By Claire West

Research conducted by Virgin Media Business has revealed that social media is fast becoming one of the primary ways UK businesses keep in touch with their customers, with a third of UK companies using it in some capacity.

The poll of 5,000 UK businesses across the UK revealed that Twitter, which is used by 33 per cent of social media-savvy businesses, had edged just ahead of Facebook (adopted by 32 per cent) to become British enterprises’ favourite social network. MySpace came a close third, used by 29 per cent of businesses, ten per cent ahead of blogging (19 per cent) and the production and distribution of video content via YouTube (17 percent).

Nationally, the poll revealed London firmly led the trend for businesses making use of social media, with 47 per cent of companies saying they had done so. The South East was close behind at 44 per cent, the South West and Wales, at 42 per cent. The Midlands were level with the national average, while at 21 per cent Northern Irish businesses were the least likely of all UK companies to employ social media.

Andrew McGrath, executive director, commercial at Virgin Media Business, said “Social media offers businesses across the UK a huge variety of ways to get to know their customers better and promote their products and services in new and innovative ways. What’s most interesting about this study is that it shows how businesses in each region of the UK are responding to this challenge by adopting a unique mix of communications tools that they feel is best suited to their local markets.

“While the research also shows that different parts of the UK are responding to these opportunities at a different rate, it’s clear to see that the rate of adoption shows no sign of slowing. After all, as a medium television took 13 years to reach 50 million viewers, yet we’ve seen here that social media has penetrated a third of UK businesses in just a few years. British businesses have been quick to see the opportunities that lie within social media and are helping lead the world in targeting this new form of media.”