Companies that answer questions more attractive to users
Social sites like Quora are designed specifically as question-and-answer venues where users can get expert help, but Twitter often serves as an informal tool for the same purpose. Users might ask their followers for advice, ask the world what a particular trending topic means, or hope for customer service help from a brand.
According to May 2011 research from InboxQ, a service to feed businesses questions from Twitter, Twitter users—especially ones with more followers and thus, presumably, more experience—tend to ask questions with tweets directed at all followers rather than using @ replies or direct messages. This means questions are often not directed at a relevant brand, but many users want brands to answer them anyway.
Eight in 10 Twitter users surveyed worldwide said they thought the answers businesses posted on Twitter were at least as trustworthy as those from regular people, and about six in 10 said they wanted businesses to respond to them on the microblogging service.
Yet just 21% of Twitter users with under 100 followers and 41% of users with over 100 followers said they had actually received a response from a business via Twitter.
Users indicated that more responsive brands would benefit from greater loyalty and purchasing. Almost 60% of respondents said they would be more likely to follow a brand that answered them, and 64% said they would be more likely to make a purchase from that brand.
InboxQ may have an interest in getting businesses to pay attention to questions posted to Twitter, but this research meshes with an already robust body of data about the kinds of interactions many social media users hope to have with brands. Consumers often indicate that they understand and accept the value exchange of connecting with companies in return for information that can help them. And they also often want brands to pay attention to them and not take their business for granted now that they have access to the powerful voice social media provides.