study by Burson-Marsteller finds that 79 percent of the largest 100 companies in the Fortune Global 500 index are using social media tools.A
At first glance, this may seem significant. But a closer look shows that Fortune 100 companies are showing interest but nothing to prove that social media tools are gaining significant corporate acceptance. Here's a copy of the full report and an accompanying power point presentation.
But it is early in the game and these are results show that social media tools are making credible gains.
The services of choice? No surprise: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blog platforms.
Twitter is number one, followed by Facebook, YouTube and corporate blogs.
The study found that 65 percent of the largest 100 international companies have active accounts on Twitter, 54 percent have a Facebook fan page, 50 percent have a YouTube channel, and one-third (33 percent) have corporate blogs. Only 20 percent of the major international companies are utilizing all four platforms to engage with stakeholders.
The fact that the Fortune 100 do not leverage multiple tools is a sign of how consumer-based social media tools are not fully understood or leveraged for maximum benefit. It's also evident of just how much of an opportunity big companies have in using the social Web if they use it to its full extent. Companies that extend to multiple media networks still have a chance to get ahead of competitors.
The frequency of posts illustrates that companies are posting but not nearly as often as they could.
Let's take a quick look at some of the findings for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and corporate blogs:
The report says that Deutsche Telekom uses Twitter for announcements while Volkswagen uses it to RT and Home Depot for customer service. Conclusion? Fortune 100 companies are still searching for the best way to use Twitter. But just posting announcements seems pretty sterile.
From the white paper:
"Leaders of the pack on the Fortune Global 100 are Sony's SonyPlayStation with well over 115,000 followers and SonyPictures who is followed by almost 50,000 people and following over 6,000 Twitterers themselves."
Burson-Marsteller also states that Fortune 100 companies are supporting multiple accounts. This is perhaps most encouraging: customer engagement is beginning to be more widespread across product groups.
Facebook shows some of the most promise. Most of the Fortune 100 companies have tens of thousands of users.
Perhaps the strongest sing of acceptance is in the number of corporate product groups that use Facebook. Companies like Sony have multiple fan pages.
YouTube is used mostly by U.S. companies. Entertainment, electronics and auto companies are the most likely to have YouTube channels. Viewership shows promise. Consumers want to see product videos. Connecting YouTube with Twitter, Facebook and a blog can make for a potent combination if all are updated on a regular basis.
Fifty-percent of the Fortune 100 companies from the Asia Pacific have blogs. Burson-Marsteller says Asian companies prefer blogging due to the control they can have over the conversation.
"Only 11% of active U.S. company blogs had posts in the past three months as compared to 83% of European blogs and 77% of Asia-Pacific blogs. The U.S. blogs also had fewer blog posts."
The results show the increasing popularity of the real-time web and its use across the enterprise. But is it smart not to update a blog? We wonder what company fares better. The one that is active on its Twitter account and its blogs or the one that has an active Twitter account but infrequently updates its blog?
Corporate America is using the social Web. It's apparent that companies have waded a bit deeper into the water but the opportunities are clear. The companies that embrace multiple mediums and keep up with a consistent volume of updates will be the big winners, no matter if they are a Fortune 100 or a Fortune 1,000 company.