Archive for February 2010

How the Global Fortune 100 are using social media: some statistics


red, white and blue
Image by Robert S. Donovan via Flickr

A useful survey from global PR firm Burson-Marsteller this week looks at the ways in which the Global Fortune 100 companies are using social media. The tools they are using and how they are developing a social media strategy. The survey looked at 100 firms in the US, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and examined how these firms are using social media.

The summary presentation is below, and is Required Reading here at FreshNetworks this week, and the full report can be downloaded here.

The survey highlights the ways in which these firms are using social media and is also insightful in terms of the tools and platforms (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or a corporate blog) they are using. It is interesting to compare the use of the different tools - Twitter is the most popular and blogging the least. And to compare how behaviour differs by regions - particularly the differences between Asia-Pacific and the US and Europe.

Summary findings

  • 79% of firms are using at least one of these social media platforms - this figure is higher in Europe (88%) and lowest in Asia-Pacific (50%) - and 20% of them are using all four
  • The most popular platform is Twitter, with 65% of firms using this. Facebook and YouTube are next (54% and 50% respectively) with corporate blogs the least used (just 33% of firms surveyed)
  • For companies that use Twitter the average number of accounts they are running is 4.2, with some companies (notably AT&T and Nokia) having a large number of accounts - 15 people in the case of these two firms
  • For those companies who are engaging, their activity levels are mixed. 82% of those using Twitter have tweeted within the last week, whilst only 36% of those with blogs have added a new post in the last week


  • 65% of Fortune Global 100 firms have a Twitter account. In Europe and the US this figure is over 70%; in Asia-Pacific only 40% of firms have an account
  • Firms are tweeting and average of 25-30 times per week
  • Only 38% of companies are using Twitter actively to respond to other’s comments and questions
  • In general companies are being followed by many more people than follow them. Typically they have about 1,500 followers and are following about 700 people


  • Facebook Fan pages are less popular that Twitter, with 54% of Fortune Global 100 firms having a page. They are significantly more popular in the US where 69% of fims have a Facebook Fan page
  • Only 59% of companeis with a Fan page are actively using it with an average of only 3.8 posts per week
  • The number of fans is higher than Twitter followers, with an average of 41,000 for firms with a Facebook Fan page


  • Half of all Fortune Global 100 firms have a YouTube Channel. Again firms in the US are more likely to have a Channel and those in Latin America least likely (59% and 33% respectively)
  • 68% of firms with a YouTube channel are using it actively, with an average of 10 new videos each month
  • Typically, firms are getting 40,000 views of their videos each month and over half of all Channels have comments

Corporate Blogs

  • Whilst only a third of Fortune Global 100 firms have a corporate blog, these figures are much higher in Asia-Pacific (50%) and low in Europe (25%)
  • The average number of posts per month is 7 (but again much higher in Asia-Pacific: 14), and almost three-quarters of blogs have comments
Global Social Media Checkup
View more presentations from Burson-Marsteller.

Social media in not-for-profits and membership organisations: Notes from the FreshNetworks breakfast briefing


FreshNetworks Breakfast briefingSo the first FreshNetworks breakfast briefing has just finished and we had some great insights into how not for profit organisations (NFP’s) can use social media for strengthening their membership offering.

Breast Cancer Care Case Study

First up to speak was Bertie Bosredon, Assistant Director of Services (Information & Multimedia) at Breast Cancer Care. Bertie has been busy changing Breast Cancer Care’s social media strategy to utilise other social media platforms and contribute to overall integrated structure. More importantly changing the way they use social media to start listening and conversing with people online.

There were some key messages that resonated from his presentation, these were:

1. Have an integrated approach

Breast Cancer Care realise that a lot of conversations that were happening online were not necessarily happening in their space but through working with key influencers on other platforms supplying them with packaged information you can increase your presence online and collaborate with a lot more people.

Breast Cancer Care at FreshNetworks2. Involve your members in planning

Bertie has been getting members involved in the planning of the current and future use of social media asking them what they would look for when engaging with Breast Cancer Care and how they could work this into a strategy that would best fit their organisational aims. Although a simple concept many companies forget that members and users usually know more about your brand then you do and can deliver some great insights.

3. Aligning all channels of communication

Breast Cancer Care have made sure that the social media strategy that they have been using is aligned with their offline print material so that it doesn’t matter where members go for the information. This means that they can use the channel that they prefer and the message will be consistent.

A popular point from Bertie: it doesn’t matter about the traffic to your site; care about how many people interact with your content even on other sites.

Social media marketing for not for profits

The next speaker was our very own Charlie Osmond from FreshNetworks. Charlie was speaking about how social media can be used for marketing and with specific reference to NFP organisations. Engaging people online is not about going for that quick win viral campaign but to successfully engage people online you need sustainable engagement.

Charlie Osmond at FreshNetworksSome key points to take away from Charlie’s presentations are:

1. The importance of the community manager

Engaging people online especially for sustainability requires a good community manager. They need to be able to reach out to people and facilitate discussions on a multitude of different platforms.

2. Know your tools but don’t let them drive your strategy

In order to be able to know what channels are available to you, you have to have a grasp of what’s in the vast social media environment. To create a successful strategy you should be looking at the aims of the business and the needs of the people that you want to engage.

3. To drive word of mouth for a certain cause take the ‘believe, belong and bear witness approach’

A great way to get people involved in a cause is to find people that believe in it, help them become involved in it and then help them bear witness to what they believe in this will help spread the message of the organisation through yours, and their own networks.

Steve Bridger on social media in charities

Finally but by no means least was Steve Bridger. Steve is a social media consultant and has some great (and extensive) history in community management for various charities. One of the more prevalent points of Steve’s presentation was the importance of putting people at the heart of your social media strategy

Some great points from Steve:

1. Help your advocates to amplify their voice

A lot of member organisations were using their current strategy to try and control conversations and go against ‘the flow’ of what people were online to do. They had a clear goal that they wanted to achieve and member organisations should be “enabling and empowering” these people to help deliver your message.

Steve Bridger at FreshNetworks2. It’s about relationships not transactions

Member organisations and more specifically charities are currently set-up for transactions and are very ‘me’ focussed, there is greater value for charities if they position themselves for conversations and engagement.

3. You have to be in it to win it

A lot of companies are hoping for a win in social media what ever that may be but they don’t have a social media policy or ban social media access completely. A restrictive approach rather than a guided one causes bottlenecks at many organisations and restricts valuable internal knowledge.

It was great to see the focus on relationships and emphasis on the value rather then how much money can be made. There were lots of interesting perspectives and too many to write all in this blog post. A big thank you to all the people that attended there were some great discussions and insight from lots of different organisations and another big thank you to the speakers involved.

Social Media and the insurance industry


social media insuranceThere are many opportunites for the insurance industry in social media. Afterall, it’s the ultimate experience good - you can’t judge the quality of what you have purchased until you claim, potentially years after payment.

As a result, it’s well suited to storytelling and sharing of experiences. Ratings and reviews have the potential to be an especially powerful tool for the insurance industry.

But social media marketing isn’t the only game in town. The insurance industry has another opportunity - using social media as part of the actuarial process. Insurance firms prefer to cover people who are less likely to claim. Social media may provide ways of helping to qualify in or out some people.

Have a look at Please Rob Me. A site that aggregates people’s check-ins on Foursquare and their GoogleBuzz locations to tell you who is away from home. Right now.

It is just a bit of fun, but the site makes an important point and should provide food for thought for armies of actuaries up and down the land.

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PS for an insurance-related social media case study, here’s an example of a research community that we built for a client

Social media strategy for small businesses


Jelly babies
Image by uncle_fungus via Flickr

This week we have been looking at social media for small businesses. Ways in which they can use the social media tools that exist to build their brand, engage their customers and learn about their brand, market and competitors. It is as important for small businesses as it is for large brands to build a social media strategy. And there are many different ways that you can start to use social media to get these benefits.

And social media strategy should be based on what your brand is looking to achieve. Only when you have established this should you start to experiment with different social media tools and will you be able to measure the success of what you are doing. This need not be an expensive and elaborate implementation, some great tools exist for small businesses to use to help achieve their aims with social media and this week we looked at four of them:

  1. Social media monitoring and buzz tracking: Any social media strategy should start with a thorough process of social media monitoring. Listening to what is being said about your brand, competitors, market and customers. There are a range of free buzz tracking tools available and setting up some simple monitoring tools is something that any small business should do.
  2. Twitter and targeting customers: Twitter is a very flexible tool. Some people think that it is most useful when you are following and being followed by very large numbers of people. But this is not always true and it can be particularly powerful with small groups. You can build a small community of people online who are interested in the same issues and use this to engage customers or potential customers. Better to target and engage a smaller group of people than to try to appeal to everybody.
  3. Blogging and brand building: Blogging is a great tool that any and every brand should consider. For many small businesses, blogs are a tool that can help them punch above their weight. The content, themes and information that they share can lead them to be thought of as much larger or much more established than they really are. Blogging provides an easy way for organisations to share their thoughts and their content. And people will respect you for this.
  4. Foursquare and customer engagement: Foursquare is just one of a number of mobile-enabled and geo-location social media tools that are being developed. They allow people to connect and share information based on where they are. Foursquare in particular offers great and exciting opportunities to brands. You can find out who is visiting your shop, store, cafe or building and then work out ways to engage them and turn them into loyal customers

These are just four ways in which small businesses can use social media tools as part of a social media strategy. They are all free tools to start using and the posts linked to above contain more details about each of them. Using and experimenting with social media tools need not cost money. The important stages are in the thinking and planning about what you are looking to achieve and so which tools are most appropriate, and then in how you manage and grow your activity in any tool you choice.

Small businesses can benefit hugely from a social media strategy. Plan what you are looking to achieve and how you will measure success, and then experiment!

You can read all our posts on social media for small businesses here

Social media for small businesses 4: Using Foursquare to identify and engage customers


foursquare blackboards @ Southside Coffee in B...
Image by dpstyles™ via Flickr

Imagine if you could know who visits your cafe or shop on a regular basis. You will, of course, recognise many of these people. The man with the glasses who comes in most mornings for a flat white (that’s me by the way). The two women who always have lunch on a Thursday. Or the family who bring their children on a Saturday. You will recognise some regulars and you will no doubt speak to them and start to get to know them. Social media can help you do this more, and can, perhaps importantly, help you target people who visit sometimes but not yet regularly. This is where geolocation-based social media tools such as Foursquare come into play.

Foursquare is social media tool that lets users say where they are by ‘checking in’ at locations. You earn points for doing this and can see who else has checked-in here. If the location you are at is not yet on Foursquare then you can add details about it and plot it on a map. You earn points and get badges (status) the more times you check in and the person who visits somewhere more regularly becomes its Mayor.

I have been using Foursquare recently and, for example, might check in to the Fleet River Bakery just round the corner from my office when I get breakfast in the morning. Or I might check into Selfridges on Oxford Street in London when I’m shopping at the weekend. I am not yet Mayor of anywhere, but could become the Mayor of any of these places if I visit it most regularly. This is a small but growing tool, and it being joined by more and more geolocation-based social media tools that can be a real benefit to businesses.

Let’s take the Fleet River Bakery as an example. As a small bakery and cafe in central London they face a lot of competition (there are probably about ten similar venues nearby) but they are very popular with queues round the corner at lunchtime. Some people will be regulars and other will visit from time to time. On Foursquare, Fleet River has a profile, whether they set it up or not, and people who go there can check in - putting their details on this profile. For the guys at Fleet River this could be a powerful data resource. If they can attract people to visit them and check in on Foursquare then they can start to see who is visiting them, how often and when. But it can also be a powerful peer-to-peer marketing tool. On Foursquare your friends are told where you are. So when somebody checks in at the cafe their friends will learn where they are and so learn about Fleet River, where they are and what they do. They will also know that their friends go there and, as we know, peer-to-peer recommendation are much more important than anything a brand can say.

Using new and growing tools like Foursquare can be really powerful for small businesses. And if you work with these tools you will get even more out of them. Perhaps on the boards outside Fleet River they should say who the Mayor currently is, and perhaps even offer him or her a free coffee when they next come in. Or maybe offer exclusive discount, or a free cookie, to anybody on Foursquare who checks in.

There is a lot you can do to help people market your small business for you. Much of it free and just making use of the social media tools that are out there.

You can read all our posts on social media for small businesses here