Irish businesses using Twitter 'to build a community'

The majority (69%) of Irish companies use Twitter to build an online community to develop a greater knowledge of their customers and potential customers, a survey has found.

The study, from mobile network 3, found that company staff at all levels (29%) are involved in updating and managing their respective Twitter pages with managing directors/company founders accounting for 31% of updates, followed by marketing and IT personnel accounting for 14% and 11% of activity respectively.

More than 13% of companies detailed that they update their Twitter feed on an hourly basis, with many (46.2%) updating on average more then once a day.

More than 80% of businesses believe that their "followers" are made of up potential customers, with 55% stating that this audience is also made up of competitors keeping an close eye on activity.

In terms of bottom-line impact of an active Twitter presence, Irish businesses were split with 31% suggesting that it had delivered less then €100, whilst 17% indicated a return of between €750-€1,000. A lucky 5% detailed a contribution of €5,000 upwards.

One aspect all businesses could agree on is the growing importance of Twitter for Irish business with a huge 97% in agreement. Those surveyed also ranked a number of social networking tools in order of importance to business.

Ranked in order of Importance to business:

1: Twitter

2: Facebook

3: LinkedIn

4: Boards.ie

5: Igopeople

6: Bebo

Some 10% of respondents did however feel that LinkedIn was vitally important to their business, reflecting the needs for their particular service offerings.

Commenting on the survey, David Riley, Head of Communications at 3: "Today’s survey results with start to create a better understanding of why Irish companies are using Twitter.

"The growth of the Twitter tool over the last twelve months has been astounding. Tuesday’s announcement by Twitter to allow advertisers access is just another indication of its growing importance within the business sphere. We believe that we are only scratching the surface at developing a full understanding of the benefits and uses of Twitter for both consumers and businesses.

"The findings of this initial survey will hopefully educate some businesses who are currently weighing up the options of developing a presence on Twitter."

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