LONDON: Shell, AstraZeneca and J Sainsbury are the UK companies making the most effective use of social media for corporate branding purposes, according to a new study.

Sociagility, the consultancy, assessed the social media presence of the organisations featuring in the FTSE100 index, comprising the UK's biggest firms, and found 56% had a Facebook page to promote their overall business, not just a specific brand.

This figure rose to 65% for boasting a channel fulfilling the same function on YouTube, the video-sharing platform, while 72% of companies ran an account on Twitter, the microblog, and all of them had an official website.

Based on five audience metrics – popularity, receptiveness, interaction, reach and trust – the study awarded Shell, the energy conglomerate, the best score across these sites, on 996 points.

AstraZeneca, the pharma giant, claimed second on 859 points, in front of J Sainsbury, the supermarket chain, on 446 points and M&S Group, the high-street retailer, on 415 points.

Next, the fashion retailer, followed on 362 points, ahead of Vedanta Resources, the mining expert, on 322 points, ITV, the broadcaster, on 313 points and ARM Holdings, the technology pioneer, on 311 points.

Completing the top ten were Unilever, the FMCG manufacturer, and WM Morrison, another of the country's leading supermarket operators, on 206 points.

Turning to LinkedIn, a more business-orientated service, while 95% of corporations had a company page, which is automatically created by the website, actual participation rates were much lower.

As such, only 30% of the enterprises analysed had been active on this property during the 30 days prior to the study, and an even more modest 12% had engaged with site users.

Shell again led the rankings when looking solely at LinkedIn, with 976 points, beating AMEC, the engineering firm, on 711 points, Unilever with 685 points and the InterContinental Hotels Group on 494 points.

Upon investigating any potential links between these social media scores and stock market performance at various points throughout November, Sociagility yielded some "surprising and reassuring" findings.

"Higher social media performance scores were associated with positive changes in share price," the study said. "Most notably, the correlations between the 'receptiveness' score and the daily, weekly and monthly change in share price to 28 November were all statistically significant.

"Of course, correlation is not the same as causation, so it may simply be that companies are using social media effectively because they are more valuable and are therefore better able to invest in the right resources."

Data sourced from Sociagility; additional content by Warc staff