San Francisco, California—Twitter just might be more than a social media platform to announce new products and services offered by small businesses. It could also serve as a prediction tool for the level of success a small business will reach.
Researchers at Indiana University may have found this to be the case. In a study conducted by Fabio Rojas, Johan Bollen and Joseph DiGrazia examining tweets containing mentions of a political office candidate correlate with the number of votes that same candidate receives at the ballot box.
Twitter Can Also Predict Television Ratings
Following the research regarding political candidates, the researchers at Indiana applied the same methodology to television. That too, proved to be a measurable tool for predicting whether or not a TV show would be popular with audiences.
“We call this the ‘all publicity is good publicity’ finding. Even if you don’t like somebody, you would only talk about them if they’re important,” Rojas, an associate professor of sociology at College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington told FOX Business.
The Research by the Numbers
Analyzing 537 million tweets, posted during the 2010 midterm and the 2012 presidential election, researchers found that the candidate for the United States House of Representatives who was most mentioned in those microblog messages received a greater percentage of votes than their opponent.
Studying 221 prime time television shows, 29 percent of those shows mentioned most in tweets recorded increased ratings. These findings come on the heels of another study, conducted by eMarketer, which states that 72 percent of Americans are using social media, up from 67 percent at the end of 2012.
Twitter itself is quickly growing, with 18 percent of internet users now having an account, which is up a whopping 8 percent from 2010. The number of people on Twitter aged between 18 and 64 years doubled. However, users over 65 only recorded a very small increase.
The research strongly suggests that small businesses can use the social microblog to gain greater insight into their audience.