UK small businesses flock to Twitter

It seems the UK’s hard working, time poor small business owners are adopting twitter in droves as a quick and easy marketing, communications and recruitment tool.

By News Desk
17th March 2009 at 0:21

UK small businesses flock to twitterThis week’s gathering of the social media and digerati clans at the South By South West (SXSW) interactive conference in Texas has traditionally been a chance for Twitter, the micro-blogging platform, to shine.

But it’s not just geeks and celebrities who are now into Twitter. Small businesses are adopting the platform in increasing numbers according to research released today by mobile phone network O2.

Nearly one in five (17%) SMEs surveyed said they were tweeting regularly, with more than a quarter (28%) of those signing up over the last 4 weeks.

According to the research marketing and recruitment cost savings are cited as the main benefits of the much hyped micro-blogging service.  One in ten firms claim to have saved £5,000 by using Twitter and nearly a third £1,000.

In addition to the 74% who highlight cost savings and marketing advantages, small businesses found the service useful for keeping in touch with customers and suppliers (42%), monitoring competitors (34%) and generally feeling the benefit of being connected to other small companies (28%).

The simplicity of Twitter may also be seen as a plus.  Four in ten say they are using it more than either LinkedIn or Facebook.

The research, conducted by Vanson Bourne for O2, surveyed around 500 SMEs and estimates 700,000 UK small businesses are now using Twitter (i.e. 1 in 6 of the total UK SME population).  This is probably a bit of a stretch bearing in mind the total number of twitter users globally is guestimated to be around 6 million as of February 2009.

Nevertheless, the basic findings of the survey feel right anecdotally.  SmallBizPod has been tweeting (@alexbellinger and @smallbiztweets) since 2007 and we’ve written about the business and business benefits of twitter on several occasions.  It’s certainly our experience that there’s been a surge of small business interest in Twitter over the last 12 months.

Even the Federation of Small Businesses has recently started to tweet, so perhaps we really have reached some kind of SME micro-blogging tipping point!

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  1. […] SmallBizPod reports that loads of small businesses are flocking to Twitter. […]

  2. How exactly does the Twitter save your recruitment budget?

  3. News Desk says:

    Good question Ivan. I think some of the financial savings in this survey are a little suspect.

    But, undoubtedly you can find a large range of very talented people on twitter.

    As a tool for identifying and approaching possible candidates direct, I can see it proving useful in ‘disintermediating’ (i.e. skirting around) some recruitment consultants.

  4. Kate says:

    Where can I find this study and survey carried out by O2 that you are referring to in this article?
    Many thanks

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