Nancy Davis Kho Burson Marsteller 2010 Social Media report
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By Nancy Davis Kho

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Communications firm Burson-Marsteller released a report in February 2010 on the uptake of social media platforms by Fortune Global 100 companies, as part of their new Evidence Based Communications research series. The report is interesting not only because it shows evidence of how corporations are relying on social media to engage customers, but because it includes a dive into how various platforms are being used in specific countries. According to the results, 79% of Fortune Global 100 companies are using at least one of the following four platforms: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and corporate blogs. But there are some significant regional differences: 'Companies based in the United States and Europe were most likely to use Twitter (U.S.: 72 percent, Europe: 71 percent) or Facebook (U.S.: 69 percent, Europe: 52 percent) than they were to have corporate blogs (U.S.: 34 percent, Europe: 25 percent), while companies from Asia-Pacific were more likely to utilize corporate blogs (50 percent) than other forms of social media (Twitter: 40 percent, Facebook: 40 percent)'. Looking into country specifics is also illuminating. Koreans, for instance, prefer to participate in online 'café' discussions which protect the anonymity of posers. In France, companies are using Twitter, but there is a predominance of 'push' type messaging and little effort to actively engage in user discussion. And in Brazil there is both high user participation and relatively longer browsing periods with social networks; not surprisingly, Brazilian companies are leading the charge in using Twitter for promotions, offers, and contests. For companies who want to reach clients in local markets using social media platforms - and that should be just about everyone - and for those with a global network of employees, an understanding of the cultural specifics of social media platform use for each market is imperative. The full study is available at http://digbig.com/5bbkkt. Equally imperative is a good social network policy - yet a January 2010 report released by Manpower called 'Social Networks vs. Management: Harness the Power of Social Media' found that only one-fifth of the companies surveyed had a formal policy for employee use of external social networking sites. Firms in the Americas and Asia-Pacific were somewhat ahead on this front, but the majority of firms had no policy at all. See the full results here: http://digbig.com/5bbkkw. Our May VIP issue will include a comparative review of three popular social networks: LinkedIn, Jigsaw, and ZoomInfo. Maybe that's also a good deadline to check if your social media participation policy is up to date - or at least exists?

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