The Top 20 Brands On Twitter, Ranked By Influence With Customers

Twitter Top 20 4x3

If you have ever traveled on Delta and have a customer service question, @DeltaAssist is probably the fastest way to get your answer.While some brands are still learning how to use social media, a few have already found that Twitter is an incredibly important customer relations management tool.

We ranked the most powerful brands on Twitter by cross-referencing Twitahollic’s most-followed list with Fortune’s Top 100 brands.

We then narrowed the list to only those brands that interact with followers—meaning that some major companies, like Apple, aren’t on here. We also asked each company to tell us how they manage their Twitter audience.

What follows are the brands that use Twitter the best, and have the most clout with customers in the Twittersphere.

20. Best Buy

  • @BestBuy
  • Followers: 266,000
  • Tweeting since: November 19, 2008

Interesting note: Many of the Best Buy retail locations have their own accounts, like this one.

19. Adidas

  • @adidasoriginals
  • Followers: 285,000
  • Tweeting since: February 8, 2009

Interesting fact: Adidas has a list of its brand ambassadors, including controversial designer Jeremy Scott, the man responsible for the show picture.

18. Target

  • @Target
  • Followers: 338,000
  • Tweeting since: November 11, 2009

Interesting note: Over the last month Target has seemingly slowed down its interaction on Twitter.

17. Delta

  • @Delta
  • Followers: 340,000
  • Tweeting since: May 10, 2007

Interesting note: @Delta likes to show off its holiday surprises, like this one on Valentine's Day.

16. Nike

  • @Nike
  • Followers: 475,000
  • Tweeting since: November 18, 2011

Interesting note: @Nike has favorited only one tweet, this one from surfer Carissa Moore.

15. McDonald's

  • @McDonalds
  • Followers: 516,000
  • Tweeting since: September 2, 2009

Interesting note: McDonald's has bios of its Twitter operators on its site. You can find it here.

14. American Express

13. Coca-Cola

  • @CocaCola
  • Followers: 566,000
  • Tweeting since: March 26, 2009

Interesting note: The Coca-Cola Twitter account is about as multilingual as they come, particularly during soccer tournaments.

12. Verizon Wireless

  • @VerizonWireless
  • Followers: 746,000
  • Tweeting since: July 24, 2009

Interesting note: Verizon hosted a #Twindy500 on Twitter to coincide with its Indy car sponsorship. Drivers tweeted various challenges to fans, who completed the tasks for points. The winners received a trip to the Indianapolis 500 and a new phone.

11. Pepsi

  • @Pepsi
  • Followers: 848,000
  • Tweeting since: December 15, 2008

Interesting note: @Pepsi actually utilizes Twitter's List feature, something rare for brands. The sporadically used function allows for users to categorize people into groups that other users can follow.

10. Research In Motion (BlackBerry)

  • @BlackBerry
  • Followers: 998,000
  • Tweeting since: April 29, 2008

Interesting note: @BlackBerry doesn't tweet very often from the Twitter for BlackBerry app.

9. Playstation

  • @PlayStation
  • Followers: 1,329,000
  • Tweeting since: November 27, 2007

Interesting note: @PlayStation has a PS Family list, which is a list of what appears to be 19 female bloggers. All 19 blog about consumer products, but it's unclear why they have the special tag.

8. Southwester Airlines

  • @SouthwestAir
  • Followers: 1,355,000
  • Tweeting since: July 2, 2007

Interesting note: Southwest tells users exactly who is running its account:

7. Woot

  • @woot
  • Followers: 1,634,000
  • Tweeting since: January 30, 2007

How many people run the account(s) in total?
Dave Rutledge, president Woot Workshop: The primary posts from @woot are automated - daily updates of what's on Woot. We've got a social media coordinator (aren't we fancy!) that replies non-stop to fans and followers. I and a few others have access to allow for immediate responses, site news, and the occasional random gag.

Is the account staffed 24 hours/7 days a week?
At a place like Woot, with our midnight launches, we're all on call at all times, so there's procedures in place to get updates out any time they're needed. That sounds fancier than it is - we make frantic calls and wake everyone up.

Do any of the people who operate the Twitter accounts not have personal accounts?
A little bragging: I got on Twitter early enough to get a coveted one character account: @_. I bet the people who help run our Twitter account have multiple personal and hobby accounts. It's kind of in our genes.

Most frustrating part of communicating via Twitter?
The hardest part is workin 2 fit ur msg N2 D 140 characters & get out what u want 2 say w/out lookin like a complete idiot. #andThenAHashtag

What happens when Twitter goes down?
We actually have that handled:

favourite Twitter app?
I'm all about the Tweetbot on my phone & iPad, personally, but for the company accounts we make use of TweetDeck and HootSuite that have advanced searches and stats.

6. Etsy

  • @etsy
  • Followers: 1,652,000
  • Tweeting since: November 19, 2008

Interesting note: Both of the people who staff Etsy's account (Laura Chin & David Leon Morgan) have pretty lengthy bios on the site.

5. Toms

  • @Toms
  • Followers: 1,666,000
  • Tweeting since: June 4, 2008

Interesting note: @Toms is still active, but is among the least active Tweeters on the list. Whole Foods started tweeting a few days after @Toms and has close to 10 times as many tweets.

4. Jet Blue

3. Samsung

  • @SamsungMobileUS
  • Followers: 2,016,000
  • Tweeting since: May 12, 2011

How many people run the account(s) in total?
Colleen McDuffe, director of digital marketing: We have two dedicated community managers, but up to five people manage the overall channel including strategy and voice, paid media, Twitter programs such as #FEED, and creative.

What's your favourite part of the job?
How passionate our followers are. People form very emotional connections to our products, since they use their phones for everything from work to entertainment and communicating with family and friends. Our biggest reward is when our fans use our products to capture important memories and then get excited to share them with us through Twitter.

What has been your favourite reply?
It's really hard to narrow down to just one! One recent example is a tweet we received from a very proud Dad who wanted to show off a fantastic illustration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that his son created on the Galaxy Note.

What happens when Twitter goes down?
We get separation anxiety from our fans… No joke. And since 80% of our branded conversations happen on Twitter, we definitely breathe a sigh of relief when it comes back up.

Most stressful time of the year?
Our most stressful, but also most fun times of the year are when we introduce new products, like the Galaxy S III. Our followers really go wild.

favourite Twitter app?
TweetDeck--it's simple, beautiful, and plugs right into Chrome!

2. Starbucks

  • @Starbucks
  • Followers: 2,625,000
  • Tweeting since: November 29, 2006

Interesting note: @Starbucks has been active longer than @twitter, which started tweeting on February 20, 2007.

1. Whole Foods

  • @WholeFoods
  • Followers: 2,732,000
  • Tweeting since: June 16, 2008

How many people run the account(s) in total?
Natanya Anderson, senior social media program manager: We have a primary community manager and additionally three other people.

What's your favourite part of the job?
The ability to connect 1-on-1 with customers every day, many times a day. We have a lot of fun with our customers, especially because we are not in the stores.

Do any of the people who operate the Twitter accounts not have personal accounts?
No. That's one of the requirement for the team.

Most frustrating part of communicating via Twitter?
Sometimes getting the information that we need to help it may be frustrating it may take 3 or 4 tweets. It's very helpful for us to know where (a customer was). Sometimes it takes 3-4 tweets to get all the info.

What has been your favourite reply?
Just recently Adam Lambert tweeted at us about how much he loves Whole Foods. It's not just because he was a celebrity. It's just the shared passion -- it's really our favourite part when our customers tell us that something great happened in stores.

What are you learning from Twitter?
I think we are learning the way that people want to get customer service broadly. They want to say something to the brand and they want to hear something back is changing as social is changing. People are immediately sharing their opines when something either good or bad. Those opportunities are growing exponentially.

favourite Twitter app?
Spredfast is our main tool for our national accounts.

Pepsi might have more followers on Twitter ...

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