Everyone's Tweeting - except British businesses

Clear commercial benefits of tweeting in multiple languages are being ignored by 'insular' British businesses. At least, that's the claim of a translation company. Despite the international marketing potential Twitter presents, British companies have been slow off the mark, with research showing only one company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, in the top 10 global tweeters.

In just five years, Twitter has become a social media phenomenon with over 200 million users who tweet 140 million times a day. Indeed, the emergence of Twitter as well as confirmation from Google that its algorithm considers social networks when determining search ranks has lead companies to become increasingly aware of the impact social media stature presents.

In response, a vast majority of companies have planned to increase their social media spending yet only a quarter are planning to run foreign language campaigns despite the fact the move could potentially make it easier to climb search engine rankings.

"With Twitter remaining the most popular social media platform for corporations, running a foreign language Twitter campaign can be a massively profitable exercise," said Christian Arno, founder and MD of translation company Lingo24.

"The reality is that if a company has operations beyond the Channel, they need to run multiple Twitter accounts to have international impact. With more than 200 million users around the world, Twitter is where their customers are," Arno reckons.

Though some companies have tried using automated machine translation for their tweets in other languages, translation software is still far from perfect warns Lingo24 which claims errors in translation could misrepresent a brand. "Every language has nuances and subtleties that are simply beyond the best technology available," the firm points out.

With Twitter fast becoming a global social media force, it looks as if companies will have to embrace international marketing or be lost in translation.