Study: It’s Better to Have no Twitter Account at all Than an Inactive One

A new study was released last month that examined the Twitter accounts of leading law firms in the UK, and the results tell a tale of only half an understanding of what Twitter is really all about. While the majority have a Twitter account, a surprising number of them have zero tweets.

The study was conducted by Intendance, a UK-based digital communication agency, in October 2010. It examined how the top 50 law firms in the UK used (or didn’t use) Twitter.

Some key findings of this report:

  • 66% of the top 50 firms examined have a Twitter account
  • Only 60% of those firms with a Twitter account had ever posted a tweet
  • It is unclear whether the firm itself actually owned the Twitter account in 25% of cases

A few interesting insights can be gleaned from these stats.

First, Twitter is being embraced by the majority of law firms in the UK. However, it is not being used to its fullest – 19 out of 48 personal and business Twitter accounts were completely inactive, without even a single tweet. And a significant portion of active Twitter accounts didn’t make it clear enough who actually owned the account.

The study also found that the quality of corporate accounts was generally low: there was little personal flair, and most of them were used for distributing press releases and statements. They note that this is likely because of privacy and disclosure issues, but the study also points out that personal accounts were more engaging.

While this study did look exclusively at law firms, almost any business will find some value in its findings. It’s not enough to simply set up a Twitter account and forget about it, or use it to repost press releases or blog posts – you’ve got to give it a personality, and engage with followers in order to make it effective.