6,000 small businesses a day joining Twitter, claims O2

Thousands of British small businesses are discovering the power of Twitter, with a claim that 6,000 are turning to the microblogging site every day.

According to an O2 survey, small businesses are looking to Twitter as a way to cut marketing costs and keep in touch. The report estimates that 700,000 small businesses are already using Twitter.

In the poll of 500 small businesses, two in 10 (17 per cent) are already using Twitter, with one quarter saying they've been persuaded enough to sign up in the last four weeks.

The greatest benefit cited was cost cutting, according to two thirds of the small businesses questioned. This was because they felt Twitter was a useful tool for marketing as well as recruiting new staff.

Perhaps surprisingly considering its relative youth as a business tool, more than one in 10 (16 per cent) small businesses claimed that they had been able to save up to 5,000 since signing up. Nearly a third said they had saved up to 1,000.

Simon Devonshire, head of small business marketing at O2, said that use of Twitter was a great example of how new technology was being embraced in the current recession.

He said in a statement: "The increase in small businesses using converged devices such as smartphones combined with the simplicity of Twitter represents a fantastic opportunity to further raise their profiles and increase efficiency."

Four in 10 small businesses were using Twitter more than LinkedIn or Facebook, with 60 per cent claiming that their usage would increase.

Facebook has recently undergone a redesign, with more Twitter-like features such as real-time status updates.

For a step by step guide on how businesses can use Twitter, here is the IT PRO beginner's guide to Twitter for business.