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Funny, followers and follow back; how social cues affect our perceptions on Twitter

Resident Twitter How do you decide which Twitter accounts to follow? Which do you trust? Which Tweets do you reTweet? The obvious answer to all of these questions is, “the ones I think are interesting or entertaining.” But without evening knowing it, your choices are based on social proofs that you’ve picked up in a split second – unconscious cues that help you quickly decide what’s worth your time and what isn’t.

Digital agency Isobar partnered with researchers from Cambridge University, to see what types of cues are most likely to influence folks on Twitter.They ran tests using a Twitter account for a fictional clothing brand that was about to launch. Then, they tweaked different elements of the profile and recorded the results.

The first thing they looked at is how the number of Followers on an account influenced potential Followers.

A larger following had no impact on “likeability” of a brand but unfortunately it did have an impact brand trust.

isobar trust followers

The larger the following, the more people said they trusted the brand. Isobar likens this to checking out a restaurant in a new city. If the restaurant is crowded, we automatically assume the food must be good there. The same thinking applies to Twitter. It’s unfortunate because the number of Followers is one of the few things we can’t control on social. . . well, not in an organic way. I’m always railing against buying Twitter Followers but doing so would raise your trust level with customers. How ironic.

Next, Isobar looked at the tone of the company bio. They created a funny bio, a serious bio and responsible bio which was more emotional with a note about giving money to charity.

The funny and serious bios both came out on top on the consideration scale. This means people were likely to recommend, buy from or follow the brand.

isobar tone

There are plenty of reports that show people respond well to socially responsible companies, but it wasn’t the case here.

Now, trust is a different issue. As much as people responded positively to the funny bio, they trusted the serious bio. 24% of people gave the serious bio a 5 or higher for trust. Only 20% did so for the funny bio. Only 15% gave a high trust score to the responsible bio. This could mean that people don’t believe companies are genuine when they talk about their charity efforts in a public forum.

Finally, here’s one that blew me away. Social etiquette says you should follow back when someone follows but that action could do you more harm than good.

isobar follow back

Consideration, trust and willingness to purchase from all drop off drastically when a brand follows more than 1,000 people. Isobar believes this is because it makes it look as if the brand is simply following people in hopes of the follow back.

Likeability is the only factor that actually rises with the following. So if you want people to like you but don’t care if they trust you, follow everyone you can!

via Marketing Pilgrim - Internet News and Opinion


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