Twitter and O2 have formed a partnership to help small businesses in the UK create a better online presence, including a £1m pot of free Twitter advertising. The news comes as Twitter rolls out its self-service advertising tool to UK businesses for the first time, a week after the micro-blogging firm listed on the stock market.
As part of its new, free social insights tool, O2 Business will provide best practice advice directly from Twitter as well as case studies from previous successful social media campaigns. O2's new tool will also include a league table for SMBs to compare and compete with each other's social media campaigns.
Eligible small businesses using the social insights tool will receive a share of £1m free advertising credit on Twitter's self-service advertising platform.
Ben Dowd, director of O2 Business, said the release of the tool stemmed from client demand coupled with a general lack of understanding regarding successfully making use of the daunting Twitter platform.
"During conversations with our small business customers, we are often told that what they really need is advice to understand how they can use platforms like Twitter, and we believe that it's our responsibility as both a large corporate and a digital services company to guide them," he said.
"That's why we are investing our time, money and expertise in this new O2 social insights platform."
Meanwhile, Twitter has opened up its self-service advertising platform to small businesses in the UK, Ireland and Canada. The tool, already in use by US firms, aims to make the often complicated world of social media advertising affordable and simple.
The rollout is of critical importance to Twitter, because every action the company takes to generate revenue is being closely watched by financial analysts and investors as it looks to turn potential revenue into actual profit.
The general consensus is that while high-profile advertising partners and TV companies will be good for Twitter's bottom line and reputation, it needs to simplify its advertising tools to appeal to smaller businesses, and make it explicitly clear how much a buyer may spend and how effective their campaign will be. This is especially important as location-based advertising is expected to be a big trend over the next year.
In September, Twitter bought mobile advertising firm MoPub, to improve its smartphone and tablet app-based campaigns. The firm is already heading in the right direction, as 70 percent of its advertising revenue stems from mobile users.
The firm listed on the stock market a week ago and performed better than many were expecting, surging to an initial top-end valuation of $31bn. Since then, its market cap has settled at around $24bn, still above initial estimates.
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