SYDNEY: Almost a third of Australia's biggest brands are yet to establish a presence on leading social media sites, despite the rising popularity of this channel among consumers.

In a new piece of research, eMarketingConnected, the research firm, studied 500 of the country's main firms and brands, and found 31% were not active on at least one or more of four popular platforms, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Even among the 69% of players using these properties, only 12% leveraged all four. A further 22% had joined one, 21% were present on two and 13% were official members of three.

Facebook had an uptake rate of 48%, beating LinkedIn on 41% Twitter on 37%, and YouTube on 25%, the research added.

Collectively, the organisations and products monitored claimed 4.5m Facebook "likes", as well as 821,880 followers on Twitter, some 456,978 affiliations on LinkedIn and 49,638 fans on YouTube.

Within this, the top 11 operators in terms of Facebook "likes" held a 49% share on this measure, indicating an extremely high level of concentration.

Bonds, the apparel chain, boasted the highest number of followers on this site, with 657,434, well ahead of the average of 18,112.

Vodafone Australia, the telecoms provider, Target Australia, the retailer, McDonald's, the fast-food specialist, and 7-Eleven, the convenience store network, were also among the elite in this area.

Qantas, the airline, assumed the lead role on Twitter with 69,758 followers, again considerably bettering the norm of 4,467.

BHP Billiton, the mining, oil and gas firm, had the most LinkedIn connections on 69,741, whereas the average brand had 2,240.

Turning to YouTube, the University of New South Wales had the best comparative figures on 10,533, whereas the average was a somewhat limited 391.

As an example of the wider failure of Australian enterprises to make the most of social media, only 43% used Twitter for customer service purposes, reaching just 28% for Facebook.

Data sourced from eMarketingConnected; additional content by Warc staff