The global public relations and communications firm Burson-Marsteller conducted its first study…

The global public relations and communications firm Burson-Marsteller conducted its first study of how the Fortune Global 100 used social media in 2010. It found that 79 percent of the 100 largest companies used Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or corporate blogs to communicate corporate messages to customers and other stakeholders. Burson-Marsteller wanted to learn how the largest global companies had changed their usage of social media after two years of experience and conducted The Global Social Media Check-Up 2012. The 2012 study focused on the Fortune Global 100 companies’ social media activity on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google Plus, and Pinterest. The findings show that companies have gained experience and adapted quickly. Twitter is the most popular platform, as tweets have exploded from 50 million tweets per day in 2010 to 340 million per day in 2012 (over 1 billion every three days). Because of this popularity, 82 percent of the companies have Twitter accounts (up from 65 percent in 2010), and 79 percent are actively engaged in retweeting or @mentions. YouTube has seen the most growth in company usage—79 percent of companies create original content to use on YouTube (up from 50 percent) and average 2 million viewers. Companies are also reacting faster to new social media platforms; Google Plus was launched in November 2011, and 48 percent of the largest companies had accounts by March 2012. Another platform, Pinterest, is joined by invitation, and 48 percent of the Global 100 have accounts there. The study found that companies now have more accounts on each platform. For example, they may have many Twitter accounts or Facebook pages established in order to communicate more effectively to different stakeholder interests and to highlight different products or services. The companies can provide general news or more specific information about career opportunities or customer service. In your group, select three firms and research their social media web presence. If you select firms from the same industry, you can more directly compare and contrast their social media expertise.

1. Do the firms seem to do a good job of managing their web identity? If you chose firms from the same industry, is it evident how each firm’s web content relates to its competitive position?

2. What differences do you find among the three firms? For example, do some tailor their message for different stakeholders? Are some firms more creative in generating YouTube content?


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