LONDON: Fashion brands are among the most effective at using Twitter, a new study has revealed.

Social media agency Battenhall analysed the use of social media for brand and corporate communications by companies in the FTSE 100 index and found that the overall number of tweets from this group had risen dramatically in the past year – the cumulative total was up 250%. But it concluded that while some were doing it well, most were "doing a bad job or nothing at all".

The top performers on Twitter were luxury fashion brand Burberry, soft drinks giant Coca-Cola, broadcast network ITV, fashion retailer Marks & Spencer and supermarket Sainsbury's.

Burberry ticked several boxes – it had the most number of followers, at 3.1m, ahead of Coca-Cola on 2.7m – and was the fastest growing in terms of followers, adding more than 1m in the past 12 months.

Others in the top five had far fewer followers, with ITV on just over half a million, although this was double the previous year's figure, Marks & Spencer on 337,000, and Sainsbury's on 291,000.

"Burberry can be seen as a role model for other brands on social media," the report declared, "as it has managed to keep up its reputation offline as well as online across all social media channels."

The study highlighted the separation of Burberry's main Twitter account from its customer service account, an approach it said allowed followers to "enjoy creative tweets and experimentation with new apps", while the brand could also deliver timely content planned around events such as the recently concluded London Fashion Week.

The brand with the greatest influence on Twitter, however, was Marks & Spencer, which scored 83.4 on the Moz system, which measures influence on engagement and follower size and where 100 is the highest score possible.

On this metric, Burberry dropped to third, scoring 80.1, behind Next, another retail fashion brand, on 83.3.

The study also found that 10 companies had no Twitter presence at all, while others, such as mining groups GlencoreXstrata and BHPBilliton, performed poorly. Drew Benvie, managing director of Battenhall, expressed some alarm at this gap.

"We are seeing an increasingly polarised view of UK Plc online, which means many brands are simply not fit for purpose whether it is on their ability to listen to customers or publish financial news," he told the Telegraph.

Data sourced from Battenhall, Daily Telegraph; additional content by Warc staff