A mere 13% of Canadians consider themselves Twitter followers, according to a new study released by Exact Target called “Subscribers, Fans and Followers: The Digital North.” The study defines a “follower” as a person with a Twitter account who follows at least one company or brand.

Conducted in March 2013, the study explored how Canadians behave online with a focus on email, Facebook and Twitter.

It reveals a number of interesting findings including:

  • When and how Canadians use email, Facebook and Twitter
  • How consumers are motivated in the three channels
  • What Canadian marketers should do to communicate more effectively

Who is on Twitter?

It is not surprising that just over one in ten Canadians are following a brand on Twitter. In fact, it is about three points higher than I expected. The study also corroborates what we already know about most social media platforms: younger Canadians are more active than older ones:


Given its relatively small penetration, the biggest benefit to B2B and B2C brands on Twitter is the platform’s ability to engage with influencers. The most active Twitter users are blogging and creating content in other places—or running the world in movies, music and other forms of popular entertainment.

Consider Canadian tweeters such as Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield), Howie Mandel (@howiemandel), Seth Rogen (@sethrogen), Michael J. Fox (@realmikefox) and Michael Buble (@michaelbuble). Each one of these celebrities has a large following on Twitter, but their real influence is in other realms.

What motivates Canadians to follow a brand on Twitter?

Exact Target’s study also examined what motivates Canadians to follow a brand on Twitter:


These results surprised me. I expected to see more statements relating to customer service, such as “have my questions answered about their products/services” or “gain immediate access when I have a problem with their products/services.”


Canadian followers want companies to keep them informed about their products, provide access to exclusive content and offer discounts or money-off promotions. In fact, of all the channels reviewed in Exact Target’s research study, Twitter followers tend to be the most open to receiving marketing messages.

Go figure.

Nevertheless, these findings do not mean B2C and B2B brands on Twitter should immediately start blasting out promotional messages. Followers still expect brands to follow best practices including retweeting, engaging with followers by asking questions, having conversations and responding to inquiries.

If you need help with your brand’s Twitter presence, feel free to give us a call at 416.597.1518.


Written by Shelley Pringle