Twitter’s a relatively new tool for banks, but some early trends are starting to emerge on how it’s being used—and not used.

According to a William Mills study, he most common uses of Twitter were replies to other tweets, at 44.1 percent; links to Web addresses, 24.7 percent; and internal news, 8.1 percent.
Only 2.7 percent of  the 1,176 tweets posted by 63 financial institutions in March were product promotions, 2.1 percent industry news, and 1.7 percent community relations—all branding functions considered to be a major appeal of Twitter for corporate users.    

William Mills organized financial institutions that are active on Twitter into six groups. Problem solvers, such as BofA and Wachovia, use Twitter as online customer service centers. Community activists, such as 1st Mariner Bank and Brewery Credit Union, use it to share information on events and activities. Informers, such as CU Community Credit Union, us it as a repository for information and articles. Communicators, such as Group Health Credit Union, are notable for “retweets” and replies. Social butterflies are managed by individuals who use tweets as an expression of their personalities. And sideliners are financial instructions with fewer than five tweets during the period, and are using the sites as placeholders to prevent “brandjacking.”

The firm also identified the most active Twitter accounts during the month: Bank of America’s David Knapp with 199 posts, Group Health Credit Union’s Shannon Perry with 171 posts, Wachovia Bank with 124 posts, 1st Mariner Bank with 106 posts, CU Community Credit Union’s Jenny Reynolds  with 60 posts and Pioneer Credit Union’s Michelle Kozak with 54 posts.
These users produced 60 percent of the tweets analyzed by William Mills, and the top 20 percent of accounts surveyed produced 80 percent.

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