A nice post recently from TechCrunch suggests that for most businesses, it’s definitely beneficial to respond to people and engage on Twitter.
Currently I am not in Cancun. The reason I am not in Cancun is out of my control (an over three hour Virgin delay on the tarmac at JFK caused me to miss my connecting USAirways flight at SFO). I spent a good part of those three plus plane-trapped hours bitching on Twitter, asking both the @VirginAmerica and @USAirways Twitter accounts for guidance, because calling their respective 800 numbers either put me on hold or wouldn’t go through.
Guess which Twitter account responded? Guess which one I’ll consider purchasing tickets from again. And according to a recent survey of 2049 Twitter users completed by Twitter Q&A search service inboxQ, I am not alone: 64% of the inboxQ survey respondents were more likely to make a purchase from a business account that answered their questions on Twitter, 24% were just as likely and only 12% were less likely.
Another added benefit of answering user questions on Twitter (ARE YOU LISTENING @USAIRWAYS?) is that users are more likely to follow a business that answers their questions, at 59% versus 29% who are just as likely and 12% who are less likely.
The inboxQ survey results are filled with other lovely “well duh” info nuggets like how users with high follower accounts are more likely to receive answers to their questions, at 41% respondents with more than 100 followers receiving an answer from a business versus 21% with less than 100 followers (Maybe brands don’t think (it’s) worth the effort? Or maybe the questions from low volume accounts get lost in whatever social media monitoring service businesses are using?).
In any case, pro tip: If you’re a business serious about user engagement on Twitter, go out of your way to sincerely answer sincere questions from users, no matter how many followers they have. They might just end up buying something. Or not hating you.