TWITTER is the most popular social media service among FTSE 100 companies while Facebook and corporate blogs are least popular, a survey by UK-based corporate web development firm The Group has found.
The firm says that 45% of the large-cap companies in the UK’s blue-chip index now have Twitter accounts, a rise of almost 50% since November 2009. Meanwhile, 39% have an official YouTube channel, up from 29% a year earlier.
“Overall, we can see a social media landscape where Twitter use is relatively common while other channels are eyed warily by the majority, particularly corporate blogging,” notes The Group Content Strategist Frank Harkin in a blog post
Only 1 in 4 FTSE 100 companies has a Facebook page versus 20% a year earlier. Harkin speculates that UK companies are eschewing Facebook because “it can be expensive to create bespoke elements for Facebook pages” and “unlike Twitter, Facebook pages require a greater investment of time and energy to maintain.”
I don’t believe these are real barriers, however. Compared to a company website or a blog, it doesn’t take much time or money to maintain an effective Facebook page. Sure, you can do some fancy things, but they will largely go ignored because the Wall is typically where most activity happens.
Besides, if you can write or copy a few lines of code or install an app, almost anyone can customize a company Facebook page. Brand or product pages may require special effort, but they’re still a cost-effective channel compared to other options.
Harkin is probably closer to the mark when he says that there is a “general antipathy among large corporations (particularly here in the UK) toward any kind of change.” I take this to mean that being active on Facebook requires companies to loosen their neckties and shed some or all of their corporate pretense, something they’re not yet comfortable doing.
Saying that the FTSE 100 remains “a blogging backwater,” Harkin notes that just 12% of constituent firms have a corporate blog, which is still 200% more than a year earlier. The survey excludes 11 blogs from the count because they do not meet the criteria for true corporate blogs for various reasons.
However, even among those UK companies that are blogging, there’s evident reticence to fully embrace the medium.
Harkin says companies “seem almost apologetic about it, often hiding the blog away in rarely visited corners of their corporate websites.”
Nonetheless, he says that while FSTE 100 companies lag behind their US counterparts, blogging is on the increase and The Group expects the upward trajectory to continue.
There’s a lot more to be had in Harkin’s post and it’s all well worth your time.