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UK companies lag on social media

News, 04 February 2015

LONDON/NEW YORK: UK companies lag behind their US counterparts who are making significantly better use of social media for corporate communications purposes new research has shown.

Investis, a digital corporate communications business, reviewed how more than 500 publicly listed companies in the US and UK were using eight social media channels for corporate communications and scored them accordingly in its Social Media Review 2015.

Overall, it found that US companies significantly outperformed those in the UK averaging a 48% score compared to the UK figure of 26%.

"Many companies only invest seriously in social media after a bad experience – and even then, they may persist in seeing it as a damage limitation tool," the reported noted.

But, it added, social media is "a uniquely powerful tool for enhancing and maintaining a corporate reputation on an ongoing basis".

And this was true even for those accounts mixing corporate and marketing content. While the latter clearly drove engagement, Investis also observed a correlation between corporate content and engagement.

Thus, for example, Twitter accounts with investor relations content had 60% more followers than those without, while the figure for those with CSR content was 239% higher.

"The siloed approach to corporate communications is no longer fit for purpose," Investis declared.

It further noted the need for a genuine commitment to engagement and regular, high-volume output in order to generate more views and greater interaction.

This was starkly illustrated by statistics relating to Facebook, where companies that responded to wall posts averaged almost 1,600% more Likes than those which did not.

And while who is doing the liking and following on social media is more important than how many, Investis suggested that more content and more engagement leads to more people responding and more content being shared both by individual users and the social channel's newsfeed algorithms.

Technology companies were the best performing sector in social media with an average score of 56%, followed by banks on 49%, automobiles on 48% and aerospace on 46%.

Consumer-facing sectors – food & beverage (35%), retail (32%), travel & leisure (29%) and personal & household goods (29%) – were clustered in the middle of the table.

Investis noted that many of these had extensive consumer presence on social media but tended to do little from the corporate perspective, perhaps for fear of muddying the waters.

Data sourced from Investis; additional content by Warc staff