Burson marsteller 2010 global social media check-up white paper
The Global Social Media Check-upInsights from the Burson-Marsteller Evidence-Based Communications Group
With the advent of digital and social media,communications anarchy is the new norm.Social media has shifted control of the corporatemessage away from the organization and towardsconsumers and other stakeholders, and runningaway and hiding is no longer the safeMany organizations are monitoring blogs and Tweets, and others are pushing Burson-Marsteller’s Fortune Global 100 Social Media Check-up studyout news and promotional messages through social media channels. But only demonstrates that most companies have dipped their toes in the social mediaby engaging with others online can the organization strategically garner a fair world — some with a big splash and others with a timid ripple — and that sim-share of voice and remain master of its own reputation. ple, responsible engagement in social media can reap big rewards in building relationships with stakeholders online. We explored the use of social mediaIt is time for companies to embrace, not fear, emerging media. There is no among Fortune Global 100 companies based on their involvement in Twitter,other way to remain competitive. The key is finding the right voice and the Facebook, YouTube and corporate blogging.right tools. Social media allows for a level of conversation in ways never beforepossible — presenting enormous opportunities for research, brand building We found that each of these tools is being used extensively not only byand the creation of brand evangelists. The value of social media is that users corporate headquarters but also by local market offices, various divisions ofare highly engaged and want to be heard. So, by listening to them and ap- the company and for one-time corporate events. To this extent, social mediaproaching them from their own point of view, it is possible to have a positive is providing great benefits and opportunities by helping different niches of aimpact on beliefs and perceptions. company reach their target audiences. But, it is also introducing challenges by creating mixed messages and tones and by leaving abandoned TwitterYes, there is the possibility of negative brand impact — but that is even more accounts and Facebook fan pages which may be detrimental to the brand.reason to participate in the conversation. By avoiding the place where the con- Companies must monitor their own social media presence to ensure aversation is happening, the company is missing the opportunity to be heard consistent brand message and to measure the impact of their social mediaand understood. engagement. Burson-Marsteller Evidence-Based Communications 2
Proliferation of Corporate Engagement in Social Media Fortune Global 100 Companies With Fortune Global 100 Companies Twitter Accounts With Facebook Fan PagesOf the Fortune Global 100 companies, 65% have active Twitter accounts, 54% Graph 2a Graph 2bhave Facebook fan pages, 50% have YouTube video channels and 33% havecorporate blogs* (see Graph 1). 72% 71% 69% 67% 65%Regionally, we see that relatively more Asian companies have active blogs(50% vs. 34% in the U.S. and 25% in Europe) but much less activity on Twitter 54% 52%and Facebook (Graph 2d). While we also explored some local Asian socialmedia websites (such as Mixi in Japan), there was virtually no activity through 40% 40%those channels either. Asian companies currently appear to be more comfort- 33%able communicating with stakeholders via a corporate blog. Proportion of Fortune Global 100 Companies With... Graph 1 65% Total U.S. Europe Asia LatAm Total U.S. Europe Asia LatAm 54% Fortune Global 100 Companies With Proportion of Fortune Global 100 50% YouTube Accounts Companies With Blogs Graph 2c Graph 2d 33% 50% 59% 52% 50% 33% 34% 33% 35% 25% 33% Twitter Facebook YouTube Corporate Accounts Fan channels Blogs Pages*Data was collected between November 2009 and January 2010 among the Fortune Global 100 companies: U.S. = 29 companies, Europe = 48 companies, Asia-Pacific = 20 companies, Latin America = 3 companies. Total U.S. Europe Asia LatAm Total U.S. Europe Asia LatAm Because of the low sample size for Latin America, data is only broken out for this region for overall activity rates. Active accounts (with at least one post from the company the past three months) were included in the analysis. Burson-Marsteller Evidence-Based Communications 3
A few years ago, the buzz was that corporations were starting to use blogs tocommunicate digitally with stakeholders. Now, one-third of the top global 100companies maintain a blog, but this is only half as many as use Twitter (65%).Blogs provide organizations with an opportunity to have a more direct dialogue View from Chinawith stakeholders online, and are still a very important part of the marketingand communications toolset. What social media adds is the ability to reach The number of Chinese Internet users has more than tripled to about 387 mil- lion since 2005, and Chinese consumers are enthusiastic users of social media,people where they already are — on Twitter and Facebook — actively social- particularly discussion boards (‘BBS’), social networks, video sharing andizing, getting news and sharing their opinions. These social media sites provide online games.easy ways for companies to share quick updates and news bites without theeffort of drafting a thoughtful and meaningful blog post. However, when a com- China has large private firms and branches of major foreign consumer productspany has a message that exceeds Twitter’s 140-character limit, a blog is an firms that are aggressive users of social media for marketing and communica-ideal venue for a more in-depth interactive discussion. tion. By comparison, large state-owned firms — many of which are included in these analysis — have adopted social media very slowly, even though threeMore than three-quarters (79%) of the top 100 companies in the rankings are of the five companies are in relatively competitive consumer environments.using at least one of the social media platforms we reviewed (Twitter, Face- China Mobile, which is busy promoting its new 3G services, is the most aggres-book, YouTube or corporate blogs) to actively engage with stakeholders. sive at using the Internet as a marketing tool. However, it tends to use its ownBut only 20% of these companies are utilizing all four platforms to engage with website and is even constructing its own social network for customers.stakeholders (Graph 3). Global Companies Using At Least One Global Companies Using of the Four Platforms all Four Platforms Graph 3a Graph 3b View from Brazil 86% 88% Forty-five percent of Brazilians engage in social networks, including 72% of 79% those age 18 to 25. Twitter reached 8.7 million users in Brazil in October 2009 28% and those users spend an average of 57 minutes browsing, much more than 25% time spent by users in the U.K. (38 minutes) and the U.S. (32 minutes). Brazilian companies’ use of Twitter was almost immediate; so far, promotions, 50% 20% offers and contests are the greatest attractions to get followers on Twitter. 15% More than 80% of Internet users have profiles on Orkut — the most successful relationship-building network in the country with 26 million users. Thus far, Brazilian companies have avoided engaging with customers on social sites such as Orkut and Facebook so as not to appear intrusive and for fear of losing control of the conversation. However, some companies are closely monitoring conversations on these social media sites and have used the data to develop Total U.S. Europe Asia Total U.S. Europe Asia strategies for creating or re-launching products. Burson-Marsteller Evidence-Based Communications 4
Companies are Tweeting & Posting ExtensivelyFor companies that are active on Twitter, they are extremely active. The vast View from Japanmajority (82%) have tweeted in the past week, well over half (59%) haveposted on their Facebook fan pages in the past week, about two-thirds posted Despite a reputation for leading-edge mobile devices and services and a neara video on YouTube (68%) in the past month and a little over one-third (36%) ubiquitous always-on culture, Japanese people tend to be reluctant to shareposted an entry on their corporate blog (Table 1). their thoughts and experiences publicly. Therefore, the social media adoption have been relatively slow among JapaneseRecently services such as YouTube,Activity levels are relatively high for companies in all regions, particularly on Wikipedia and Twitter, have seen significant volumes of traffic and have inspiredTwitter. Rates of posting on Twitter are also virtually identical in all regions. the development of a swathe of homegrown services closely attuned to the re-Regarding Facebook, European companies are most diligent about frequently quirements of Japanese consumers, including social network Mixi, portal/blogengaging on their Facebook fan pages, with 82% posting in the past week. platforms FC2 and Ameba and video sharing network Nico Nico Douga.The greatest disparity is in the frequency of blog posting. In the U.S., blog Despite this, Japanese organizations remain hesitant to use social media foractivity is relatively low (11%), whereas 83% of European companies have marketing and communications, preferring more ‘traditional’ forms of onlineposted on their blogs in the past month. Asian companies blog more marketing such as websites and online advertising when targeting Japanesefrequently (an average of 14 blog posts per month), probably because audiences. And while companies such as Nissan, Panasonic and Sony arethey are using blogs more than other types of social media to communicate experimenting with various social media, unsurprisingly the focus of theirwith stakeholders. activities in this area is aimed at international audiencesCompanies are Not Just Broadcasting Information —There is a Real Dialogue Going On Frequency of Activity Per PlatformCompanies are not just providing information via social media – a true dialogue Table 1is taking place. Corporate Twitter accounts have thousands of followers andmany corporate Facebook pages have tens of thousands of fans. Organiza- Social Media Site Frequency of Activity Percent with Activity # of Poststions are responding to stakeholder Tweets, and they are receiving commentsfrom fans on YouTube. While engaging with companies may not be people’s Twitter Past week 82% 27 Tweetsprimary reason for participating in social media, they are following companies Facebook Past week 59% 3.6 Postsfor news and information about the company, products, and promotions, tooffer feedback, and to engage customer service. YouTube Past month 68% 10 Videos Blog Past month 36% 7 Blogs Posts Burson-Marsteller Evidence-Based Communications 5
TwitterNot only do companies have thousands of followers on Twitter, they are fol-lowing hundreds of customers, businesses and shareholders themselves.This mutual relationship creates a two-way link between an organization andits stakeholders. Forty-two percent of the companies were being tweeted View from Franceabout by others, indicating that users are interested in the platform as a venueto share their opinions about companies and their products and activities While French companies have not been shy about using social media tools,(Table 2). many of their Twitter accounts are limited to pushing out news (feeds from the corporate website, HR postings, sports sponsorship results) and there is almost no interaction with stakeholders. In an effort to retain control over whatAnd, companies are responding. Overall 38% are responding to other posts, might be said about them via social media, most companies have not yet madeindicating a genuine conversation between the company and another user, a transition from the classical “push” method of driving information out to aand that companies are not just broadcasting information into a social media real discussion-based approach made possible by new services and tools.abyss. About one-third (32%) of companies are also re-tweeting content This narrow use of social media tools may be linked to a limited understandingposted by others (Graph 4). of Social Media implications and its potential to grow a company’s business. But with Facebook attracting 18 million unique users per month in France —Leaders of the pack on the Fortune Global 100 are Sony’s SonyPlayStation followed closely by Skyrock.com, a blogging platform aimed at teens 12-18with well over 115,000 followers and SonyPictures who is followed by almost with about 15 million unique users — developing global, integrated digital50,000 people and following over 6,000 Twitterers themselves. strategies are necessary to engage with these stakeholders online. Fortune Global 100 Activity on Twitter in Past Week Interaction Between Companies and Users on TwitterGraph 4 Table 2 Percent of Accounts with Tweets from Company Proportion of Fortune Percent Responding to Number of Followers Number of Users Global 100 Companies 84% People’s Tweets 82% 82% 82% 49% Per Accounts Companies Follow That Users are Percent Retweeting Tweeting About 43% 41% 38% Total 1,489 731 42% 32% U.S. 1,732 871 48% 28% 25% 23% Europe 1,081 429 36% Asia-Pacific 1,769 899 33% Total U.S. Europe Asia Burson-Marsteller Evidence-Based Communications 6
FacebookFacebook fan pages are acquiring fans continuously. Since our Fortune 100Social Media study in July 2009, the numbers of fans for many U.S. companieshave increased four-fold and sometimes even eight-fold. This representshigher engagement by corporations but also recognizes that consumers arebecoming more willing to engage with companies via social media. As wesaw above, 59% of companies had posted on their Facebook fan pages inthe past week and almost as many received “likes” (51%) and comments View from Italy(41%) from fans in that time frame (Graph 5). About one-half of Italian consumers who have Internet access have joined Facebook, and Italian companies have decided to meet them there. With theForty-three percent of fan pages had posts from fans. In fact, some fan pages, recession digging into marketing and communications budgets, marketers arewere primarily set up for customers to post comments and questions and looking for more affordable, alternative ways to get in touch with their audience,then to receive responses from the company. Comments from customers and Facebook fan pages and applications have become a “must” for theseranged the gamut from positive to negative, but skewed slightly positive companies to reach their customers and encourage them to become brand(3.7 on a 5-point scale). However most comments were strongly positive or ambassadors. Netlog, Badoo, MySpace, Windows Live rank after Facebook innegative — not neutral — which drove the middle-of-the-road 3.7 average terms of subscribers. YouTube channels are also popular and companies are(Table 3). willing to divert some of their budget to upload unconventional work in the hope of seeing them go viral. Activity of Fortune Global 100 on Facebook Fan Pages in Past Week Fortune Global 100 Activity on Fan Pages in Past WeekGraph 5 Table 3 Percent of fan pages with posts from the company Tone of Comments and Posts Percent of companies whose Social Media Site Frequency of Activity from Fans (on scale of 1-5) posts have “likes” from fans 82% Percent of companies posts Total 40,884 3.7 with comments from fans 69% Percent of fan pages with posts from fans U.S. 53,941 3.6 59% 56% 51% 51% Europe 46,400 4.1 49% 46% 44% 44% 41% 43% 41% Asia-Pacific 23,971 3.5 38% 36% 32% Total U.S. Europe Asia Burson-Marsteller Evidence-Based Communications 7
You TubeThere is also great interest among YouTube viewers to see videos from cor-porations. Many corporate YouTube channels have at least several hundredsubscribers. Viewership of videos is also high, noticeably the more than17 million views of WalMart videos and about 600,000 and 400,000 views ofLG and Honda videos respectively. View from Korea Koreans participate in online “café” discussion boards, some of which boastYouTube is also a venue for organizations to interact with stakeholders, not millions of members, as well as Cyworld, Korea’s top network, joined by almostjust a place for sharing videos. Over one-half (54%) of the YouTube channels half of Korean internet users. The anonymity provided by discussion boardshave comments from viewers, including 71% of corporate video channels in could explain why they remain the preferred type of online social network.Asia that boast responses from viewers (Graph 6). Recently micro-blogging has become more mainstream through services such as me2day (the dominant player in this space) and Twitter. Non-Korean-based social media websites, such as Facebook, have little market share with the exception of YouTube, whose popularity was recently eclipsed by Africa and Pandora TV. Korean companies focus their efforts only on the top internet and social media channels for Koreans, and only multi-nationals that want to engage with Western markets, such as Hyundai, LG and Samsung, make use of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Activity on YouTube in Past Month Viewer Activity on YouTubeGraph 6 Table 4 Percent of Channels with Subscribers Per Channels* Video Views Per Channel* Video Uploads from Company Percent of Channels with Comments from Viewers Total 452 38,958 77% 71% 71% 68% U.S. 576 49,027 62% 54% Europe 389 19,912 50% 52% Asia-Pacific 383 73,456 *Outliers have been removed Total U.S. Europe Asia Burson-Marsteller Evidence-Based Communications 8
Corporate Blogs Renegade Social Media Accounts AboundWhile companies are relatively less active on their corporate blogs than on thesocial media channels, there is a lot of commenting from stakeholders on Of the companies that are engaged on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, mostactive corporate blogs. For example, only 11% of U.S. corporate blogs had have multiple accounts. For example, each active company has 4.2 Twitterposts in the past month, but 90% of the blogs with posts had comments from accounts, 2.1 Facebook pages, and 1.6 YouTube channels. Organizations withstakeholders (Graph 7). So, while some corporate blogs have fallen into attri- blogs also had multiple blogs — an average of 4.2 — but those blogs weretion, corporate blogs that are active and have a strong purpose and following often maintained on the corporate site in a cohesive way (Graph 8).provide a useful two-way dialogue for organizations and their stakeholders. For companies with multiple Twitter accounts, most often one was a primaryIt is important to include blogs in the social media mix. Twitter, Facebook, corporate account. The other accounts were started and managed by a localStumbleUpon, and other social networks can be very helpful in driving traffic market office, represented a research or special-interest division at the com-to company blogs. No single social media tool can stand on its own. For a pany or was related to a corporate sponsorship event the company wascompany that wants a truly effective communications strategy, leveraging engaged in. Often it took a few views to determine which Twitter account wasmultiple social media tools for their individual strengths is required. the primary corporate account — if there was one — and it was not always possible to affirmatively determine if there was a primary corporate account. Activity on Corporate Blogs in Past Month Number of Accounts per CompanyGraph 7 Graph 8 4.2 4.2 Percent of Corporate 90% Blogs with Posts 83% Percent of Corporate Blogs with Viewer Comments 76% 77% 73% 71% 2.1 1.6 36% 11% Twitter Facebook YouTube Corporate Total U.S. Europe Asia Accounts Fan Channels Blogs Pages Burson-Marsteller Evidence-Based Communications 9
Does this matter? It probably does. When stakeholders are seeking a company Number of Facebook Fan Pages Number of Twitter Accounts per Companyon Twitter, they are looking for something specific, whether it is company/fi- per Companynancial news, product updates, customer service, etc, and if searching for the Graph 9a Graph 9bcompany presents a random, indistinguishable list of Twitter accounts, 4.9stakeholders will not know which is the one they should follow. Thus, the 6.6stakeholder leaves the search not finding what they need, or may follow thewrong account and become frustrated. 5.4As well, there are “squatters” and abandoned accounts that muddy the land- 4.2scape. In our searches, we found many social media accounts that link to the 2.1corporation’s home page, have the company logo, and many even have hun- 1.9 2.7 1.6dreds or thousands of followers, but not a single tweet or post. While theseaccounts or fan pages may be genuinely hosted by the company — or be setup by someone who hopes to take advantage of squatting in the company’srightful position — they are denigrating to the company’s presentation ofitself in the social media space. While a company may be holding onto aTwitter handle while determining what their social media strategy should be, Total U.S. Europe Asia Total U.S. Europe Asiasilence may be more deleterious than using the page to post press releasesand other basic corporate materials while a more sophisticated strategy isbeing figured out. Number of YouTube Channels Number of Blogs per Company per CompanyBetween abandoned accounts and employees participating without company Graph 9c Graph 9dguidance, the corporate voice runs the risk of being shaped by factors outside 2.0of corporate headquarters. Social media has been heralded for giving stake- 1.7 8.1holders a voice in shaping a company’s message and employees should have 1.6the same opportunity. However, companies need to develop a framework thatallows flexibility so that employees understand the parameters within which 1.3they can and should participate. It appears in many cases that companies aretrying to catch up and put a framework around activity that is already veryactive and potentially off strategy. 4.2 3.1 1.5 Total U.S. Europe Asia Total U.S. Europe Asia Burson-Marsteller Evidence-Based Communications 10
An Evidence-BasedApproach to Social Media Monitor Your Own — And Competitors — Social Media Presence. 1 There are robust software platforms available that allow you to not only monitor content but also track influence and sentiment. You can also simply conduct your own frequent searches on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and via online search to see what your stakeholders find when they seek out infor- mation on your company or bran. This is valuable content that can serve as a focus group of thousands to help you define your messaging moving forward. Monitoring what is being said about competitors can help you better position your brand online. If you encounter corporate accounts developed by your organizations employees, departments, business units, or local markets, identify the source and ensure the account is aligned with your Corporate Social Media Strategy. Get Top Management “Buy In.” 2 Encourage senior management to be aware of — and, optimally, participate in social media — to foster appropriate participation by employees on behalf of the company. Setting a positive example is the best method of social media leadership. Develop a Social Media Strategy. 3 Social media reaches far beyond marketing and communications and impacts every area of business today. Develop a social media strategy that is based on overarching business objectives. This is critical to ensuring a cohesive brand voice and corporate message. This strategy must include resourcing and budget that reflects a commitment to engaging in social media continuously. Conduct a Social Media Check-up to ensure you know your current online positioning. From there, it becomes more intuitive to develop a strategy that meets business goals and is measurable. Define and Publish a Social Media Policy. 4 Engaging with social media is an important element of business branding and communications. However, it is important for employees to understand the parameters around and the implications of their participation. Developing a policy that allows flexibility within a framework will give employees the crit- ical guidance they need to leverage social media on behalf of the company. Burson-Marsteller Evidence-Based Communications 11
Develop Internal Structure. Be Prepared to Respond in Real Time.5 Ensure that employees understand both the policy and the strategy and 8 The social media conversation takes place in real time, and it is necessary have resources to turn to if and when they have questions. If you do not pro- to be prepared to respond immediately. Even 24 hours may be too long to vide this infrastructure internally, employees will have no guide and are more adress a viral chain of negative dialogue about your brand. Responding im- likely to act on their own. It is also important to have a well defined structure mediately can stave off reputation damage that may take months to repair. around social media management within the company. For some organiza- In addition to planning, running a social media crisis simulation is a useful tions that may involve one employee in the communications function who is exercise to put your crisis response strategy to the test. the known manager of your social media strategy. In others it may involve a Beyond Monitoring, task-force approach with several employees taking responsibility for different 9 Measure the Impact of Social Media Engagement. areas. Either way, the staff assigned to this role should serve as the internal Tracking numbers of followers, types of comments from stakeholders, or tone resource for other employees who want to engage stakeholders in social of comments is necessary to gauge how well your social media strategy is media. While you do not want to inhibit creativity or establish an onerous working. Conduct research with stakeholders to determine how your message process for your organization’s social media involvement, having simple is coming across and if stakeholders are finding the company responsive via guidelines that are flexible within the established framework can prevent a social media channels. Consider social media engagement as another part chaotic social media presence. of the marketing and communications mix, and incorporate social media Contribute to the Community. measurement in the organization’s broader measurement of overall brand6 Take your cues from what stakeholders seem to be asking for and let them reputation and sales. influence your presence. For example, if consumers are asking about product specifications online, create a Twitter account with updates about new prod- ucts and product hints and tips. If stakeholders are complaining about product We believe that social media tools should be included in the corporate com- and service issues, develop a social media channel to receive and respond munications strategy. To help companies navigate the social media to these issues. Additionally, it is critical that you use an authentic personal landscape, Burson-Marsteller has developed an Evidence-Based Communi- tone and provide content that is of value to users. This involves creating cations tool called the “Social Media Check-up” which looks at how a content that contributes to the community and helps them meet their company’s social media presence is impacting its overall online health and needs as opposed to always providing content that is marketing or promo- reputation. It assesses a company’s competitive position across the most tional in nature. If your social media presence is organized and consistent, popular social media platforms. The tool also helps an organization develop stakeholders will find you and turn to you as a resource. a social media presence both internally and externally based on social media best practices. Participate in Good Times and in Bad.7 There will always be some situations where it is advisable to avoid partici- pating, but generally speaking, negative content provides an opportunity for a company to share their point of view or set the record straight. Organizations must develop a process in advance that defines how and when they will respond to negative content or misinformation posted in social media. This may involve assessing influence of the site, the reach of the content, the authority of the blogger, or the tone of the dialogue and then deciding whether or not to proceed. Social media content is highly searchable and can live forever. Therefore, deciding whether or not to leave misinformation unchal- lenged is critical. More often than not, responding provides a mechanism to “be on the record” and ensures that others who access the content also learn your point of view. Burson-Marsteller Evidence-Based Communications 12
To learn more about the Global Social MediaCheck-up study, please contact:United StatesErin ByrneChief Digital Strategist212.firstname.lastname@example.org/erinbyrneB.L. OchmanManaging Director of Emerging MediaProof Integrated Mediab.email@example.com/whatsnextWilliam KempManaging DirectorProof Digital Media212.614.4909William.Kemp@proofdigitalmedia.comEMEADaniel Jörg About this StudyEMEA Digital Practice Lead+41.31.356.7362 Data was collected between November 2009 and January 2010 amongDaniel.Jorg@bm.com the top 100 companies of Fortune’s Global 500 companies. Sample sizewww.twitter.com/danieljoerg for countries/regions: U.S. = 29 companies, Europe = 48 companies, Asia- Pacific = 20 companies, Latin America = 3 companies. Because of the lowAsia Pacific sample size for Latin America, data is only broken out for this region for overallCharles Pownall activity rates. “Active” accounts have at least one post in the past 3 months.Digital Strategist Outliers have been noted. Data was collected by Burson-Marsteller’s global65.6829.9350Charles.Pownall@bm.com research team.www.twitter.com/cpownall About Burson-MarstellerLatin America Burson-Marsteller (www.burson-marsteller.com), established in 1953, is aFelix Leander leading global public relations and communications firm. It provides clientsDigital Strategist with strategic thinking and program execution across a full range of public305.347.4392 relations, public affairs, advertising and web-related services. The firm’s seam-Felix.Leander@bm.comwww.twitter.com/fleander less worldwide network consists of 72 offices and 60 affiliate offices, together operating in 85 countries across six continents. Burson-Marsteller is a part ofVisit B-M: www.bm.com Young & Rubicam Brands, a subsidiary of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), one ofFollow B-M: www.twitter.com/bmglobalnews the world’s leading communications services networks.
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