Logo or no logo – How to brand your company on Twitter

In a recent post on the {grow} blog, Mark Schaefer discussed if brands should use a logo or a face as avatar on Twitter. The post “Your company’s single biggest mistake on Twitter” argues that brands would be better off by being more personal and use a photo of a person instead of a logotype. That would make it easier for followers to connect to the company on Twitter.

“If all you want to do is broadcast press releases, than go ahead and “go logo.” But if you want to create some authentic connection with your audience, I strongly recommend you put a face on the account.”

For larger companies or brands, I don’t think that’s a good idea. It might work for really small companies or for accounts that have a certain niche, like R&D or some other expert, but not for the main corporate account. Todd Defren yesterday published an email conversation about this topic that he had with his colleagues, and several of these arguments sound reasonable to me.

“I think a face is weird because it’s a company/entity not a person and as you say, people leave/change.  And some logos are iconic and memorable … My son knew companies by their logos before he could read, and now he is probably a Starbucks lifer.  But I might just be the oddball here.”
– Cathy

“Personally I identify with logos as well. It’s brand recognition. I don’t like Comcast or Pfizer more because they have a face or several faces (which can be confusing in itself!) associated with their Twitter handle. People identify with meaningful content, messages and customer service. That’s my two cents.”
– Melanie

“Agree on logos having a place. You can still be personable (and a person) within that brand. Consumers need to identify with you and the company that you represent.”
– Louise

The largest Swedish corporate accounts
I don’t believe at all that it is not possible to engage in conversation with customers if you have a logo as avatar. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular Swedish corporate accounts. The account with most followers is H&M (@hm). As much as 67% of its tweets are replies, which shows a high degree of conversation with other users. The second most followed account is Spotify (@spotify). 71% of its tweets are replies. Another example in the top ten is SJ (@sj_ab) with 91% replies.

As a comparison, both Mark Schaefer and I have a lower share of replies: 42% of our tweets are replies to others. Of course, that is no evidence that one strategy is better than the other, but I think it shows that is is possible to engage with customers on Twitter and still use a corporate logo.

The image below shows the 100 Swedish corporate Twitter accounts with most followers, from H&M (#1) to Björn Borg (#100). Only two of them have a photo of the person behind the account. A few use an image of the product (the Ice Hotel and Scania Group), but the vast majority use a logo.

Twitter avatars

Here is our list of more than 440 Swedish corporate Twitter accounts.

Footnote: Stats of %replies from Tweetstats.com

Curators and Conversationalists – a study of 350 Swedish corporate Twitter accounts

Twitter is one of the most popular and fastest growing social media services. As more and more people share information in real-time on Twitter, the more important it becomes for businesses to have a presence on Twitter. According to research, it is more common among Fortune Global 100 Companies to use Twitter than Facebook, YouTube and corporate blogs. Now that more and more Swedish businesses start to tweet, it gets interesting to study how they use Twitter. For that reason, I have compiled a list of more than 350 Swedish corporate Twitter accounts and studied the most popular ones.

An analysis of 350 Swedish corporate Twitter accounts reveal the average number of:

  • followers: 1,240
  • following: 480
  • tweets: 710

First registered account: Fleecelabs (@fleecelabs) which was registered on Jan 29, 2007.

Account with most followers: H&M (@hm) – 82,100

Account that follows most other accounts: Spotify (@spotify) – 16,500

Account with highest Klout score (influence): SJ (@SJ_AB) – 65

Account with most tweets: Ving/sistaminutenARN: (@sistaminutenARN) – 24,300

Account with highest followers/following ratio: H&M (@hm): 1,400 times more followers than following back.

60 accounts have more than 1,000 followers.

The ten most popular accounts, in terms of number of followers are:

  1. H&M (@hm) – 82,100
  2. Spotify (@spotify) – 72,000
  3. Stardoll (@stardoll) – 51,100
  4. Adland (@adland) – 21,400
  5. Acne Online (@acneonline) – 14,600
  6. Ericsson Labs/Tor Bjorn Minde (@ericssonlabs) – 10,800
  7. Ericsson Press (@ericssonpress) – 6,100
  8. SJ (SJ_AB) – 5,900
  9. Sony Ericsson DW (@sonyericssondev) – 5,900
  10. Propellerhead (@propellerheadsw) – 5,700

For a full list of live data with Swedish companies on Twitter, go here: http://twitterlists.toolboxr.com/swedish-companies/ . The list currently has 391 Twitter accounts. Also see the Social Media Wiki: http://socialmedia.wikidot.com/twitter-se

Read the report:

Twitter etiquette for businesses

Swedish businesses are starting to explore Twitter with varying degree of success. SMS loan company Folkia recently launched its Twitter account and quickly added several hundred users to follow, something that was discussed on Jaiku. It also published only promotional information about their own services and a few days later the account got suspended.


The same strategy was used by Myspace Nordic which added some 2,000 people in a few days. This procedure is called “aggressive following” (a large number of people are followed in a short amount of time) and is one reason (update: new link) a Twitter account may get suspended.

With these incidents in mind, here’s 10 advice for businesses that are about to engage on Twitter (parts of this is also published in Dagens Industri today).

  • Be clear about who the sender is. Is this the official Twitter channel then make that clear. If you can specify who is doing the tweeting it will be easier to get a more personal relationship with the company and it will also set the right expectations.
  • Twitter is a great tool for listening to customers and for dialogue in general. Answer direct questions and comments that are directed to the company on Twitter.
  • Give your followers something of value for following you. Share your knowledge, both from your own company but also from other sources. Excessive linking to your own site might be considered spam.
  • Retweet good tips from others. It shows your are willing to give cred to others and that you are up to date on things within your line of work.
  • Use common sense. All information (apart from Direct Messages) are public so normal confidentiality rules still apply.
  • Respect the privacy of others. Just because you have heard that transparency is the new black, that doesn’t mean it is ok to tweet about colleagues without their approval.
  • Add other sources of information to your Twitter feed if you think they are of value to your followers. It might be press releases, Flick photos, YouTube videos or promotional offers. But be careful, a feed with just press releases is extremely boring.
  • Don’t ask for retweets, unless you are posting a question you want many to see. That’s something you deserv by posting interesting information.
  • Don’t start following hundreds of people at once. It is called aggressive following and is one reason your account may be suspended by Twitter. But adding a small number of interesting people may be a good way to start building your network.
  • Avoid ghost twittering if you can. You can support the person in many ways but in the end the words should be his/her own.

Here are some examples of Swedish businesses on Twitter (many taken from a list on Webbsverige).

Björn Borg
Scania Group
Skanska Group
Telia Sonera Services