Social media divide emerges in FTSE100 as corporations get creative

FTSE100 companies are getting more engagement on social media as they embrace more creative methods, says new research that highlights a divide between those firms that exploit social channels and those that don't.

Sex and the kitty: FTSE100 firms embrace creative social media – including cat memes
Sex and the kitty: FTSE100 firms embrace creative social media – including cat memes

FTI Consulting’s Social Divide in the City report compares social media use among the FTSE100 in 2015 with the previous year, looking at posts the day before, on the day, and one day after financial announcements.

It found there were actually fewer tweets related to company results than in 2014 (504 versus 521). However, these tweets were almost twice as popular and effective; FTI recorded 3,160 retweets and likes of these posts in 2015, compared with 1,766 in 2014.

The report – which looks at companies’ use of Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube and SlideShare – names BP as the firm with the most effective social media strategy. The oil giant’s results-related content was engaged with 1,194 times, or almost twice as many times as the content of the runner-up TUI Group. Vodafone is third and Shell fourth in the full rankings, published at the end of this story.

The report says: "One of the reasons for BP’s outstanding performance in our index is the company’s long-term and consistent use of rich media. An overwhelming majority of BP’s tweets and LinkedIn posts contain images or videos, and the company is using specialist image-driven platforms, including Instagram, to communicate with its stakeholders. We expect platforms like Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat to play a bigger role in corporate communications in the year ahead."

It adds: "The benefits of visual content on social media are well recorded. However, an occasional image in an otherwise text-based feed is not enough – a long-term commitment to visuals in the majority of corporate content is needed for a company to truly feel the benefits of images and videos."

The report says there is now a "clear divide between those who are truly embracing the opportunities for engagement online and those who are not".

Another example of the former is Vodafone Group. The report says: "Vodafone shows its peers how to be humorous, relevant and engaging by leveraging a prominent element of internet culture – cats – in the company’s corporate materials. This infographic has been engaged with 524 times on LinkedIn alone, making it the second most popular LinkedIn post in our analysis, behind BP.

"Remember – just because you are talking about financial results doesn’t mean your communications have to be dry."

Other findings:

  • 85 FTSE100 companies have a YouTube channel and 16 posted a video covering their results on the platform
  • Just 15 FTSE100 firms have a SlideShare account, and just three posted their results on the platform
  • Based on the volume of posts, the impact (retweets, likes, comments etc) and overall quality, the top FTSE100 company for using Twitter is Royal Dutch Shell. It is followed by Dixons Carphone, Diageo, Aviva and BHP Billiton
  • For LinkedIn, BP is top, followed by Vodafone Group, TUI Group, GlaxoSmithKline and Barclays.
  • Based on the number of views, Sainsbury’s is the top company on YouTube, ahead of fellow supermarket group Tesco, then Anglo American, Unilever and Aviva.

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