Twitter is emerging as the leading social platform among the world's largest corporations: 77% of the Fortune Global 100 (FG100) have a Twitter account, while 61% have a Facebook page, according to a report by Burson-Marsteller.

Although FG100 companies are reaching relatively smaller audiences with Twitter, growing numbers are using the platform more interactively, rather than simply broadcasting messages, the study found.

Below, other findings from the Burson-Marsteller Global social media Check-up, issued in February 2011, which explores social media use among the top 100 companies of the 2010 Fortune Global 500. 

Twitter and Facebook are the top two social platforms among the 2010 FG100 companies, followed by YouTube (57%) and corporate blogs (36%).

Fully one in four FG100 companies (25%) use all four platforms studied—Twitter and microblogging, Facebook and social networking, YouTube and video sharing, and blogging—up from the 20% that did so in 2010.

More than one-third of US FG100 companies (34%) use all four platforms, up from 28% in the previous year.

Twitter Growth Driven by Asia-Pacific Companies

Although the global average for Twitter adoption is 77%, there are interesting regional variations among the FG100:

  • 83% of European companies now have Twitter accounts, up from 71% in 2010.
  • The percentage of US companies with Twitter accounts remained flat (at 72%) in the previous year.
  • 67% of Asia-Pacific companies have Twitter accounts, up 68% from 40% in 2010.

To reach a variety of stakeholders, both functional divisions and regional (office) locations among the FG100 added corporate Twitter accounts in the previous year, driving increases in accounts per company from an average of 4.2 in 2010 to 5.8 in 2011.

Followers Levels

The average number of followers per corporate account increased 241% in the previous year, from 1,489 in 2010 to 5,076 in 2011. That growth was largely driven by Asia-Pacific brands. 

Even so, in the US, the average number of followers per account more than doubled, from 1,732 in 2010, to 4,478 in 2011.

Twitter Engagement

Among the FG100 using Twitter, 67% now use "@mention" to gauge brand comments or direct tweets at other Twitter accounts, up from the 38% that used the tool in 2010.

Similarly, 66% of US Twitter accounts use the "@mention" tool, up from 43% in 2010.

Companies are retweeting more: 57% of the FG100 with Twitter accounts retweet posts, up from 32% in 2010.

How Brands Use Twitter

Most Twitter accounts are used to keep stakeholders informed, but customer service is also important for many brands:

  • Company news: 88% of FG100 corporate accounts (and 85% of US accounts) focus on providing company news, updates, and announcements to stakeholders.
  • Customer Service: 40% of FG100 accounts (38% of US accounts) use Twitter for customer service.
  • Deals: 28% of FG100 accounts (25% of US accounts) tweet to consumers about deals or contests specifically related to their products and/or services.
  • Job Info: 10% of FG100 accounts (7% of US accounts) use Twitter for career information and job postings.

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Facebook Pages

The average number of Facebook pages managed by FG100 companies more than tripled in the previous year, from 1.2 pages in 2010 to 4.2 in 2011:

  • US companies recorded a large increase in numbers of Facebook pages per company (up 179%), from an average of 1.9 pages in 2010, to 5.3 in 2011. That growth, however, is largely due to outliers Hewlett-Packard and Ford, with 51 and 23 corporate Facebook pages, respectively.
  • Asia-Pacific companies increased Facebook pages roughly 18%, from an average of 4.9 pages in 2010, to 5.8 in 2011.

Large Gains in Facebook "Likes"

The average number of "likes" per Facebook page increased 115% globally, from 40,884 in 2010 to 87,979 in 2011, while levels among US companies nearly doubled.

Asia-Pacific companies had the largest increase (406%) in "likes," while European companies registered relatively no change over the previous year's average.

Facebook Engagement

Most Facebook pages are actively updated: 84% of FG100 Facebook pages had posts made by the companies within the previous week, up from 59% that did so in 2010.

US FG100 companies are the most interactive on Facebook:

  • 89% of US companies allow fans to post on their page walls, compared with 74% of all FG100 brands.
  • 72% of US FG100 companies respond to fans' wall posts, compared with 57% of all FG100 brands.

About the data: Findings were collected from November 2010 to January 2011 based on companies' social media activity on Twitter, Facebook and a variety of other social channels.

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