Micro-blogging service Twitter may be the latest rage with celebrities and their followers but it has yet to catch on as a marketing tool for British businesses.
According to the latest web analysis from WebTrends, just two per cent (one in fifty) businesses in the UK are using Twitter for marketing, while six per cent are blogging or podcasting.
Only the likes of direct email marketing, detailed web analytics, traditional online advertising and search optimisation really made the grade, with at least one-third of companies using always or often.
“Twitter is undoubtedly the hottest thing on the web at the moment. It has been fully embraced by the mainstream, and millions of people are now receiving blow-by-blow updates on the lives of their friends and even celebs,” said WebTrends’ (EMEA) marketing director, Colette Wade.
“It has also impacted greatly on the media – publications are now tweeting headlines and journalists are using Twitter to share stories, appeal for information and post their own scoops before anyone else.
“However it comes as no surprise that the business world has been more circumspect. Many are simply not sure how to use it, and even if they could they wouldn’t be sure of what to say, and who exactly they would be saying it to. Some are also concerned about the implications of individuals posting personal views that could be misconstrued as representative of the companies they work for. Businesses also don’t want to be perceived as ruining something that has taken-off organically and is essentially a fun communication tool for individuals. The people that built these communities can be very cynical of clumsy corporate involvement.”
Of course, tweeting isn’t for every business, just as for blogging, and it’s possible to end up doing more harm than good with an ill thought out strategy. It will be interesting to see if more UK businesses loosen the reins a little in future and engage with consumers and customers via Twitter and similar services.