Study: Fortune 500 are getting better in Social Media

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They are on increasingly on Twitter (77%), Facebook (70%) and Youtube (69%): Fortune 500 companies. However, in terms of blogs (34%), Google+ (35%) or Pinterest (9%) they seem to be a bit behind or not seeing the value. And the report obviously forgot to look at LinkedIn. This is the findings of one of the latest research pieces of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Fortune 500 Companies Blogs 2013Although from our perspective, blogging is seen to be the essential starting point of a social media strategy, most companies are not there yet. Not all industries see corporate blogging similar. The use varies significantly by industry. It is striking that no company in the pharmaceutical and tobacco section blogs. In contract, 53% of Fortune 500 companies in the telecommunications industry do. Almost 80% of the blogs show regular activity, have got RSS feeds, appreciate comments and offer subscription.

Fortune 500 Companies Social Media 2013Twitter is used in eight out of the top 10 companies (Apple, Chevron, Exxon, Ford Motors, General Electric, General Motors, Phillips 66, and Wal-Mart). All these companies offer frequently status updates on Twitter. Just Berkshire Hathaway and Valero Energy are missing out. Interestingly enough, Facebook has got most followers on Twitter. Google comes in second, then Starbucks, Whole Foods Market, Walt Disney, JetBlue Airways, and Southwest Airlines. 

On Facebook only Exxon is not showing up with an account. The rest, nine of the top 10 companies (Wal-Mart, Chevron, Phillips 66, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, General Motors, General Electric, Valero Energy, and Ford Motors), has got a Facebook page. Obviously, the special retail shows strong use of Facebook (96% with a Facebook fanpage) versus 44% in the utilities sector. That Facebook has most Facebook fans is not surprising. Coca-Cola is number two with 66 million fans, followed by Walt Disney, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and Target. These companies all collected more than 20 million fans. 

Spot On!
What we found interesting in the report is the mention that 59% of companies link to the social platforms from their corporate homepages, whereas for the other companies it required the research team some additional searching. Looking at further social networks and results shows the different strategies. From companies ranked in the top 10 just Berkshire Hathaway has got its own YouTube account. In terms of Google+, 35% use their Google+ accounts actively while 19% set up corporate accounts which are unactive. 50% of the top 10 companies got actove Pinterest boards (Apple, Exxon, Ford, General Motors and Wal-Mart). And although Instagram is now a part of Facebook, only Ford Motors opened an account here, as Wal-Mart is the only top 10 company making use of Foursquare.

Be grateful B2Bs! Communities are the guestbooks of the future…

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© Mat Hayward –

When I started in the B2B industry 16 years ago, my boss was always saying that he wished for some business reference we could get from our clients, that we could post in our magazines (yes, we were print those days), and that we could leverage for our marketing and sales collatoral.

Those references and quotes would help us raise awareness. It would define and differentiate customer confidence. It would foster our sales funnel. And it would be the key to convert our sales opportunities much faster.

In other industries like hotels or restaurants, there was always a guestbook. People could tell the owners and managers what they liked, why they liked it and what made the location appear different from the competitors. In a B2B world, this was not possible. And there were reasons for it…

Who wanted to ruin the company’s tough won conditions of purchase?
Who would risk annoying their bosses for deeper supplier engagement?
Who said openly how highly rated the quality of a supplier’s communication effort was?
Who started positive questions and conversations by themselves without having a need to?
Who rates, reviews and recommends a B2B solution or a product without a need?

Today, people do that. In the B2B space maybe less than in the B2C world. But they do. And a reference in a B2B business has more value, more credibility and more sales power than when somebody likes a chocolate bar or some pair of sports-shoes – especially when not done on a social network but a corporate community.

But there are challenges coming along with this modern B2B reference development…

Companies and brands need to listen and monitor what their community is saying, and where they mention them. They need to categorize the value of a „Like“ versus the impact of a comment on a corporate blog. They need to define ways for measurement criteria. And they have to know when and where to store a comment – whether positive or negative.

Positive comments are a blessing. But what if the comment disappears on Twitter after some weeks? What if the Facebook comment losses attention as of permanent posting in a company’s timeline? What value has the „Like“ in general, if people don’t value Facebook as a B2B platform? Anf what if your company has a high Klout score but your clients have no clue what the impct of Klout score has for B2B?

Negative comments are an opportunity. Why not take the chance to answer to someone who was disatisfied with the solution or product? Assuming there are other clients experiencing the same problems, challenges, or undeliverables, B2Bs better respond. Is there a better chance to learn in order to get more references? Being „open“ is authentic, is valuable, is generating more conversations.

Companies and brands should be grateful. Today, we have platforms where we can get references: corporate communities, forums, blogs, social network accounts and so on. But we need to make sure, we create Social Media guestbooks which display and keep the reference, the business people that have shared them, those that have retweeted, repinned or „re-used“ them. Or why did we create and display case studies on our B2B websites for years?

Hey, when did B2B companies or brands have FANS? Just look at the community sites of IBM, Caterpillar, AMEX, Philips, Palladium, SAP and you will understand the importance of Social Media guestbooks.

I am asking myself the question, why are companies giving their hottest assets in the hands of Facebook, Twitter and the likes. And why they are not just changing their mindset. Answers welcome…!

Is Social Media going corporate?

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It is always exciting watching the results from the latest contradictory studies and infographics on corporate Social Media these days popping up here and there. While one company claims businesses adopt Social Media not fast enough, the other shows the opposite truth.

Last week DOMO, a Social Media analytics service company, came to the conclusion that 70% of Fortune 500 CEOs cannot be found on any Social Media or social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest. However, another infographic by MBA Programs states the intense evolution of Social Media in corporate business.

The results of the DOMO study states that only 7.6% of CEO’s can be made out on Facebook, Twitter & Co. Isn’t this kind of scary bearing in mind that Social Media is here to stay?! How can CEOs understand the shift in the world of their buyers when they are not paying attention to the three reasons why Millennials are redefining the purchase behavior of today?

Is it not the best argument that the average number of followers for Fortune 500 CEOs with Twitter accounts is 33,250? We would be glad to have that figure!

The only shame of the report is that it has no depth in the argumentation why the CEOs are not to be found on those social platforms. Do they not believe in it? Are they not convinced of the ROI it might provide, although 45% of Execs see the positive impact on business? Do they not have the time for it? Many guesses…

„The primary reason you have to be social is because that is where your customer lives. Even if you are not leveraging it to close business and interact with your customers, you have to spend enough time online to at least understand the shift in the world.“ Josh, James, Founder, Domo.

An MBA programs infographic shows that 94% of corporate business are embracing Social Media these days. Even more, 85% also mention the positive impact it has on their business… and if it is just more exposure which can be assumed to be the main reason in many companies why they use Social Media.

Although, we have a different approach und understanding as to how to correctly do Social Business, we can today understand the base motives. Time, money, people and policies are the corporate hurdles. If you look at them, then you know why they manage Social Media in the traditional advertising, marketing and PR manner. It is not surprising that Facebook is the favorite tool for most companies (92%). I bet you can find many examples where they do not reply to customers.

The reason? Social Media is not used and understood as a customer service tool. Most companies (and often their management teams) don’t want to believe in conversation as being the catalyst for making business. And sometimes it is uncomfortable to give feedback to some critical words. Although there might be found the next generation of their brand advocates. But only bright CEOs will figure that out…

Is Social Media really going corporate? What is your view why CEOs of corporates don’t embrace Social Media? Why do they hide away?

How the Fortune 500 use Social Media in 2012

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How do the Fortune 500 use and evaluate Social Media sites? Please find a great infographic by Go Gulf that illustrates some of the key Social Media statistics for the biggest corporate players.

Here are the key points…
– 23% already have a corporate blog.
– 58% have an active corporate Facebook account.
– 62% have an active corporate Twitter account and have tweeted from in the past 30 days.
– The biggest number of blogs is in specialist retail industry.
– The insurance industry gets the highest number of Facebook pages.

The next two years will definitely show some massive changes in the adoption of Social Media in big enterprises which we acknowledge in different meetings and seminars these days.

What do you think about this adoption of „Social“ in companies?

Pay a Blogger Day – How to reward a blogger’s work?

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Have you ever paid a blogger? Paid for your content love? I mean not for writing some good PR for your business. Just for them being bloggers, sharing valueble content, thoughts, ideas, and providing new food for thought. In some days you can do that. The „Pay a Blogger Day“ is here to come. Some thoughts that came to my mind with it…

Some months ago, Flattr started their outreach program to bloggers. And some months ago, they were on their way to revolutionize the monetization of blogs. Those days, the Flattr button went live on my blog, and in every post. I rewarded blog posts, and got some rewards. Just the way Flattr works. They had the idea for the „Pay a Blogger Day“.

On Flattr Cents pass from bloggers to bloggers to… Well. Companies never paid anything. They have the biggest budget pockets though. And I asked myself if bloggers want companies to engage in the monetization process, or if reputation is of higher value for them. And why should companies pay a blogger for something they produce for free. Still trying to figure that out…

Some blog posts generated some Cents immediately through Flattr, never enough for some nice ice-cream in a week though. Somehow the activity to „donate“ for a well-written piece of thought or idea felt like an act of charity. Some Cents felt like a pat on the shoulder. Sometimes, I discussed with bloggers if that is encouraging, or frustrating? Every blogger argued differently about this gesture. Many were not convinced. I have seen not many buttons on blogs since.

And often when I wanted to spend some Cents, those bloggers did not use Flattr. So, my reward for them often ended in a Retweet. Maybe Retweets are the killer of positive blog comments

The main problem many bloggers saw in Flattr was that it will be challenging to get attention for this payment theory outside the bloggosphere. Sounded like: „Bloggers will pay themselves and thus reward their work within an inner circle of the blogging community.“ One of the reasons why I finally decided to remove the button from my blog.

Now, Flattr starts -in cooperation with Bambuser, Twingly and Posterous– the „Pay a Blogger Day!“ on November, 29th. They intend to start a movement with the mission „Give something back to bloggers!“ A good idea…

How to reward a blogger’s work?
If I may inspire you -companies, marketers and managers- with reward opportunities for bloggers, then maybe you want to read this…

a) Companies that have used shared knowledge to improve their business could write a reference quote for the blogger why and how they benefit from reading a blog. It could be a comment, tweet or a blog post on their blog. Just be creative…!

b) Managers that have used shared knowledge for their career purposes could send a present when they think the blogger has deserved it (does not need to be on the „Pay a blogger day!“). A flower (digital or real), a freebie of your products or an invite to a paid for workshop about corporate blogging. And hey, chances are high, bloggers might write about it. Just be clever…!

c) Marketers that have used shared knowledge for their campaign ideas could start thinking about whether they shovel money into a print grave, rely on TV reach or hope for radio commercial payback. Maybe they want to start sponsor a blogger who is worth it as they act like brandvangelist, testimonial or brand advocate for a brand or company. And why are not many marketers trying to make use of bloggers in the offline world? Just be curious…!

d) Followers, fans, „plusers“ and bloggers that have used shared knowledge could start discussing the monetization of their work in an authentic collaborative manner. Do you want banners ads, text links, affiliate programs, brand advocate prgrams, or…? What is authentic blog monetization? Or is it reputation only? In short: money, products or reputation currency like

Here is how Flattr wants to inspire you to reward a blogger…

Think about the thoughts and then start acting! I am sure, bloggers know how to say „Thank you“ and all bloggers would love to see some of these rewarding opportunities. Right…?

News Update – Best of the Day

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The Fortune 500’s companies embrace the social web more and more. The use of web 2.0 tools continues to increase. The fastest growing tool was Twitter in 2009. This found the study “The Fortune 500 and Social Media: A Longitudinal Study of Blogging and Twitter Usage by America’s Largest Companies”.

The key findings:
– 22% of the 2009 Fortune 500 have a public-facing corporate blog.
– 86% of these blogs link directly to a corporate twitter account – more Fortune 500 corporations have Twitter accounts, but do not link directly from their blogs.
– 35% have active Twitter accounts (post within the past thirty days)
– 50% of the top 100 companies have a Twitter account.
– 80% post regularly on their Twitter accounts. the number one, Exxon Mobil, does not have a Twitter account.
– The insurance industry has the most Twitter accounts (13).
– 19% is podcasting
– 31% integrate online video into their blog sites

Now, compare the data with the top 100 companies social web strategies. The new Burson-Marsteller Fortune Global 100 Social Media study gives some insights and shows that the use of Twitter goes up. It is the top social media platform of choice among the Fortune Global 100.
– 65% of the largest 100 international companies have active Twitter accounts
– 54% have a Facebook fan page
– 50% have a YouTube channel
– 33% have corporate blogs.
Interesting for me to see is that only 20% make use of all four platforms to engage their customers or business partners. And there are also regional differences: Companies in the United States and Europe are more likely to use Twitter or Facebook than corporate blogs. Businesses in Asia-Pacific are more likely to utilize corporate blogs than social networks.

The new MINI Countryman just launched thneir first exclusive commercial video. The slogan for their new car: Life is out there. Go live it. And once you have seen the spot you know what mmakes the difference between offline and online.

BreakingPoint: Insights in their social media strategy

20.01.2010 von  
Kategorie Social Media

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Yesterday, I was refering to the case study by BreakingPoint to show the impact of social media for lead generation. And I promised to get some feedback from the responsible person at BreakingPoint on how they made these results happen. Kyle Flaherty gave me some insights in BreakiingPoint Systems social media strategy which I am allowed to share with you.

In his eyes, the succes of companies with social media needs to follow a company’s philosophy in a way that „social media should not be a separate entity in the marketing or communications strategy, in fact it must be part of your company DNA if it is to be successful.“

The main question I was asking myself was how they at BreakingPoint organize their social media activities and content production. Kyle told me that it was a long learning curve. Today, he is working with a team of eight bloggers (all highly technical) who fill their Twitter program (nearly 25% of company members are on Twitter), Facebook, LinkedIn Groups, corporate blog, etc. And he describes the content production process as follows:

„For our blog it is a very organic process, which I believe works best. I send notes out to potential bloggers each month discussing certain themes and asking if folks are working on anything in particular. This sparks some thoughts around blog posts, which they send my way for editing and SEO. As for LinkedIn, every member is put through a qualification process and given very clear engagement rules for the group. I enforce these from time to time by explaining to people how they should engage, kicking out spammers, etc. I also will go into the group on a daily basis and pose a question to start up conversation and ask particular members to respond in order to facilitate communication.“

The question of people who want to involved in social media is always: What is the overall investment in starting social media activities? Kyle responds that the investment was not massive spendings. Although it has to be said that Kyle managed web development projects for years in his last job which probably saved the company some dollars.

„Two specific areas we spend money when it comes to social media. First is with equipment for podcasts and video, which is an important element of our social media strategy. In 2009 I spent only $2,000 (U.S) for equipment. The other element is our website and the development of a new blog (debuting in February!). This is obviously a more substantial cost, but one we would have done no matter what. In my opinion a good site development, depending on what you are doing, can be done for around $15,000 (note that I managed web dev projects for years in my last job). Otherwise our budget is spent on “traditional” marketing areas such as drip email marketing, events, demand gen, etc. But it is important to note that we integrate social media with each of these elements.

From a sustainability point of view it is often argued that social media can save money as a positive factor compared to traditional marketing. Kyle tells me that using social media is not a tactic to save money but that the budgets spent follow the same KPI rules of traditional marketing efforts.

„We worry less about saving money and more about making our activities work for us. For example, we map nearly every dollar spent back to sales. If a marketing activity, whether traditional or social media focused, is not brining in sales we do not engage in that activity for much longer.“

Today, 30% of their generated leads are coming from social media activities – and all leads are new contacts.

Kyle Flaherty is Director Marketing and Communications and manages external communications, community relationships and influencer marketing at BreakingPoint. He also blogs on b2b marketing topics on his personal blog Dance with strangers.

Social Media Strategie? – Studie der 100 größten Werbemarken…

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Eine aktuelle Studie der Universität Oldenburg in Zusammenarbeit mit der Agentur Construktiv besagt, daß inzwischen 60% der größten Marken in Deutschland auf Social-Media-Seiten aktiv sind. Untersucht wurde der Einsatz von Facebook, Twitter, YouTube und Blogs bei den 100 Brands mit den „größten Werbegeldern“. Die konkludierenden Aussagen der Studienmacher wirken allerdings etwas oberflächlich.

Interessant sind dabei zwei Ergebnisse der Executive Summary…

Social Media 100 Top1. Welches Social Netzwerk und wie die Firmen dieses nutzen?
– 25% beschränken sich auf den Einsatz von einer Social Media-Plattform, ein Drittel der Marken nutzt zwei oder drei.
– 39% der befragten deutschen Unternehmen nutzten Twitter, 37% YouTube und 28% Faceboo, 12% setzen auf Corporate Blogs
– 5% nutzen alle untersuchten Social Media Plattformen: Sparkasse, RWE, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Hornbach und Vodafone

2. Wie werten die Studienmacher die Ergebnisse?
Etwas unverständlich und ungestützt wirkt die Aussage: „Eine umfassende Social Media-Strategie ist
noch die Ausnahme: Nur 5% bedienen zugleich Facebook, Twitter, YouTube und Corporate Blogs.“

Das lasse ich jetzt mal wirken auf meine Leser…

Wer besagt denn, daß eine umfassende Social-Media-Strategie die Klaviatur aller dieser vier Medien umfaßt? Macht es wirklich für alle Unternehmen Sinn hier überall präsent zu sein? Oder gibt es vielleicht auch Ausnahmen und sind deshalb die Banken, chemische Industrie und Lebensmittelhersteller noch etwas zurückhaltender (nicht mehr als 50% sind hier aktiv)? Und was ist mit XING oder LinkedIn? Oder mit Sevenload? StudiVZ oder MySpace? Oder mit den Bookmarking-Diensten? Die gehören also nicht zu einer Social Media Strategie? Oder doch…?

Auch die nachfolgende Aussage ist würdig, überdenkt zu werden. „So lässt sich (…) erkennen, dass die Top-5 Marken „Der Spiegel“, „Süddeutsche Zeitung“, „Hornbach“, „FOCUS“ und „Vodafone“ allein 54,3 Prozent aller Videos, Tweets, Artikel oder Nachrichten produzieren“. Das sind allein drei Medien-Marken, die auf Clicks zur Vermarktung ihres Contents setzen. Hier zählt noch der Gedanke an Reichweite und Quantität. Die Frage ist, ob hier Zielgruppen-Affinität und inhaltliche Qualität die Folge ist. Eine Frage, die sich auch alle Firmen stellen sollten, die auf Social Media setzen wollen. Und es ist ein Mobiltelefon-Provider, der sich schon ganz ordentlich in der Social Media Welt ins Gespräch gebracht hat. Ob positiv oder nicht, können andere beurteilen…

Spot On!
Wenn man am Schluß als letzten Punkt schreibt: „Generell gilt: Je aktiver Social Media betrieben wird, desto stärker ist die Resonanz der Internetnutzer“, klingt das sehr… generell. Gilt das nicht auch für gute Online-PR, gutes Webmarketing, aktive Salesarbeit und ordentlichen Kundendienst. Letztendlich ist doch die Frage, ob und wie der Social Media Einsatz in eine unternehmenseigene schlüssige Webstrategie und noch weitergehend in die Businessstrategie integriert wird. Ob die Kommunikation der internen Kultur entspricht und administrativ im Back-End aufgefangen werden kann, ob sie extern authentisch wirkt, ob sie nachhaltig aufrecht erhalten werden kann sowie einen zukunftsträchtigen Einsatz innnerhalb einer Kommunikationsstrategie findet. Hier bietet die Studie leider wenig Anhaltspunkte hinsichtlich eines strategischen Ansatzes…

News Update – Best of the Day

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daily1Have you ever wondered if there are fortune 500 companies that do social media right? 10 of them do! Just read Jennifer Leggio’s post… And if you want to know how to become an enterprise 2.0 company, just listen to Dion Hinchcliffe

The social web geeks tell companies to work with the new world of engagement and multilogue. But how do companies have to balance corporate blogs and social media. Andy Piper gives some good insights…

The world is talking in videos – and baby videos seem to become famous on YouTube. Check these top 10 dancing baby videos out…

How to attract more visitors – The 10 most important visitor resources for blogs

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How can you find a lot of users for your business blog?

How can you find a lot of users for your business blog?

Is there a secret, why corporate blogs and business blogs have more success than traditional corporate websites? Is it the modern architecture of blogging systems? Is it the exiting and exhilarant spelling style of bloggers? Or is a conspiracy of the digital natives against the internet retirees?

Nothing of it! Blogs and bloggers are simply using some very effective methods to attract visitors.

The 10 most important visitor resources for blogs:

  1. Feeds – Blogs are read via feed reader predominantly, not via browsers any longer. Well-known blogs have more than 100.000 feed reader per day. On a normal day in Germany, there are some blogs with more than 10.000 feed reader.
    Highlight your RSS feed on your blog and take advantage of a feed service like Feedburner
  2. Google – Visitors through search engines are the second largest visitor group of blogs. Bloggers use always methods of search engine optimization (SEO) in order to achieve good rankings with important key words.
    Write in a search engine friendly way. Use Google’s Webmaster Tools and install a SEO plug-in like wpSEO!
  3. Pingbacks and Trackbacks – Links don’t just offer a value-add for your own users but also backlinks and numerous new users.
    Link all directions as often as possible and learn to use trackbacks in a proper way.
  4. Twitter – with the micro-blogging service you can approach users faster than with your blog. News with real add-on information are spread via Twitter the „viral“ way very fast.
    Work on broadening your Twitter follower base. Promote your Twitter account on your blog and vice versa. Twitter your blog postings at the right time!
  5. Social Networks – Promote your important blog postings on XING, Facebook or LinkedIn.
  6. Forums – Are you an accredited expert, for example a wine blogger?
    If you see in a forum the question: What are the most expensive wines or the 10 most dry French ones? Write a posting on your blog and post only the link in the forum.
  7. Blog directors and RSS feed directories – Just some selected directories (Technorati, Blogoscoop, Bloggerei, Wikio) generate new visitors. Especially, if you are ranking well in these directories.
  8. Your comments on other blogs – Make yourself heard on other blogs as a constructive business partner – far and foremost in not well-known blogs. This will result in new visitors. Beware the free of sense comments! This will damage your own blog reputation in the long term.
  9. Comments of others on your blog – This is the secret of well-visited blogs:
    Be responsive to comments – You will win permanent visitors!
  10. Guest writers – Invite readers/users, other bloggers or „VIP’s“ from the offline and online world to write guest posts. Every guest author will be talking to others about it or link directly to this post.
    Your creativity has no limits: travel agents blog about journeys of their customers, hotel managers animate guests to write about their vacation resort, … Your customers don’t want that? Ask them if they want to publish some of their holiday pictures on your homepage! You will be surprised seeing the reaction…

Did I forget something? Is your ranking of visitor resources different? Where do you see options to attract more visitors for your blog? Looking forward reading your comments and reading your ideas and thoughts!

Guest writer Karl-Heinz Wenzlaff is the German expert and consultant for business blogging. He knows the useful tips and tricks, and is specialized on professional company blogs, product blogs or employee blogs. Some month ago, he helped me migrating from Blogger to WordPress in order to set up a magazine theme.

Thank you for being one of my guest writers, Karl-Heinz.

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