Today, we’ve released a new report that explores the role of culture when it comes to how, where and with what purpose people in the United Kingdom and the United States engage on Twitter. “Twitter Usage Across the U.S. & U.K.” demonstrates the ways in which consumers of two relatively similar markets participate differently in social media, using Twitter as a proxy.
The findings from this report reveal important implications for marketers on both sides of the pond. As marketers continue to move towards a more global social marketing model to create a consistent brand presence and strengthen equity, it’s imperative to recognize the impact of culture – not only on how people perceive a brand, but also how they will relate to it in social media.
Key Takeaways in this Report:
1. Twitter users in the U.S. and the U.K. prefer to engage in the platform at different points of the day. US users are most active in the evening, whereas UK users intermittently update throughout the day as new topics of conversation arise. Marketers will want to understand the preferred time of activity for a regional audience, and align their content strategy accordingly to maximize engagement. For example, while UK consumers are active on Twitter throughout the day, there is a heightened possibility to catch their eye around lunchtime with relevant content.
2. Motivation for sharing varies greatly across cultures: UK users seek connection and conversation, while US users are driven by validation and self-expression. Understanding the cultural psyche of an audience can help marketers tailor content and messaging to better incentivize engagement. By playing into the motivations of an audience, brands can deliver a more relevant value exchange.
In the U.S., many brands have as much clout as celebrities, so validation of consumer self-expression from a major brand could spark a meaningful, long-lasting relationship. In the U.K., however, brands will want to focus on delivering significant “talkability” value – e.g. providing content that is interesting and worth commenting on – since validation is generally not the currency that those consumers seek most.
3. UK users are generally more positive than their US counterparts, and tend to avoid revealing overtly “raw emotion,” such as anger, on Twitter. Marketers will want to keep this in mind when developing a social tone of voice across different regions. Authenticity is a big factor in how brands approach consumers in the U.S., so quips about common frustrations can help make brands more relatable. Humanizing the brand is equally as important in the U.K., but it should be done in a way that generates a positive response, as that audience is less prone to air blatant grievances in social media.
4. People in the U.S. tend to be more opinionated when interacting with brands on Twitter. When evaluating consumer sentiment online, we recommend that marketers hold the U.K. and U.S. to different standards. This means that a slew of negative commentary coming from a US audience online might not point to a bigger issue offline, just as a lack of demonstrated brand love from UK users might not point to a lack of emotional connection to that brand within the general population.
Cover photo via Flickr