Actionable insights from Burson-Marsteller on the Global 100 and the social web

If you were to guess which has been the preferred social channel of the top 100 global companies in the Fortune 500 list over the past three years, you’d be spot on if you said Twitter.

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That’s what research by PR and communications firm Burson-Marsteller shows in its Global Social Media Check-Up Report 2012 that analyses the Fortune Global 100’s use of popular social networking platforms including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, for the first time, Google Plus and Pinterest.

The report – B-M’s third such annual report – includes a wealth of insight into global companies’ use of social media and how that use is evolving from broadcasting to engagement to content creation, giving credible validation to the emerging notion of the organization as a media company.

The top findings in concise summary:

  1. People are talking about the Fortune Global 100… a lot.
  2. Video content creation is on the rise.
  3. Engagement is second nature to companies.
  4. Multiple accounts on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow companies to target audiences by geography, topic or service.
  5. Companies are adapting rapidly to new platforms.

Metrics in the report include:

  • Fortune Global 100 companies have more accounts on each platform than ever before with an average of: 10.1 Twitter accounts, 10.4 Facebook pages, 8.1 YouTube channels, 2.6 Google Plus pages and 2.0 Pinterest accounts.
  • Seventy-four percent of companies studied have a Facebook page.
  • Ninety-three percent of corporate Facebook pages are updated weekly.
  • Forty-eight percent of companies are now on Google Plus.
  • Twenty-five percent of companies have Pinterest accounts.
  • Each corporate Facebook page has an average of 6,101 people talking about it.

More than the interpreted data, though, what’s really interesting to me is seeing how the growth in use of all channels parallels how the channels themselves have developed and evolved during the past three years.

Add to that the way in which more companies recognize the social web as a legitimate business tool and an effective one for engaging with different stakeholders, that’s reflected in how those companies are evolving how they use the various tools and channels.

What’s especially interesting is the leap in usage of YouTube in 2012 compared to 2011, up from 57 percent to 79 percent of the Global 100 (which I make a 23 percent increase rather than the 39 percent B-M mentions in the slide), clearly supporting data from researchers such as comScore about the explosive growth of online video in business.

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Burson-Marsteller has published a presentation deck on Slideshare that presents the metrics from their research, grouping the information into six primary insights sections, and it’s a worthwhile read (you can download a PDF version of the presentation). There’s also an infographic

If you’re looking for credible data and meaning about how people in large global enterprises are using the social web, this report will provide you with useful and actionable insights.

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