By the end of 2011 there will be about 21 million Twitter users. Of those, 21%, about 4 million people, will be following brands on the social network. That number comes from research by Constant Contact, which tracks closely to previous research by Compete. One difference between the studies, however, is that most of those following brands do not do so for the discounts. Instead, most brand followers, 64%, follow because they are already customers of the brand. Of course, those people might keep following because they can receive discounts.
The question for the digital agency then is how to keep them following and how to capitalize on the Twitter following. 50% of respondents said that after following a brand and reading Tweets they were more likely to return to that brand for purchases. Among men, that number is actually closer to 55%. Recommending the brand also rises with Twitter followship.
While gaining Twitter followers might not be the ultimate goal, digital agencies can use Twitter to make past customers more likely to be returning customers. Followers are looking for discounts, but they are also looking to be the first to know about new events or products offered by the brand. This sort of engagement needs to be the goal for brands and the digital agencies that support them.