DiStaso, Marcia W., & McCorkindale, Tina M. (2013). A benchmark analysis of the strategic use of social media for Fortune’s Most Admired U.S. Companies on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Public Relations Journal, 7(1), 1-33.
By exploring the strategic use of social media for 250 of Fortune’s Most Admired U.S. Companies on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, this study creates a benchmark by which companies can use to gauge their involvement in the three dominant social media platforms. Results found that 91% of the companies utilized at least one social media platform. YouTube was the most commonly adopted social media followed by Twitter then Facebook. Overall, 30% of companies in this study provided a social media code of conduct in at least one platform, 58% integrated their social media accounts, 14% used a human voice, and 52% used a dialogic loop. Each of the topics is explored for each of the three social media platforms and suggestions for companies are included.
The original population was comprised of the companies in the 2011 Fortune’s World’s Most Admired U.S. Companies list available online at Fortune.com. Companies with their headquarters based outside the United States were removed due to potential language translation issues and the significance of different social media platforms in different countries. A content analysis of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts was performed of 250 randomly selected companies.
1) More than one-third (36%) of companies studied adopted all three social media platforms, and 58% of companies provided at least one link to another social media platform for integration.
2) Overall, 30% of companies provided a social media code of conduct in at least one platform.
3) Only 14% of companies used a “human voice” in any of their accounts while 52% used a dialogic loop in at least one of their social media platforms.
4) Stakeholders were most willing to engage over Facebook, followed by Twitter and YouTube.
5) Twitter was the most frequently used social media platform in a two-week period, followed by Facebook and YouTube.
Implications for Practice
This study is a useful benchmark for which companies can use to gauge their involvement in the social media platforms, and is a valuable tool for public relations professionals who may be challenged with justifying the use of social media in their companies. Companies need to engage in the dialogic loop with stakeholders and remember that quality not quantity is important on social media sites. Overall, companies need to think about integration of social media accounts and the strategic use of social media, both internally and externally.
The full article is available for free at: http://www.prsa.org/Intelligence/PRJournal/Documents/2013DiStasoMcCorkindale.pdf