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How are Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs being used by Fortune 100 companies?

Following on from the State of the Twittersphere research, Barney Southin has recommended the following presentation by global PR firm Burson-Marsteller examining at how Fortune 100 companies across the world are using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs. Personally I wouldn’t say that these tools encompass social media as the title of their document indicates, but there is some really interesting facts and figures in there that are worth being aware of, and they conclude:

  • Companies are starting to leverage social media as an interactive medium
  • The increase in number of social media accounts per company allows companies to target different stakeholder groups
  • Twitter is the most widely used corporate social media platform, but Facebook leads with “Likes” (Followers)
  • Stakeholders demonstrate an increased interest in hearing from companies
  • Social media growth in Asia is driven by interest in reaching audiences both home and abroad

Further explorations in social media usage data

Over the last few months I’ve been on a quest to gain a greater understanding of how social media is used in different (mostly European) countries, prompted by a mix of client work and general interest. Following up from this post in November, I thought it time to share a few findings.

The first difficulty in researching this area is where to find information. Whilst a Google search can produce a variety of results, they’re not always the most up to date or most relevant. It’s also good to be aware that free demographic research results don’t always cover every country, so if you want to find out trends for Scotland or Luxemburg, you may have to use your imagination to think through possible data sources (Google Trends and Google Insights are a good start, as is looking at the local version of Google eg. Google France). For European data it’s also worth thinking through the other languages that research may be posted in and key terms in those languages.

However, given all that, here are some sources that cover most large countries, or have specific information for individual countries in English:

GlobalWebIndex Lite Tool

This comprehensive tool enables you to select a country, gender, age group and demographic profile. The results are three pages covering: motivations for using social media, quantifying social media involvement and a page examining the perception of brand use of social media. This is probably the most powerful of the tools listed here.

Forrester Social Technographics Profile Tools
Consumer tool
B2B tool
Forrester’s Social Technographics data classifies consumers into seven overlapping levels of social technology participation. The consumer tool graphs their research in this area by country, gender and age group. The B2B tool graphs by company size and primary purchase category.
Whilst useful for indicative information put together with other research, the data is limited for certain countries and the B2B data is US only. The purpose of both tools is to highlight Forrester’s paid-for research (time to dig out that membership code if your company has one).

ComScore Date Mine
ComScore’s Data Mine is an index for all it’s publicly available graphs and data. For example this graph here showing average hours spent on social networking sites per visitor across Europe:
Average Hours spent on Social Networking Sites per Visitor across Europe
The graphs and data available are displayed in chronological order and by tag cloud, so you might have to do a bit of searching to find information that you are looking for. Again, worth checking sample sizes and when the research took place.

Hitwise Data Centres (by country)
Hitwise Data Centres list highly up to date information by for the countries listed above (current data being displayed for UK is dated 29 January 2011) on top websites (including social sites) and search engines, top industry search terms, top retail sites and search terms, top travel sites and search terms.

Ofcom (UK with some comparative data for other countries)
Image of Ofcom communications market report websiteOfcom (the UK’s communication regulator) publishes all it’s consultations and research online across it’s entire remit. Go to the Stakeholder section of the site to explore this. Of particular interest here is their annual Communications Market Report which is released each August. The report is usually a few hundred pages in length but the dedicated website highlights key findings for each year and breaks down the report into relevant sections. Each section is then broken down further by UK country and International data, so it is much easier to explore than in the past (see image). The PDF versions also contain graphs of the data.

As any good TV presenter might say: ‘there are other research sources and companies out there’, so please do add links in the comments if you’ve found any that you’d recommend to others, these are some that I am currently finding most useful. Whilst alone each is limited, used together these tools and data sources can give a good overview of socialmedia usage tendencies. But really they are simply just a good starting point. To get more specific data you may need to pay for it and/or research more. Using your own Google/web Analytic data for example is often overlooked.

Conversation, conversation, conversation

And the topic of conversation today is…? ‘Conversation’ – with Forrester and Hubspot releasing new research.

Forrester have released an update to their Social Technographics Ladder (a way of understanding and categorising different social media behaviours) that includes a new category: ‘Conversationalists’.

They explain this introduction to their model as follows:

Conversationalists reflects two changes. First, it includes not just Twitter members, but also people who update social network status to converse (since this activity in Facebook is actually more prevalent than tweeting). And second, we include only people who update at least weekly, since anything less than this isn’t much of a conversation.

At the moment the data on Conversationalists is for the US only, but it will surely only be a matter of time before this data is available for more countries and is included in their Groundswell Tool.


Hubspot have also been busy, releasing their “State of the Twittersphere Report” (PDF), summarised here by TechCrunch.

Hubspot’s analysis is based on over 5 million user accounts that have been registered on their Twitter Grader tool and over 6 million tweets.

Highlights of the report include:

  • User growth has declined – from a high of 13% in March of 2009 to 3.5% in October 2009
  • The average user is following more people, followed by more people and has posted more updates – ie. the user base is maturing.
  • 40% of the top 20 Twitter locations in January 2010 are outside North America (with 65% of Twitter members stating their location in their profile)
  • London is the top self-reported Twitter location followed by Brazil with the US in third