UK more likely to have conversations on Twitter, while US users more likely to retweet and share opinions

Brands in the UK should focus on positivity on Twitter, while quips about common frustrations by brands in the US could help make them seem more relatable, research from 360i has found.

The research saw 400 posts, representative of the population of public Twitter conversations in the UK and US, studied as well as in-depth interviews carried out with users.

It was found that US users are most active in the evening, whereas UK users intermittently update throughout the day as new topics of conversation arise, with some using their lunch break to tweet and scan what other people are saying: something that brands should keep in mind when writing and targeting their tweets to different markets.

As well as timing, it was also found that the type of posts are likely to differ: 31 per cent of US posts are retweets, compared to only 17 per cent in the UK, while a third of tweets from both are original content (36 per cent in US versus 38 per cent in UK).This shows what brands should be aware of when tweeting: it is more likely to start a conversation with a user in the UK, with 36 per cent replying to posts, than in the US, where only 15 per cent with strike a conversation. This conversational difference could be in part due to the fact that, according to 360i, UK users express more joy in their tweets, while US users are generally angrier in their tone.The figures found that 40 per cent of tweets in the UK express joy, compared to 30 per cent in the US.360i suggested that this was important for brands in term of brand voice: “This insight becomes important when developing an effective brand voice for this platform. Authenticity is a big factor in how brands approach consumers in the US, being “real” and “genuine” is considered a virtue; consumers want brands to have the same problems as they do, so quips about long lines and other frustrations help make the brand more relatable. In the UK, on the other hand, while humanizing the brand is equally as important, it should be done in a way that generates a positive response. UK consumers are not expecting brands to be people; they are simply looking to be entertained and engaged in valuable conversation.” For both the UK and the US, mentions of brands on Twitter make up a small percentage of conversations: only five per cent of US tweets and six per cent of UK tweets will mention a brand. Overall, the 360i report concluded that audiences in the UK and the US react to brand messaging in social media very differently, and that marketers should take care to make sure that the tone of voice used reflects the behaviour of their target audience.

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