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The Global Social Media Check-up
Insights 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 corporate
message away from the organization and towards
consumers and other stakeholders, and running
away and hiding is no longer the safe


Many organizations are monitoring blogs and Tweets, and others are pushing          Burson-Marsteller’s Fortune Global 100 Social Media Check-up study
out news and promotional messages through social media channels. But only           demonstrates that most companies have dipped their toes in the social media
by 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 media
It 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 before
possible — presenting enormous opportunities for research, brand building           We found that each of these tools is being used extensively not only by
and the creation of brand evangelists. The value of social media is that users      corporate headquarters but also by local market offices, various divisions of
are 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 media
proaching 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 a
impact 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 Twitter
Yes, 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 a
versation is happening, the company is missing the opportunity to be heard          consistent brand message and to measure the impact of their social media
and 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 Pages
Of the Fortune Global 100 companies, 65% have active Twitter accounts, 54%                                       Graph 2a                                    Graph 2b
have Facebook fan pages, 50% have YouTube video channels and 33% have
corporate 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 social
media 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 to
communicate digitally with stakeholders. Now, one-third of the top global 100
companies 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 China
with stakeholders online, and are still a very important part of the marketing
and 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 and
izing, 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 the
effort of drafting a thoughtful and meaningful blog post. However, when a com-     China has large private firms and branches of major foreign consumer products
pany 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 three
More 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 own
But 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 Extensively
For companies that are active on Twitter, they are extremely active. The vast
                                                                                      View from Japan
majority (82%) have tweeted in the past week, well over half (59%) have
posted 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 near
a 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 share
posted 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 inspired
Twitter. 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/blog
engaging 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 for
activity is relatively low (11%), whereas 83% of European companies have
                                                                                      marketing and communications, preferring more ‘traditional’ forms of online
posted on their blogs in the past month. Asian companies blog more
                                                                                      marketing such as websites and online advertising when targeting Japanese
frequently (an average of 14 blog posts per month), probably because
                                                                                      audiences. And while companies such as Nissan, Panasonic and Sony are
they are using blogs more than other types of social media to communicate             experimenting with various social media, unsurprisingly the focus of their
with stakeholders.                                                                    activities in this area is aimed at international audiences


Companies are Not Just Broadcasting Information —
There is a Real Dialogue Going On
                                                                                                            Frequency of Activity Per Platform
Companies are not just providing information via social media – a true dialogue     Table 1
is taking place. Corporate Twitter accounts have thousands of followers and
many corporate Facebook pages have tens of thousands of fans. Organiza-
                                                                                        Social Media Site   Frequency of Activity    Percent with Activity        # of Posts
tions are responding to stakeholder Tweets, and they are receiving comments
from fans on YouTube. While engaging with companies may not be people’s                        Twitter           Past week                   82%                  27 Tweets
primary reason for participating in social media, they are following companies
                                                                                              Facebook           Past week                   59%                   3.6 Posts
for news and information about the company, products, and promotions, to
offer 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
Twitter
Not 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 and
its stakeholders. Forty-two percent of the companies were being tweeted                                  View from France
about by others, indicating that users are interested in the platform as a venue
to 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 what
And, companies are responding. Overall 38% are responding to other posts,
                                                                                                         might be said about them via social media, most companies have not yet made
indicating a genuine conversation between the company and another user,
                                                                                                         a transition from the classical “push” method of driving information out to a
and 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 understanding
posted 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 12-18
with well over 115,000 followers and SonyPictures who is followed by almost                              with about 15 million unique users — developing global, integrated digital
50,000 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 Twitter
Graph 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
Facebook
Facebook fan pages are acquiring fans continuously. Since our Fortune 100
Social Media study in July 2009, the numbers of fans for many U.S. companies
have increased four-fold and sometimes even eight-fold. This represents
higher engagement by corporations but also recognizes that consumers are
becoming more willing to engage with companies via social media. As we
saw above, 59% of companies had posted on their Facebook fan pages in
the 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 the
Forty-three percent of fan pages had posts from fans. In fact, some fan pages,
                                                                                                        recession digging into marketing and communications budgets, marketers are
were 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 these
ranged 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 in
negative — 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 Week
Graph 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 Tube
There is also great interest among YouTube viewers to see videos from cor-
porations. Many corporate YouTube channels have at least several hundred
subscribers. Viewership of videos is also high, noticeably the more than
17 million views of WalMart videos and about 600,000 and 400,000 views of
LG and Honda videos respectively.                                                      View from Korea

                                                                                       Koreans participate in online “café” discussion boards, some of which boast
YouTube is also a venue for organizations to interact with stakeholders, not
                                                                                       millions of members, as well as Cyworld, Korea’s top network, joined by almost
just a place for sharing videos. Over one-half (54%) of the YouTube channels
                                                                                       half of Korean internet users. The anonymity provided by discussion boards
have 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 YouTube
Graph 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 Abound
While companies are relatively less active on their corporate blogs than on the
social media channels, there is a lot of commenting from stakeholders on            Of the companies that are engaged on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, most
active corporate blogs. For example, only 11% of U.S. corporate blogs had           have multiple accounts. For example, each active company has 4.2 Twitter
posts 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 with
stakeholders (Graph 7). So, while some corporate blogs have fallen into attri-      blogs also had multiple blogs — an average of 4.2 — but those blogs were
tion, 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 primary
It is important to include blogs in the social media mix. Twitter, Facebook,        corporate account. The other accounts were started and managed by a local
StumbleUpon, 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 was
company that wants a truly effective communications strategy, leveraging            engaged in. Often it took a few views to determine which Twitter account was
multiple 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 Company

Graph 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 Company
on Twitter, they are looking for something specific, whether it is company/fi-                                                          per Company
nancial news, product updates, customer service, etc, and if searching for the   Graph 9a                                  Graph 9b
company presents a random, indistinguishable list of Twitter accounts,                                                                                    4.9

stakeholders will not know which is the one they should follow. Thus, the
                                                                                                    6.6
stakeholder leaves the search not finding what they need, or may follow the
wrong account and become frustrated.                                                                            5.4

As well, there are “squatters” and abandoned accounts that muddy the land-                  4.2
scape. In our searches, we found many social media accounts that link to the
                                                                                                                                      2.1
corporation’s home page, have the company logo, and many even have hun-                                                                       1.9
                                                                                                          2.7                                       1.6
dreds or thousands of followers, but not a single tweet or post. While these
accounts or fan pages may be genuinely hosted by the company — or be set
up by someone who hopes to take advantage of squatting in the company’s
rightful position — they are denigrating to the company’s presentation of
itself in the social media space. While a company may be holding onto a
Twitter handle while determining what their social media strategy should be,                Total   U.S. Europe Asia                  Total   U.S. Europe Asia

silence may be more deleterious than using the page to post press releases
and other basic corporate materials while a more sophisticated strategy is
being figured out.                                                                    Number of YouTube Channels                 Number of Blogs per Company
                                                                                            per Company

Between abandoned accounts and employees participating without company           Graph 9c                                  Graph 9d
guidance, the corporate voice runs the risk of being shaped by factors outside                                   2.0

of corporate headquarters. Social media has been heralded for giving stake-
                                                                                                          1.7                                 8.1
holders a voice in shaping a company’s message and employees should have                     1.6
the same opportunity. However, companies need to develop a framework that
allows flexibility so that employees understand the parameters within which                         1.3
they can and should participate. It appears in many cases that companies are
trying to catch up and put a framework around activity that is already very
active 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-Based
Approach 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 brand
6      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 Media
Check-up study, please contact:
United States
Erin Byrne
Chief Digital Strategist
212.614.4824
erin.byrne@proofdigitalmedia.com
www.twitter.com/erinbyrne

B.L. Ochman
Managing Director of Emerging Media
Proof Integrated Media
b.l.ochman@proofdigitalmedia.com
www.twitter.com/whatsnext

William Kemp
Managing Director
Proof Digital Media
212.614.4909
William.Kemp@proofdigitalmedia.com


EMEA

Daniel Jörg
                                              About this Study
EMEA Digital Practice Lead
+41.31.356.7362                               Data was collected between November 2009 and January 2010 among
Daniel.Jorg@bm.com                            the top 100 companies of Fortune’s Global 500 companies. Sample size
www.twitter.com/danieljoerg
                                              for countries/regions: U.S. = 29 companies, Europe = 48 companies, Asia-
                                              Pacific = 20 companies, Latin America = 3 companies. Because of the low
Asia Pacific
                                              sample size for Latin America, data is only broken out for this region for overall
Charles 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 global
65.6829.9350
Charles.Pownall@bm.com                        research team.
www.twitter.com/cpownall
                                              About Burson-Marsteller
Latin America                                 Burson-Marsteller (www.burson-marsteller.com), established in 1953, is a
Felix Leander                                 leading global public relations and communications firm. It provides clients
Digital Strategist                            with strategic thinking and program execution across a full range of public
305.347.4392
                                              relations, public affairs, advertising and web-related services. The firm’s seam-
Felix.Leander@bm.com
www.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 of
Visit B-M: www.bm.com
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The global social media check up

  • 1. The Global Social Media Check-up Insights from the Burson-Marsteller Evidence-Based Communications Group
  • 2. With the advent of digital and social media, communications anarchy is the new norm. Social media has shifted control of the corporate message away from the organization and towards consumers and other stakeholders, and running away and hiding is no longer the safe Many organizations are monitoring blogs and Tweets, and others are pushing Burson-Marsteller’s Fortune Global 100 Social Media Check-up study out news and promotional messages through social media channels. But only demonstrates that most companies have dipped their toes in the social media by 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 media It 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 before possible — presenting enormous opportunities for research, brand building We found that each of these tools is being used extensively not only by and the creation of brand evangelists. The value of social media is that users corporate headquarters but also by local market offices, various divisions of are 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 media proaching 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 a impact 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 Twitter Yes, 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 a versation is happening, the company is missing the opportunity to be heard consistent brand message and to measure the impact of their social media and understood. engagement. Burson-Marsteller Evidence-Based Communications 2
  • 3. Proliferation of Corporate Engagement in Social Media Fortune Global 100 Companies With Fortune Global 100 Companies Twitter Accounts With Facebook Fan Pages Of the Fortune Global 100 companies, 65% have active Twitter accounts, 54% Graph 2a Graph 2b have Facebook fan pages, 50% have YouTube video channels and 33% have corporate 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 social media 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
  • 4. A few years ago, the buzz was that corporations were starting to use blogs to communicate digitally with stakeholders. Now, one-third of the top global 100 companies 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 China with stakeholders online, and are still a very important part of the marketing and 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 and izing, 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 the effort of drafting a thoughtful and meaningful blog post. However, when a com- China has large private firms and branches of major foreign consumer products pany 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 three More 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 own But 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
  • 5. Companies are Tweeting & Posting Extensively For companies that are active on Twitter, they are extremely active. The vast View from Japan majority (82%) have tweeted in the past week, well over half (59%) have posted 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 near a 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 share posted 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 inspired Twitter. 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/blog engaging 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 for activity is relatively low (11%), whereas 83% of European companies have marketing and communications, preferring more ‘traditional’ forms of online posted on their blogs in the past month. Asian companies blog more marketing such as websites and online advertising when targeting Japanese frequently (an average of 14 blog posts per month), probably because audiences. And while companies such as Nissan, Panasonic and Sony are they are using blogs more than other types of social media to communicate experimenting with various social media, unsurprisingly the focus of their with stakeholders. activities in this area is aimed at international audiences Companies are Not Just Broadcasting Information — There is a Real Dialogue Going On Frequency of Activity Per Platform Companies are not just providing information via social media – a true dialogue Table 1 is taking place. Corporate Twitter accounts have thousands of followers and many corporate Facebook pages have tens of thousands of fans. Organiza- Social Media Site Frequency of Activity Percent with Activity # of Posts tions are responding to stakeholder Tweets, and they are receiving comments from fans on YouTube. While engaging with companies may not be people’s Twitter Past week 82% 27 Tweets primary reason for participating in social media, they are following companies Facebook Past week 59% 3.6 Posts for news and information about the company, products, and promotions, to offer 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
  • 6. Twitter Not 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 and its stakeholders. Forty-two percent of the companies were being tweeted View from France about by others, indicating that users are interested in the platform as a venue to 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 what And, companies are responding. Overall 38% are responding to other posts, might be said about them via social media, most companies have not yet made indicating a genuine conversation between the company and another user, a transition from the classical “push” method of driving information out to a and 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 understanding posted 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 12-18 with well over 115,000 followers and SonyPictures who is followed by almost with about 15 million unique users — developing global, integrated digital 50,000 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 Twitter Graph 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
  • 7. Facebook Facebook fan pages are acquiring fans continuously. Since our Fortune 100 Social Media study in July 2009, the numbers of fans for many U.S. companies have increased four-fold and sometimes even eight-fold. This represents higher engagement by corporations but also recognizes that consumers are becoming more willing to engage with companies via social media. As we saw above, 59% of companies had posted on their Facebook fan pages in the 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 the Forty-three percent of fan pages had posts from fans. In fact, some fan pages, recession digging into marketing and communications budgets, marketers are were 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 these ranged 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 in negative — 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 Week Graph 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
  • 8. You Tube There is also great interest among YouTube viewers to see videos from cor- porations. Many corporate YouTube channels have at least several hundred subscribers. Viewership of videos is also high, noticeably the more than 17 million views of WalMart videos and about 600,000 and 400,000 views of LG and Honda videos respectively. View from Korea Koreans participate in online “café” discussion boards, some of which boast YouTube is also a venue for organizations to interact with stakeholders, not millions of members, as well as Cyworld, Korea’s top network, joined by almost just a place for sharing videos. Over one-half (54%) of the YouTube channels half of Korean internet users. The anonymity provided by discussion boards have 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 YouTube Graph 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
  • 9. Corporate Blogs Renegade Social Media Accounts Abound While companies are relatively less active on their corporate blogs than on the social media channels, there is a lot of commenting from stakeholders on Of the companies that are engaged on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, most active corporate blogs. For example, only 11% of U.S. corporate blogs had have multiple accounts. For example, each active company has 4.2 Twitter posts 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 with stakeholders (Graph 7). So, while some corporate blogs have fallen into attri- blogs also had multiple blogs — an average of 4.2 — but those blogs were tion, 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 primary It is important to include blogs in the social media mix. Twitter, Facebook, corporate account. The other accounts were started and managed by a local StumbleUpon, 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 was company that wants a truly effective communications strategy, leveraging engaged in. Often it took a few views to determine which Twitter account was multiple 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 Company Graph 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
  • 10. Does this matter? It probably does. When stakeholders are seeking a company Number of Facebook Fan Pages Number of Twitter Accounts per Company on Twitter, they are looking for something specific, whether it is company/fi- per Company nancial news, product updates, customer service, etc, and if searching for the Graph 9a Graph 9b company presents a random, indistinguishable list of Twitter accounts, 4.9 stakeholders will not know which is the one they should follow. Thus, the 6.6 stakeholder leaves the search not finding what they need, or may follow the wrong account and become frustrated. 5.4 As well, there are “squatters” and abandoned accounts that muddy the land- 4.2 scape. In our searches, we found many social media accounts that link to the 2.1 corporation’s home page, have the company logo, and many even have hun- 1.9 2.7 1.6 dreds or thousands of followers, but not a single tweet or post. While these accounts or fan pages may be genuinely hosted by the company — or be set up by someone who hopes to take advantage of squatting in the company’s rightful position — they are denigrating to the company’s presentation of itself in the social media space. While a company may be holding onto a Twitter handle while determining what their social media strategy should be, Total U.S. Europe Asia Total U.S. Europe Asia silence may be more deleterious than using the page to post press releases and other basic corporate materials while a more sophisticated strategy is being figured out. Number of YouTube Channels Number of Blogs per Company per Company Between abandoned accounts and employees participating without company Graph 9c Graph 9d guidance, the corporate voice runs the risk of being shaped by factors outside 2.0 of corporate headquarters. Social media has been heralded for giving stake- 1.7 8.1 holders a voice in shaping a company’s message and employees should have 1.6 the same opportunity. However, companies need to develop a framework that allows flexibility so that employees understand the parameters within which 1.3 they can and should participate. It appears in many cases that companies are trying to catch up and put a framework around activity that is already very active 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
  • 11. An Evidence-Based Approach 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
  • 12. 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 brand 6 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
  • 13. To learn more about the Global Social Media Check-up study, please contact: United States Erin Byrne Chief Digital Strategist 212.614.4824 erin.byrne@proofdigitalmedia.com www.twitter.com/erinbyrne B.L. Ochman Managing Director of Emerging Media Proof Integrated Media b.l.ochman@proofdigitalmedia.com www.twitter.com/whatsnext William Kemp Managing Director Proof Digital Media 212.614.4909 William.Kemp@proofdigitalmedia.com EMEA Daniel Jörg About this Study EMEA Digital Practice Lead +41.31.356.7362 Data was collected between November 2009 and January 2010 among Daniel.Jorg@bm.com the top 100 companies of Fortune’s Global 500 companies. Sample size www.twitter.com/danieljoerg for countries/regions: U.S. = 29 companies, Europe = 48 companies, Asia- Pacific = 20 companies, Latin America = 3 companies. Because of the low Asia Pacific sample size for Latin America, data is only broken out for this region for overall Charles 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 global 65.6829.9350 Charles.Pownall@bm.com research team. www.twitter.com/cpownall About Burson-Marsteller Latin America Burson-Marsteller (www.burson-marsteller.com), established in 1953, is a Felix Leander leading global public relations and communications firm. It provides clients Digital Strategist with strategic thinking and program execution across a full range of public 305.347.4392 relations, public affairs, advertising and web-related services. The firm’s seam- Felix.Leander@bm.com www.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 of Visit B-M: www.bm.com Young & Rubicam Brands, a subsidiary of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), one of Follow B-M: www.twitter.com/bmglobalnews the world’s leading communications services networks.