Did you know that at the end of last year, Twitter accounts topped 200 million worldwide – with 17% of these estimated to be UK based? That equates to roughly one account for every two people in Britain, which is pretty mind boggling when you consider that Twitter was only created in 2006.
In less than seven years, it’s become one of the top ten most visited websites on the planet. (And possibly one of the most popular off the planet too, with Nasa astronauts tweeting from the International Space Station, far above the Earth – check out @NASA_Astronauts if you’re interested).
The reason I’ve been checking out the stats is that this week, our npower I&C Twitter followers hit four figures. That’s 1000 people and rising keeping up to date with the latest npowerbusiness news and comment, delivered in bite-size snippets throughout the day.
Clearly, people interested in energy are keen to see regular tweets on the subject. And why not, when Twitter provides the perfect forum to instantly deliver breaking news, market insight, analysis and commentary – and all without any superfluous waffle thanks to the maximum 140 characters per tweet restriction.
This perhaps explains why Twitter’s been widely adopted by so many newspapers, magazines and TV programmes. Social media provides the perfect platform for news-led brands in particular. The FT’s editor Lionel Barber himself acknowledges this when quoted in the Guardian this week: “News now is not the newspaper,” he said, referencing how the company is positioning itself to focus on real-time news delivery via online routes.
The age of transparency
In the business arena, the growth of social media certainly mirrors a move towards greater corporate transparency and engagement. On the one hand, a business has the potential to reach out to a wider audience and share information that may be of interest. But the reverse is also true – if you don’t treat your customers’ right or are seen to be acting out of step with the values you claim to espouse, then you are more likely to be held to account in a very public way.
For those of us serving the industrial and commercial sector, the relationships we have with our customers are key to our business. So it’s very much about personal interaction – asking them what they need and then responding with relevant expertise and specialist skills in what’s become an incredibly fast-evolving market. Twitter is another way to engage and share information – but it’s one of many channels.
While we can marvel at the growth of Twitter over the past seven years, in the energy arena, we can also chart the dramatic rise in flexible-purchasing contracts, real-time consumption monitoring, ever-more sophisticated tools to drive greater efficiencies and previously unimagined trends such as demand-side management (or for the uninitiated, earning an attractive income simply for being willing to fire up any on-site generators!).
So although we may not yet be in the Lady Gaga league (in the top Twitter spot with more than 32 million followers), we still have lots to share, and are keen to hear your views too. So check us out at #npowerbusiness.