How Companies on Forbes List Make Big Gains on Twitter

How Companies on Forbes List Make Big Gains on Twitter Kevin Shively Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

Forbes America’s Best Small Companies list brings together the most successful 100 small companies in the nation.

We used the Forbes collection as a a sample set for our Twitter Study in January, comparing their activities and engagement to the Interbrand 100 Best Global Brands.

At the time of the study, we collected three months of data then analyzed the activity, engagement, and tactics of the brands involved.

The methodology Forbes uses for this list is why we choose to look at it. These small companies are a relatable collection for savvy brand marketers. From the Forbes methodology for the list:

Our list of the 100 Best Small Companies in America features outfits with strong sales and earnings growth across industries. Candidates must have been publicly traded for at least a year, generate annual revenue between $5 million and $1 billion and boast a stock price no lower than $5 a share. For apples-to-apples comparisons we excluded financial institutions, REITs, utilities and limited partnerships.

We’re now midway through 2014, and I wanted to check back on the Forbes list to see how these companies were leveraging the network in 2014. It turns out, the 71% of these companies using Twitter are taking full advantage of the network.

Who’s Raising the Bar?

With over 51,566 Tweets sent since the beginning of the year, this group is incredibly active. Of the 71 companies active on Twitter, we’re looking at an average of 103 Tweets per account each month.

Samuel Adams tallied the highest total engagement (79,380 @Replies, Retweets, and Mentions), and Zumiez has the largest audience (121,591 Followers).

The first thing that caught my eye when I looked into this report was the growth in engagement since our study, so I wanted to look more closely at this change.

Engagement Growth

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In January, the 71 active brands from the Forbes list garnered a total of 35,694 engagements on Twitter (calculated here as @Replies, Retweets, and Mentions). In July, that number nearly doubled.

(Download the full 2014 “How Top Brand Marketers Use Twitter” study)

This engagement growth was primarily a function of two brands. Samuel Adams Beer and Zumiez, in addition to a few other active brands. Take a look at the top ten companies from the list (by total engagement since January).

Top 10 Brands by Engagement

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How Zumiez Made the Cut

Zumiez engagement was surprising to me. Not because I don’t think they’re a popular brand; they are. But for the first six months of the year, their engagement wasn’t astronomical…July was a different story.

Their engagement spike (which played no small part in the massive growth seen in the engagement chart above) was due mainly to a Q&A campaign using the hashtag #AskScumbag.


The brand partnered with 14-year-old skateboarder Steven Fernandez, a.k.a. “Baby Scumbag” (pictured above), who is a real person that I’m not making up. I’ve never felt so old, because I’ve never heard of him. The Zumiez audience, however, is not as old as I am.

Because of this campaign, Zumiez racked up 27,543 @Replies, Retweets and Mentions in the month of July alone (not including the 32,822 favorites they tallied in July). This contributed 42% of their total engagement for all of 2014.

Follower Growth

The follower growth for these 71 brands was also impressive. In 2014, the collection has added 170,983 Followers, which makes up 23% of their total audience.

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Zumiez, again, is responsible for a sizable portion of this growth, increasing from 69,832 followers in January to 121,591 at the end of July.

Top 10 Brands by Audience Size

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To understand the best tactics to develop your own Twitter strategy, download our Complete Guide to Twitter Measurement for free by clicking the button below.

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Kevin Shively

As the head of content marketing at Simply Measured, cohost of the #SimplySocial podcast, and generally delightful person, my job is to tell stories to the internet...You're welcome internet.