There is a lack of expected reciprocity by followers on Twitter. Thus, people who do follow you are in most cases genuinely interested in what you say. There can be huge disparities between a user, who he follows and who follow him. This can be seen by rapper Lil Wayne’s page (@liltunechi) with 5,907,502 followers yet he is only following 30 users. Nonetheless, all his posts are usually retweeted and favourited by 50+ users, this shows patterns of everyday consumption of users. The example of Lil Wayne shows that simple tweets can be produced and then consumed by hundreds of different users, who retweet the information forward, which may be retweeted again from the secondary user and eventually consumed by a mass audience. These include ‘trivial and everyday’ tweets like:
“Not on the Lin train”.
This shows that the information consumed and tweeted does not have to be ‘of great informational value’ if consumers feel they have a relationship to celebrities and idols like Lil Wayne. This shows a strong sense of relationship marketing.
Relationship marketing and creating extra value to consumers has become a growing trend for many years. It has been written about by many marketers like Annika Ravald and Christian Grönroos. It assumes that by creating a relationship with the consumer and creating more value in their offerings, and decreasing perceived risk, the consumer will come back for a repurchase. As the relationship grows, the consumer will feel safe and trust the business and eventually become loyal to them.
This has adapted to, and now is also seen on Twitter. Many celebrities and micro-celebrities will update their Twitter statuses with pictures, links, where they were, what they did and other ‘trivial’ information. Using the same idea of relationship marketing, it forms a bond and relationship with the user who follows them on Twitter; it enhances the bond with their followers (hence, creates more value) from the usual media outlets to a more intimate one (potentially eliminates risk as they see a certain authenticity in the celebrity, validating them as a real person rather than ‘someone on television’). The consumer can now consume their idols daily, people they love to hate, favourite artists and actors by knowing where they are, what they ate or seeing a picture they have taken and getting a glimpse into their personal life. It generates a sense of direct communication (by reading tweets, being able to produce replies, retweet or direct message) with the celebrities.
This means users (specifically celebrities) need to keep a certain level of authenticity to ‘prove’ they are real people as pure advertisements and marketing are unwanted. Also, failure to keep this authenticity up could result in a decline in followers. Users speak about authenticity to mean ideas such as tweeting about something personal and promotional. For example, if you are a marketing professor and realise most of your followers enjoy TED talks, you may mention one of your recent favourite talks. (Marwick & boyd, 2010).