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The Biggest Accounts on Twitter: What Brands Make the Cut?

by DA, posted 23 days ago
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In 2012 we published a blog post, 17 brands in Twitter’s overall top 100, what are today’s most followed brands on Twitter? Well, five years is a lifetime on social media (forget about dog years, social must have about a 20 to 1 ratio, so let’s call it the turn of a new century, okay?) and we decided it was time to take another look.

How are brands evolving on Twitter today? Whose social media game is strong enough to compete with the likes of Barack Obama, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and Ellen DeGeneres (all in the top 10)? Curious to find out? So were we. Let’s dive in.

Since 2012 the top 10 brands on Twitter have seen quite the shake-up with more than half as new kids on the block. Take a look.

brands twitter table1

YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, CNN Breaking News, and The New York Times remain some of the strongest brands in the Twittersphere, but Sports Center, ESPN, and Real Madrid have entered the scene, along with BBC Breaking News and just regular ol’ CNN.

But, of course, rankings aren’t the only thing that’s changed in five years. As the number of Twitter users has risen steadily, so have the audiences for these brands.

Back in 2012 YouTube had just over 20 million followers. Today that number tops 70 million, an increase of more than 340% (we double-checked the math ;). Today the top 10 brands on Twitter can claim, collectively, over 432 million sets of eyeballs, a staggering amount.

In total there are 21 brands now represented in the Twitter Top 100 (up from a count of 17 in our last post), with an audience of almost 17 million on the low end (Twitter Video) and 70 million at the top (YouTube). Let’s take a look at the whole list.

table2

What stands out on the list?

Well, for starters, news (BBC, CNN, Reuters), social platforms (YouTube, Twitter, Instagram), and sports (NFL, Real Madrid, ESPN) reign supreme, with a few outliers (like NASA and National Geographic) thrown in for good measure.

We can probably all rest a little easier knowing that people are at least as interested in lions and tigers and bears as they are in some of the Kardashian clan (Kourtney and Kylie rank in the bottom third of the top 100 along with National Geographic).

Of course, where there are winners, there must be losers. Let’s take a look at who’s dropped in rankings since 2012.

brands twitter table3

Overall this is a happy story for most – Instagram is the only brand still on the list who dropped (and only by two spots). The New York Times killed it, rising six places.

But with so many newcomers we can also see that five names dropped out of the running entirely: Twitter en español, Ubersocial, Twitpic, FC Barcelona, Programa Panico. #RIP

How did others avoid that fate?

The brands that made the cut are skilled at leveraging social media to create a personal connection with their followers and not just another sales pitch. They deliver valuable content, they post consistently, and they engage in real-time conversations with their audience to build long-lasting relationships.

Twitter is still one of the most active social sites on the planet, second only to Facebook. It’s one of the world’s favorite networking sites, whether you’re an individual with something to say, or a brand trying to make a mark. It’s fast-paced and it’s interactive.

It can be overwhelming because Twitter was designed for people, not brands, so yeah, sometimes it feels like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

But the 21 brands we see cracking the code show that it is possible for businesses to come across as more than just a logo and a product, they can create their own voice and their own personality to share with the Twitterverse. Today there are 21 brands in Twitter’s Top 100. Give it 5 more years (a century in social media time) and let’s see where that number lands.

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