Other primary focuses for Kiwi Twitter users were consumer technology or mobile telecommunications (36 percent), travel and leisure (17 percent) and cars (10 percent).
Burman was unable to share the number of New Zealanders on Twitter, but says 77 percent of Twitter’s user base is outside the US. The demographic data he supplied shows around half of a sample population of Kiwi users surveyed by Twitter were young and upwardly mobile. Sixty percent were male, and 54 percent were aged under 34.
One in three New Zealand users said they purchased items from brands they follow on Twitter or recommended them to others. Around the same percentage of users wanted to hear more from brands, with 27 percent keen for the latest product information; 26 percent after deals and promotions or news about the brand and its products; and 20 percent wanting to take part in competitions or events.
Twitter head of communications Nathan Burman is currently visiting New Zealand from Twitter’s Australian office with international revenue manager Olly Wilton.
Many of the retailers NZ Retail spoke to as part of its spotlight on social media, Window Shopping, did not prioritise Twitter as a marketing platform. Amy Sznicer from Dry & Tea called it the voice of the brand, describing it as more of a B2B channel.
In response, Wilton says Twitter is highly flexible – “It’s a ‘make your own adventure’”.
“It’s the shortest distance between you and what interests you the most.”
He spoke of how the global fashion label Burberry has made Twitter the focus of its digital strategy, tweeting from multiple customised accounts and providing 24-hour customer assistance via @burberryservice.
Wilton says retailers wanting to incorporate Twitter into their digital offering can make up a hashtag, or include their Twitter handle in their business cards.
“If you tell people where to have the conversation and how to have the conversation, they tend to have it a bit more.”
Twitter is currently testing a “Buy” button with a small number of retailers in the US. Wilton says the Australian team are “dying for it” to be introduced Down Under, but his best guess is that it may be rolled out later this year.
In response to a query about the perceived riskiness of having a commercial presence on Twitter, embodied by social media controversies like Woolworths’ attempt at a branded Anzac Day website, Wilton says the nature of Twitter enables brands to defend themselves and turn the situation around.
He mentioned Vodafone’s handling of the hashtag #vodafail, used by customers to complain about its service. The company monitors the hashtag and gets in touch with those tweeting it to offer assistance.
Wilton drew a comparison between a poorly-received television commercial, where watchers would “just shout at their television screens” and an equally disasterous Twitter campaign: “At least on Twitter, you’ve got the right of reply.”