YouTube, Twitter lead 'Fortune' social media use

NEW YORK: YouTube saw the largest increase in corporate use among Fortune Global 100 companies, but Twitter is the most popular social platform for corporations, according to a study from Burson-Marsteller and Visible Technologies.

NEW YORK: YouTube saw the largest increase in corporate use among Fortune Global 100 companies, but Twitter is the most popular social platform for corporations, according to a study from Burson-Marsteller and Visible Technologies.

The third annual Global Social Media Check-Up Study found that 82% of Fortune Global 100 companies have at least one Twitter account. The microblogging service is driving online conversation for brands, with each company mentioned an average of 55,970 times per month on the platform. The average number of followers per corporate Twitter account has nearly tripled since 2011, from 5,076 to 14,709.

“Twitter has become one of the most powerful communications tools we've ever had,” said Dallas Lawrence, chief global digital strategist at Burson. “Companies have learned that it's not just about broadcasting, but about how you engage.”

Meanwhile, 79% of companies surveyed have a branded YouTube channel, a 39% jump from the same time last year. The Fortune Global 100 companies' channels had an average of 2 million views and 1,669 subscribers.

“YouTube has been the sleeping giant of the social and digital space, but video is still the most powerful tool to use online,” Lawrence said. “Companies are going back to the basics and realizing that video is a powerful storyteller for them.”

This year's study also examined corporate use of Google+ and Pinterest for the first time and found that 48% of Fortune Global 100 companies are on Google+, while 25% are on Pinterest. Lawrence expects Pinterest use to grow, but Google+ is “still a question mark,” he said.

“On Pinterest, brands have to be very smart about creating visually appealing images, but it outpaces Twitter in referral numbers,” Lawrence said. “On Google+, the first adopters are still the most active.”

Still, neither of those platforms is likely to overtake Facebook, he added.

“Facebook isn't going anywhere,” Lawrence said.

Overall, the study has seen companies' social media strategies move from broadcasting to engagement to content creation, Lawrence said. The next step in social media strategy for brands is “community organization,” he predicted.

“The key is unlocking relevancy, becoming a convening authority for a broader conversation that's relevant to consumers' lives,” Lawrence said.

The Global Social Media Check-Up Study collected data on Fortune Global 100 companies' social media activity during February 2012.

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