Cape Town - Retailers have the option to use Twitter to communicate promotions and issues directly to their customers, but they should also bear in mind that users of the social network are mobile.
According to the micro-blogging site - which has increasingly turned its attention to emerging markets such as India, Brazil and SA - users on the social network are keen to engage with brands they care about.
"The research showed that Twitter mobilised smartphone shoppers. Four in 10 users said they had taken action after seeing information from a smartphone or wireless service brand on Twitter, whether they followed the brands, visited its site of searched for it online," Twitter said of a Millward Brown survey of 1 238 US online consumers aged 18 - 54.
According to the social network, users favoured specific kinds of content.
"As to kinds of content Twitter users like to see, most popular were deals and promotions (43%), information about service coverage and outage issues (33%), funny or light-hearted content (31%), tips (31%) and new device launches (27%)."
But social media can be a minefield and an expert has warned that companies must tread carefully when exploring social networks.
"Feedback mechanisms are far easier, response times can be quicker. Yes, also the risk is obviously larger as well - particularly if companies respond inappropriately to criticism or failure. Non-response is just as detrimental as the wrong response," social media consultant for Afrosocialmedia Samantha Fleming told Fin24.
The survey found that 17% of people on the micro-blogging site had communicated with brands and those who received responses from telecom companies had a positive attitude.
Fleming said that social media interaction was key to driving a positive brand message.
"As social media grows up a little, people are less fixated on numbers (well, mostly!) and more interested in valuable two-way interaction that can take place."
Twitter offered the following tips for brands to more fully engage with consumers:
• Smartphone users like to see promotions, deals, coverage and outage issues - reflect these interests in your tweets.
• Find positive ways to engage and reward users regularly.
• Use Twitter to forge deeper connections with customers.
• If spreading the word about your brand is the goal, Twitter is a good place to start.
• Craft Tweets that appeal to users at every stage of the purchase cycle, and don't underestimate the power of a retweet or recommendation.
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