Global Social Media Check Up 2012

How Fortune 100 Companies Use Social Media

Each year Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm, completes a social media check-up examining how Fortune 100 companies use popular social networking platforms including: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. This year, the study also included a review of how the world’s leading brands are using the newest game players, Google+ and Pinterest.

The way that Fortune 100 companies use social media appears to have gone through a steady progression over the past few years:

2010 – Fortune 100 companies had just began using social media

2011 – Brands started engaging with followers and users on social media, i.e. responding to comments and tweets

2012 – Brand followers and mentions on social media increased dramatically as more companies began responding to posts, comments, and tweets by followers; as well as, companies increasing the number of platforms they were actively using

Currently, the most popular global companies on social media include:

  • HP
  • Ford
  • Sony
  • AT&T
  • Samsung
  • Toyota
  • Honda
  • BP
  • Walmart
  • Verizon


Continuing a trend from 2010, Twitter is stillĀ  the most popular platform used by the top global brands. At the same time, the number of Fortune 100 companies actively using at least one social media platform has increased by 10% since 2010.

An interesting finding from this studying shows that in 2011 Facebook was the second most popular platform for Fortune 100 brands, followed by YouTube; but, in 2012 YouTube gained the second place position, ranking Facebook as the third most popular social media platform.

Since 2012, Fortune 100 companies have (on average) increased the number of Twitter accounts that their corporate accounts follow by 180%. In addition, the interaction that companies have with users has increased, with 79% of corporate accounts responding to retweets and mentions. This increase is most likely a behavior change for brands in response to a change in follower expectations. Social media communities expect companies that they following to engage with them, not simply bark information at them. In conjunction with these behavior changes, the average number of Twitter followers on a corporate twitter accounts nearly tripled from 2011 to 2012, averaging almost 15,000.


Nearly 3/4 of all global fortune 100 companies have a Facebook page, up from 1/5 in 2010. In addition, Facebook communities have grown an average of 275%, most likely due to a greater focus on engaging with brand followers. Similar to the engagement trend seen on Twitter profiles, 70% of corporate pages are now responding to comments on their walls and timelines in order to meet follower expectations.

YouTube, Google+, and Pinterest

During the first half of 2012, there has been increase in multi-platform use. From 2011 to 2012, the number of YoutTube Channels of these Fortune 100 companies increased by almost 40%.

Two figures that I found very interesting involve two of the newer social media platforms, Google+ and Pinterest. Currently, almost half of all global fortune 100 companies have a Google+ page and one quarter have a Pinterest account. This is a very interesting trend, as Google+ is still working on building its community, while Pinterest has a very large and active community. While there has been a lot of discussion around Google+, I would have guessed that a larger amount of global brands would be actively using Pinterest instead of Google+. It will be very interesting to see how this trend evolves over the next year.

Cross Platform Trends

A new trend that this report examined was the use of multiple accounts on a single platform, in order to target audiences by geography, topic, or service.

Below is a break down of the average number of accounts per platform that Fortune 100 companies had in 2012, compared to 2011:

Platform 2011 2012
Twitter 5.8 10.1
Facebook 4.2 10.4
YouTube 2.7 8.1

Based on the report, one of the largest challenges that global brands are currently facing when using social media is how to reach customers who speak different languages. Some companies have created individual profiles for each language, while others have created ‘multilingual’ accounts, such as using one corporate Twitter profile but sending tweets out multiple times (example: one tweet will be written in English and the other in French). However, this may cause issues when trying to send the same message in two languages, while still meeting the 140 character limit.

Check out the full Burson-Marsteller Global Social Media Check-Up 2012 report below, or view it on SlideShare.

4 thoughts on “How Fortune 100 Companies Use Social Media

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