Beth Carroll : This week we revealed the results of our research project with CorpComms Magazine looking at how the FTSE 100 use social media. The report found 67 members of the FTSE 100 are now actively engaging with social media, and prefer to use Twitter over Facebook.
63 firms are now actively tweeting whilst just 33 have their own Facebook page. Interestingly, both Aviva and Rio Tinto even tweeted their annual results in the last year. The study also reveals that just 11 of the companies in the FTSE 100 use their social media channels as a helpline or for customer service, whilst six use them to raise brand awareness through their corporate and social responsibility activities.
Pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKlein was the first company on the FTSE 100 index to send a tweet in April 2007, whilst Tesco is the most recent convert having joined Facebook in March of this year, just two weeks before going live on Twitter.
The research highlights that some sectors are engaging more effectively with social media than others with banking, insurance and retail being the most active, whilst manufacturing, mining and real estate are practically invisible.
It’s interesting to see that companies favour Twitter over Facebook, given the latter is much bigger on a global scale. Overall, the research suggests that a majority of FTSE firms recognise the importance of engaging their stakeholders in a dialogue via mediums such as Twitter, and responding to their comments directly.
What we can learn from the FTSE 100
Rather than berate the companies that have elected not to build a social media presence we have focused on those who are setting an example for others. Some have shown best practice in terms of using social media for customer service and others are simply using social media in a creative and stand out way.
Those who do not have a public presence may just be taking their first steps with care. It is far better to spend the time defining your objectives and listening to the needs of your customers, or for some more importantly potential customers, before jumping in to the deep end without a defined strategy.
If you’re at this stage and not sure where to start, before you set up a Facebook page or Twitter feed, think about what it is you want to achieve. This will help you to decide what content you will share, how you will reply to comments and which influencers will help you reach your audience.
It is also vital to decide who will be responsible for the day to day implementation and management of your social media profiles. Some businesses may be best placed to manage all elements from within the organisation with strategic input from an agency and others may elect to source support from an agency for all community management. From our experience both can work and there is no one size fits all solution.
Social media may empower the consumer but it also creates an opportunity for brands. In the same way Next has been able to elevate its presence to a similar level as Burberry, smaller brands can now have a voice and stand alongside large corporations such as those in the FTSE 100.
Read the report
You can download a copy of the report here or, if you want a quick snapshot, we’ve pulled together this handy infographic: