Small Flock, Big Social Reach: The First 48 Hours of SXSW on Twitter

Each year, the social and technology communities know South by Southwest Interactive will dominate the online airwaves. And over the past four years, Twitter has bolstered its position as the leading platform where real-time updates, questions, collaboration and sharing of information at the festival take place.

The 2012 SXSWi has proven once again that the Southby community is one of the most hyper-active, connected and influential audiences in technology and social media.  Digging into March 8th, the day before SXSW started, and the first day of the interactive festival March 9th, the engagement around five of the common terms used to reference the festival skyrocketed.

More than 100,000 different users Tweeted with the terms SXSW, SXSWi, South by Southwest, Southby and SX more than 224,000 times. That content alone reached a potential audience of 341,723,790 users on Twitter.

To properly illustrate the sheer volume, impact and influence of this 48 hour time frame of activity, Spredfast created an infographic helping to provide perspective to each of the metrics.

(click to enlarge)

Major takeaways and implications from the report? 

SXSW = a small group reaching an exponentially larger audience
The ability of the SXSW audience to reach a large majority of Twitter users across the world is astounding. One hundred thousand users potentially reached a third of a billion users overall. Take note brands, you can make a big impact in social if you work to stand out and create unique experiences.

SXSW technology ideas and social content go global
SXSW Interactive is no longer just a national event. With London as the sixth city in a list of the top 10 tweeting about the event, it shows the far-reaching desire and need of the technology and social communities to connect and share. It also shows that social media continues to rapidly gain traction across the globe. If you care about reaching and influencing customers, prospects or community outside of just the USA, SXSW has proven its global impact.

PR, Social Media and Executives top the Southby charts
The landscape of the SXSW attendee base is shifting. And it’s shifting towards the social media industry, communicators and decision makers.  Looking at the top 10 communities of people tweeting about the festival, Public Relations was the number one group, with social media, bloggers and CEOs also making the cut. The days of social media being a small, specialized niche and technology not being top-of-mind for the executive team seem to be making a major shift. And what’s even more exciting is, it’s no longer just on the radar of individuals running social media programs at their organizations.  Instead, social is gaining traction and attention amongst the C-suite and multiple departments looking to adopt social media for various business objectives.

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