comes from creating great content.

How do top marketers use Twitter

#7. Top 50 brands most mentioned

Hubspot sneaks into the top 10 which I would put down to the consistent publishing of relevant blog posts that drive conversations. Twitter also appears on the list at #3.

Some consumer brands appear such as Starbucks. They know how to do social and coffee at the same time!

How do top marketers use Twitter

#8. Top 50 people most retweeted

Good to see some good friends and colleagues on this list including Jay Baer, Lee Odden, Ted Rubin, Brian  Solis, Jeff Sheehan, Steve Farnsworth (Steveology), Mark Schaefer and Mari Smith. Want to learn from the best? Visit their Twitter streams.

By the way, I managed to sneak in at #11.

How do top marketers use Twitter

#9. Top 50 people most mentioned

Gary Vee and Guy Kawasaki  are sort of hard to miss and make the top 10. I managed to bribe my way into the “Top 10” at #7.

Also in the mix is Sheryl Sandberg (Chief Operating officer at Facebook) and some good friends who I have met along the way online and offline including Cheryl Burgess, Kerry Gorgone, Glen Gilmore and Mitch Joel. These passionate, creative and social media artists have been producers of awesome and insightful content for a long time.How do top marketers use Twitter

#10. B2B and B2C marketers focus on different networks

Well that isn’t surprising! Some of the biggest differences are LinkedIn (24% B2B vs 14% B2C), Slideshare (18% vs 9%) and Facebook (13% vs 28%).

How do top marketers use Twitter

If you want to view the report in full you can download it here.

What about you?

What was the most revealing insight for you from this report? Any surprises?

Look forward to your feedback in the comments below.


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  • http://www.leaderbird.com/ Brent Stromme

    #6 and #7 look eerily similar. Wait…they ARE the same. :-)

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Thanks Brent. The image was correct but not the headline. Fixed and thank you for the crowd sourced editing! :)

      • http://www.leaderbird.com/ Brent Stromme

        Ha! No problemo! Loved the article, as always. Keep up the great work, Jeff, you’re making quite a difference out here. :-)

        • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

          Thanks Brent. :)

    • treb072410

      LOL.. But the post was a great read…

  • http://www.RonanKeane.com Ronan Keane


    Interesting and insightful. I’m a B2B marketer at a mid-size Telecom company and am surprised to see Foursquare towards the top of #10. Can you explain?

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      I am not quite sure as I didn’t crunch the numbers but it maybe personal use!

    • heyitskarri

      Hi Ronan, in that slide, we’re looking at content shared from varoius networks thru to Twitter, e.g., items created in Foursquare that are shared to Twitter. Foursquare does a good job of getting users to allow auto-posting of Foursquare checkins to Twitter, which is one reason we consistently see it in the top 10 networks. So, as a marketer, I may think about creating a special offer to drive Foursquare checkins at my booth or after-party at an industry event, knowing I’ll get reach into two networks for the price of one :) It’s also intended to show that marketers are active on multiple networks, not just the ‘big 3’. Hope that helps!

  • Fadzli Ghazali

    Good insight jeff, i see similar trend catching up in Asia this year especially for Twitter.

  • http://www.jerrydross.com/ Jerry D Ross

    for boiling down the information to some very useful lists of Top
    items. Great stuff! I can see using some of this knowledge in my
    marketing plan. Knowing what mediums are being used and the most
    mentioned people, etc gives tips on things to focus on with content
    sharing and creation, etc.

    to see you on the Top 10 people mentioned.
    for sharing.

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    I prefer Twitter because of the access. It’s been amazing to talk to people I greatly admire and actually have them respond.

  • http://feeling-healthy.net/ Joost Boers

    Interesting insight also to see the significance of mobile – and still the importance of the website of Twitter! I’m surprised this one being on the lead ranking of all access/posting ‘mechanisms’.

  • http://www.gauraw.com/ Kumar Gauraw

    Great insights Jeff! Wow! It’s definitely amazing to see How Google+ ranks here in spite of all that buzz going on around Author Rank and all that. Great stuff!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.SellYourNonfiction.com/ LaurieWinslowSargent

    Bribing your way? Haha. No, you got in the top 10 and are retweeted often because you have great articles we love to share with others. You make us look good when we share your insights! Thanks, Jeff.

  • Akash Agarwal

    Wow! nice information. I am really very happy to read this article. It will help a lot all the twitter users. Thanks for sharing.

  • Coss Marte

    This was great now I could concentrate on promoting my business, “CossAthletics” a low risk injury fitness bootcamp in NoHo, utilizing the top social media sites and not wasting my time on all of them.

  • Patrick Miller

    That’s definitely a very well written and a well researched article. About the II point in your article which is about the preferred apps, I would also like to see Sociota.Net in this list as they have a plethora of nice features.

  • Patrick Miller

    That’s definitely a very well written and a well researched article. About the II point in your article which is about the preferred apps, I would also like to see Sociota in this list as they have a plethora of nice features.