Posted by & filed under Display Advertising, e-commerce, Social Media, Twitter.

Facebook and Twitter are in a direct battle to attract new interest from small and medium-sized British businesses, after both launched incentives including free advertising.

Facebook yesterday launched a scheme it calls 'Business Boost'. It offers companies and individual business owners who recruit more than 50 fans £20 towards the cost of display advertising, with up to £60 available for attracting more followers.

Meanwhile, it will join with the British Chambers of Commerce to stage a Facebook marketing roadshow, which will visit six British cities over the summer.

Twitter has responded by offering £1,000 of free advertising to businesses with stories about how the microblogging channel has helped them expand.

Businesses must contact @TwitterUK with details of their successes to be considered for the bonus.

A Twitter spokeswoman told “We have a full team that deals with big brands every day, so we hear a lot of their stories, but we don't always hear about the interesting stories from smaller companies.”

Simon Milner, policy director at Facebook UK and Ireland said many small businesses had “thrived” despite difficult economic conditions in recent years, “thanks to savvy entrepreneurs spotting the opportunity to benefit from new technologies.”