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Twitter hits 10 billion

But big biz slow to catch on

By Steve Evans

Micro-blogging site Twitter has surpassed 10 billion Tweets – but new research from Virgin Media Business has revealed that big businesses are failing to embrace it.

With 20% of Tweets – short messages made of up just 140 characters – containing a reference to a product or brand, Virgin Media Business claims that failing to get on board with the technology could cost companies dear.

“We have seen Twitter usage skyrocket recently. Some 5 billion tweets have been posted since October alone. With so many people sharing their thoughts online, it’s no surprise that many are talking about companies. Clearly this presents an excellent opportunity for companies to engage with customers, but many are missing out,” said Phil Stewart, director of customer service, Virgin Media Business.

Although 57 of the FTSE 100 have signed up for Twitter almost three-quarters (72%) have not used their account to respond to customer enquiries or comments made about the company. Virgin Media Business believes that many firms have established a Twitter feed simply to avoid cyber squatters.

Creating a Twitter account and leaving it dormant or not responding to tweets by your customers is no better than opening a contact centre and not picking up the phone. In fact it is a lot worse as this lack of interaction can be viewed by millions,” Stewart said.

“Companies should respond to customer enquires and take part in conversations about their brand or industry transparently,” he continued. “It might take a few minutes each day, but this could be time well spent if it helps to strengthen relationships with customers, build links with prospects and take part in the dialogue that is shaping attitudes and responses towards your business.

Virgin Media Business was previously known as ntl:Telewest Business and its clients include London City Airport, Arqiva, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership and South West Water.

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