Are those holding down real industry jobs too busy to be tweeting?

It’s an easy conclusion to draw. We’ve just completed a study in Europe for two traditional manufacturing marketplaces. We’ve now enough experience over the years that we can make an educated guess in advance of studying a market whether it’s likely to be primarily online-, offline- or social-influenced.

Out of 100 individuals, identified by us to be the most influential, guess how many had an active Twitter account? One from which they’d tweeted in the past two or even three months. Just seven. Now even I can work that out to be just 7%. And that’s not to say they were prolific users. Or regular. Or that they’d tweeted anything meaningful in that time. But they had used it.
The correlation that was impossible to ignore was that these top 100 influencers barely featured any industry commentators – a minimal number of industry analysts, journalists or bloggers – and very few industry consultants. Now these are typically heavy Twitter users. Remove these and, in B2B terms, the use of Twitter (amongst non-marketers) falls to almost zero.
What was most interesting was the reaction of our client to this finding. It was no surprise at all. They said that the only pressure to adopt Twitter as an outreach channel came from marketing blogs, magazines, forums, etc. They’d never heard from any customer or prospect mentioning Twitter as a preferred channel.
Time and time again we see this gulf between the blind rush to use Twitter amongst marketers and the absolute apathy from would-be customers. I always feel like I’m swimming against the tide making this point. Until I talk to almost every customer.

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