Entertainment businesses are the Twitter stars in Manchester

Mancunian tweeters have held forth a light showing the way ahead for marketers looking to exploit the potential of social networking, according to research from a Manchester-based marketing consultancy.

The agency reckons it has devised a unique methodology that measures the most influential people and accounts on Twitter – a measurement system which shows that news and media Twitter accounts are the piss-poorest at actually engaging with internet users.

The research is intended to show those organisations that have not yet embraced Twitter’s marketing value and those that have embraced social media, but in an arse-about-face way, just how it should be done.

The Manchester Twitter Report has been researched and published by online marketing agency theEword over the last six months and is available freely.

At the heart of its findings was an algorithm that assessed Twitter accounts across three criteria – engagement, popularity and involvement in the Twitter community. Accounts were then ranked by their total score.

Accounts have been divided into eight categories. They are not-for-profit, nightlife, leisure service, business, retail, culture, organisations and news and media.

It threw up some interesting – and sometimes surprising – findings. Firstly, nightlife accounts were the outright winner, scoring 86 points, followed by leisure on 67.2. Both categories demonstrated the strongest levels of engagement, tweeting regularly and mixing interactive and broadcast elements into their posts.

Most tellingly, the poorest-scoring category was news and media – a sector that if the report’s findings are to be believed, it still mired in tradition.

The category scored just 34.1 points, and was even behind the not-for-profit sector (35.9). Both categories demonstrated a lack of engagement with other Twitter users. Media, however, scored highly on broadcast, but then so it should.

That the sector scored badly in interactivity, with a “near total lack of interaction with other Twitter users”  speaks volumes about how the media continues to talk down to people, while trumpeting the contrary.

Of the accounts the report assessed, Manchester’s Walrus Bar scored highest, totting up 147.1 points. According to theEword, it stands out because it gives followers a “constant stream of informal and conversational tweets”.

Other Manchester Twitter stars that stood out were online clothing store FIFTYEIGHT (@FT8), that was second with 119.7 points, followed by club night Clique Manchester (@cliqueclub) with 100.8 points. Also doing well was Base Cafe Bar (@base_cafe_bar) with 99.2 points and design studio Young (@weareyoung) with 97.2 points.  Great examples of small outfits doing things really well.

Tom Mason, social media manager at theEword and the report’s author, said: “Social media marketing helps build brand awareness, enhance customer loyalty, increase conversions, promote special offers and much more.

“However, many organisations still have room for improvement. Official accounts often make basic mistakes such as lacking personality, lapsing into unprofessionalism, straying off topic and failing to mix up the scheduling of tweets.”

While it’s common knowledge that the likes of media organisations have thrown wads of cash at social media, if the findings of this report are to be believed (and intuitively, I feel that they should be), their adoption of social networking is pure tokenism. They are failing to grasp that one word – ‘social’.

It’s not rocket science – neither is it complicated, nor is it expensive. So rather than throw around yet more money, the social media dinosaurs need to evolve digitally or face extinction.