The Twitter conundrum: Why are so many brands ignoring tweets?

A recent study of 50 large brands found that fewer than one-third of those that have Twitter accounts answer customer tweets. They interact more on Instagram or Pinterest.

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That’s troubling, says Keith Evans, communications director at

“Leaving a tweet unanswered is more damaging than not having a Twitter profile at all, but many businesses learn this lesson too late,” he says.

Even more confounding is that Twitter seems to be alone among social networks in that regard. Though fewer retailers are active on Pinterest and Instagram, most of the ones that have active accounts on those networks regularly interact with customers.

So what’s the reason so many tweets directed at retailers engender no reply? Social media experts have a few theories.

Ignorance and fear

“Many businesses add social media responsibilities to an already overworked marketer, or they hire an intern or entry-level person to take it on,” says SEO consultant Jen Phillips April. “They don’t set clear expectations and benchmarks for success, because they don’t understand the way a tool like Twitter is used.”

Shari Spiewak, account executive at PR firm Breaking Limits, says that many people working for big brands view Twitter as simply perfunctory.

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