Holmes Report 26 May 2012 // 11:00PM GMT
Twitter remains the most popular social media platform amongst the FTSE 100, with 69 members running an official account compared to 63 in 2011, according to new research conducted by Threepipe Unlimited, the new corporate division of UK boutique consultancy Threepipe.
The research, which examines the social media use of the entire FTSE 100, also reveals that YouTube is the fastest growing in popularity as a communications channel, with 63 FTSE members now having a presence on the video sharing site compared to just 38 in 2011.
Facebook has also enjoyed an increase in FTSE members, with 47 now communicating via the platform compared to 33 in 2011. Google+ is gaining momentum with 40 percent of FTSE members now having a presence on the platform, although 23 of these are yet to actively utilise their accounts.
But 22 FTSE members have no obvious presence on social media whatsoever, although this could be down to these companies listening and monitoring before finalising their strategy. Insurance giant Prudential, which has seven million customers in the UK, has no social media presence. Other absentees from social media predominantly fall into two categories: international commodity or mining groups.
Google+ has similar trends to other social media platforms utilised by the FTSE 100, in that both Burberry and Carnival are leading the way and are included in the highest number of “circles.” Elsewhere, Aggreko, ARM Holdings, Aviva, Experian, Marks & Spencer, Next, Reckitt Benckiser, Royal Bank of Scotland and Unilever also adapt their Facebook content to use on Google+.
One in ten companies from the FTSE 100 is already on Pinterest, with the online pinboard community reportedly enjoying the fastest growth rate of any social networking platform, having averaged 11 million visits per week in December. Burberry also leads the pack on Pinterest, with the fashion juggernaut having 16 pinboards, more than 600 repins and almost 4,000 followers.
Sainsbury’s Pinterest, which has six boards, was originally run by a fan of the supermarket, but has now been taken over by the brand and given the tag line: “Enjoying life’s good things shouldn’t cost the earth.” Meanwhile, Standard Chartered uses Pinterest to promote its sponsorship of Liverpool FC, which was also the first football team to use Pinterest.
Other notable facts on the FTSE 100’s engagement with social media revealed by the research include:
• Natural gas company BG Group has tweeted since December 2009, but more than half its activity has occurred this year
• British American Tobacco has a Facebook page in Bangladesh, Egypt and Nigeria, but not in the UK or North America. Meanwhile, Imperial Tobacco has gained more than 220 followers despite having never tweeted
• @MorrisonsOffers tweets, on average, 40 times per month and has more than 12,000 followers
• @Prudential is owned by a lady called Debbie Crowley who is not associated with the insurance giant, and who does not tweet
According to Beth Carroll, head of social media at Threepipe, “The dramatic shift in content this year reveals that social media strategies are becoming more sophisticated, and this is evident in the growing popularity of mediums such as YouTube. The FTSE 100 is clearly in the early stages of its social media life cycle, but I’m particularly interested to see the high rate of adoption of emerging platforms such as Google+ and Pinterest.
“Pinterest clearly represents a big opportunity for many FTSE members who are already building their presence on the platform. The site’s recently been valued at over $1 billion, so it will be interesting to see how the channel develops over the next year, as more companies move beyond just seeding news-based content.”