Big Brands More Likely to Directly Engage Users on Social Media, Study Finds

A new Burson-Marsteller study shows that sixty-seven percent of Fortune Global 100 companies on Twitter are using the “@symbol” to directly engage with or mention other users, and more than half (57 percent) are “retweeting” content from their corporate accounts. This represents a 76 percent increase in companies using the “@mention” function and 78 percent increase in retweeting to interact and engage with stakeholders compared to last year. These are some key findings of the Second Annual Burson-Marsteller Global Social Media Check-up, which examines the Fortune Global 100’s use of popular social networking platforms such as: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, corporate blogs and other local and language-specific social networks.

The “@mention” or “@reply” function on Twitter is most often used to demonstrate that a user is directly responding to or mentioning another Twitter user.

“Global companies are now demonstrating greater comfort with the interactive nature of social networks and are more willing to engage their stakeholders directly on these platforms,” said Burson-Marsteller Worldwide CEO Mark Penn.

On Facebook, 74 percent of companies allow users who “like” their page to post on their page “walls,” and more than one-half (57 percent) of companies are responding to these posts and comments. The U.S. companies lead the way on Facebook interaction with 89 percent of companies allowing posts and 72 percent of companies responding back.

In terms of growth of social media adoption, 67 percent of Asian companies in the Fortune Global 100 are now using at least one social media platform, up from 50 percent 12 months earlier. At the same time, the number of U.S. and European companies using social media remained virtually flat at 89 and 84 percent respectively.

Other key findings include:

  • Eighty-four percent of the companies in this year’s study are active on at least one social media platform considered, compared with 79 percent last year.
  • Twenty-five percent of companies are using all four platforms studied, compared to 20 percent in the prior year’s study.
  • Globally, corporate participation in Twitter increased the most (to 77 percent in 2011 from 65 percent in 2010), followed by YouTube (57 percent in 2011 v. 50 percent in 2010), Facebook (61 percent in 2011 v. 54 percent in 2010), and corporate blogging (36 percent in 2011 v. 33 percent in 2010).
  • The percentage of Asian companies with Twitter accounts grew 68 percent from 40 percent in 2010 to 67 percent in 2011. Seventy-seven percent of Asian companies with Twitter accounts are using the “@” mention function to open channels of communication with other users, and 62 percent of these Asian companies are retweeting content to followers.
  • One-half (50 percent) of Asian companies now have Facebook pages compared to 40 percent last year. In addition, the average number of “likes” per Asian corporate Facebook page increased 406 percent from 23,971 “likes” to 121,257 “likes.”
  • Eighty percent of the Fortune Global 100 were being mentioned or discussed on Twitter, almost twice as many as one year ago (42 percent).
  • On Facebook, each corporate page boasts an average of 87,979 “likes”, up from 40,884 “likes” in 2010.

Burson-Marsteller will be hosting a webinar that will focus on the study’s findings and global trends in social media. The event hashtag is #BMGlobalSocial. You can read more about the webinar here. To access the complete analysis of these findings click here for the full presentation.