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Idle social networking accounts harming brands - report

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1st Mar 2010
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A huge eight out of ten multinationals may be using social media, but a mere one in five is employing the multiple tools necessary to deliver a truly effective communications strategy. Furthermore, abandoned social networking initiatives can also be damaging - with idle, out of date accounts having a detrimental impact on the brand.

These are the findings of a survey undertaken by PR and communications company Burson-Marsteller, which looked at the use of social networking sites Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and corporate blogging among the world’s largest companies.

The study called the 'Fortune Global 100 Social Media Check-up', found that most companies had dipped their toe in the water, "some with a big splash and others with a timid ripple".

But while 79% were using at least one social media platform, only 20% were using all four to try and engage with stakeholders. The report warned, however: "No single social media tool can stand on its own. For a company that wants a truly effective communications strategy, leveraging multiple social media tools for their individual strengths is required."

Another problem was that many organisations had multiple accounts, which included not only the main one controlled by corporate headquarters, but also others handled by local offices and divisions as well as accounts set up for one-off corporate events.

Of those surveyed, some 65% had Twitter accounts, 54% had Facebook fan pages, 50% had YouTube video channels and 33% corporate blogs. But of the companies that were actively engaged in communicating with customers via such channels, each had 4.2 Twitter accounts, 2.1 Facebook pages, 1.6 YouTube channels and 4.2 blogs.

Again the report warned, however, that the situation was generating challenges by "creating mixed messages and tones and by leaving abandoned Twitter accounts and Facebook fan pages, which may be detrimental to the brand".

As a result, it was imperative that organisations "monitor their own social media presence to ensure a consistent brand message and to measure the impact of their social media engagement", the study said.

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