The US and UK are said to be two nations divided by a common language, and it seems they are also divided by a common social network.

A new study by 360i has found that Twitter usage patterns vary greatly between the two nations, particularly when looking at what time of day people are active on the network and how they engage with brands.

For example, Twitter users in the UK are more likely to be active in the late morning and early afternoon, specifically between 10am and 1pm, while in the US people tend to be most engaged after 6pm.

As part of the study 360i carried out a series of in-depth interviews, which revealed that US Twitter users feel they have more time in the evenings when they get home from work, and it is at this time that they begin tweeting about their day and start to get feedback from other users.

Twitter usage by time of day

The obvious implication for brands is that campaigns need to be tailored differently for each market to ensure that tweets reach the maximum possible audience.

While UK consumers are active on Twitter throughout the day, there is a heightened possibility to catch their eye around lunchtime with relevant content.

It also allows brands to enter into timely conversations with consumers, as people keep an eye on current events as the day unravels.

ASOS is a great example of how to use Twitter to interact with consumers, as it responds to a huge number of tweets and @mentions throughout the day.

Brand conversations

The study also found that the motivations behind brand mentions tend to differ significantly between the US and UK.

Though brand mentions make up only a very small percentage of overall conversations on both sides of the Atlantic, in the UK people tend to mention companies when sharing a specific experience they’ve had, complete with their thoughts on quality and performance.

In comparison, US consumers are most likely to mention a brand if they’ve had a negative experience.

The report therefore suggests that marketers need to be aware of these differences when evaluating consumer sentiment online.

For example, in the US an overwhelming amount of negativity might point to an isolated issue, but may not be representative of larger consumer opinion.

In the UK, conversation may be more neutral and performance-focused, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that consumers lack emotional connection to the product.

For more information on how businesses are currently tracking social conversations download our Managing and Measuring Social Report, which is based on a survey of more than 650 agency and client-side marketing professionals.

Type of tweets

Finally, the report shows that UK users are more likely to have conversations on Twitter and they prefer to share content they feel will be relevant to their followers, such as specific advice or timely, news-related content.

In contrast, US users are 82% more likely to re-tweet content and like to share their opinion about anything – even without being prompted.