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One in five (20%) tweets posted on Twitter contains some type of inquiry or information about a specific product or service that is brand-related, according to study by a research team at Penn State University.

The study, which examined the phenomenon of micro-communicating and its value as a word-of-mouth medium, included the review and observation of more than half a million tweets, writes MarketingVOX.

Specifically, the research team sought out tweets that named brands to find out why the brand was mentioned – whether it be to review a product, inform others, or otherwise. It discovered that brand-tweeters do so in order to connect with products.

“Businesses use micro-communication for brand awareness, brand knowledge and customer relationship,” said Jim Jansen, associate professor of information science and technology in the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) at Penn State. “Personal use is all over the board. It may be right up there with e-mail in terms of its communication impact.”

The study also revealed that this relatively high percentage of brand -related tweets is providing companies – which increasingly use Twitter for brand-building, brand awareness and CRM – with a “rich source” of information regarding their wares.

Though the brand-related Tweets in the study had varying tonality, “a lot of the brand comments were positive,” Jansen said, adding that “there are some good products out there, or at least products that people are happy with.

“People are using tweets to express their reaction, both positive and negative, as they engage with these products and services,” said Jansen. “Tweets are about as close as one can get to the customer point of purchase for products and services.”

Despite the fact that studies have shown half of communicators think Twitter is a fad and that most tweets are in fact, “pointless babble, both Dell and Moonfruit recently announced they had run successful Twitter campaigns that built their respective brands and boosted sales.

About the research: The study was conducted by Jansen, along with IST doctoral student Mimi Zhang, undergraduate student Kate Sobel and Twitter chief scientist Abdur Chowdhury. It is among the first academic studies in the arena of micro-communication in business. Jansen is using it to lay groundwork for other oeuvres, including a study that queries how companies manage and use their Twitter accounts.Study results were published in the Journal of the American Society for Information Sciences and Technology.

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