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Analyzing the Success of the Two Most Popular Branded Twitter Accounts

Our guest blogger takes a look at Starbucks and Samsung Mobile's incredibly popular Twitter accounts, and pinpoints some of the secrets to their success.

To give you some inspiration for your own Twitter marketing, I’m going to look at data and content from the two most successful branded Twitter accounts right now:



Having the most followers possible is such a huge bonus for a branded Twitter account. You get to directly market to your audience when you have an important message, and you have the highest chance of going viral. Every one of your Followers is a potential Retweet away from introducing your brand to new audiences. This is why having a plan to find new Twitter Followers, even when you think you 'have enough,’ is so important.

How Samsung Mobile became the biggest branded Twitter account

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You’d think @SamsungMobile had some sort of big controversy happen recently. Why would a phone company have so many Twitter followers otherwise? But luckily for them, that isn’t the case. Samsung Mobile’s just done tremendous work getting into the minds of their target Twitter user. They’ve created great content that appeals to consumers on their level, and used some simple branded hashtags.

Looking at their last 6 months of growth we see a big spike around January 14:



At the time they had two major campaigns under way. The first was for their #GalaxyA5 and #GalaxyA7 phones (and hashtags! See? Simple.). They were accompanied by photos that usually looked like this:



Let’s not kid ourselves, one of the biggest appeals for the modern smartphone owner is how good their selfies will look. Samsung Mobile tapped into this for their campaign and saw their retweets shoot up, with their Followers count rising quickly because of this.

Their second campaign was for the new GearS smart wristwatch. The hashtag was a bit too generic as it was used by many unrelated people as #gears. Fortunately, interest in this product was very high with the Apple iWatch boosting interest overall. Samsung kept to their direct approach and showed people the product in a familiar way:



There’s no elaborate clothing, just an average hand wearing a not so average watch. Samsung have grown their Twitter Follower base by working to look and act just like them.

Take this to heart when marketing on Twitter – users want to follow accounts that look like their own and those of their friends.

How Starbucks became the biggest thing since fresh coffee

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Starbucks focuses on building a story for all of their products that make them more than just your everyday joe. Nearly everything they do on their Twitter account is about building stories around their drinks and snacks. Some of those stories they create, and some are created by their followers. Their consistency reflects in their Follower growth:



But growth sharpened around May 5th. At that time they had teamed up with Studio, an app that lets you spruce up your photos, and brought the hashtag #MakeSomeFun into the mix. Here’s a fun one that was shared by @Frappuccino:



@Frappuccino is a Starbucks account, but many ordinary fans joined in and shared their photos, videos, and Vines as part of a series of challenges that all connected to the #MakeSomeFun hashtag. Challenges were silly like "make your best sip face”, "show love for your particular order”, and a "Find a Frappucino” contest that was like "Where’s Waldo”.

This is the kind of fan engagement you want to have if you want to see a spike in your Followers like Starbucks was seeing around the beginning of May. The most important content that is created by your account won’t be created by you. It will be created by your followers.

Starbucks have seen HUGE gains during the #MakeSomeFun campaign. They’ve been the fastest growing branded Twitter account over the last 6 months:



It’ll take them sometime, and another inventive campaign, but they may pass Samsung Mobile by the end of the year if they keep this up.

When you get the chance to work with a viral influencer, as Starbucks has with NBC’s The Voice and via a not-really-from-Oprah hashtag called #OprahChai, plan to sustain that endorsement after the tweets are over. Use a hashtag that can be pulled out again in the future to continue that brand story, and remind your followers of the campaign.

What we can learn from the top two Twitter accounts

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First, this is all analysis done with very basic data and a few hours worth of investigation. There is a nearly limitless amount of data that you can pull out of Twitter. What we’ve learned from these two accounts is:

  • Samsung Mobile succeed because they don’t pretend to be 'above’ their followers. They take selfies, they don’t use models, they’re on your level, and theirs looks like a non-branded Twitter account.
  • Samsung Mobile’s branded hashtags are better when they’re more personal. #GalaxyA5 and #GalaxyA7 are both unique. #GearS is not. I would have used something like #SamsungGearS to keep that brand story separate from bicycle riders talking about the new #gears on their bike.
  • Starbucks invite fans to include themselves in the conversation around their drinks and turn their products into stories.
  • Working with viral influencers, and creating lasting ways to stretch those influencers with a hashtag, helps Starbucks expand their reach and extend the 'lifespan’ of viral influencers.

You may not have the budget of these big corporations, but you do have the ability to scale their ideas to match your abilities and budget. If you feel that these brands aren’t your competitors in any way, you now have a rough blueprint for how to analyse your own competitors and gain an edge on them.


Matthew is the social marketing writer over on the Devumi SMM Blog. You can visit the blog every Friday to learn more about Devumi through their weekly blog posts, or check out this review website. For all the Twitter fans reading this article, please visit and follow the Devumi Gorilla – the most POWERFUL social marketer around!

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