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

The social media landscape: four useful diagrams

Some of these have been around for a while, but I thought it worth putting them all together in one blog post, as they all add insight into understanding, categorising and visualising the complexity that social media now is, and how to understand that in a business/communication context.

Fred Cavazza created the diagram below in 2008. It segments sites and services partly by function (sharing, discussion, etc) as well as by type (Virtual worlds), which may not be entirely consistent (it missed out comments for example) but it does at least give us a fairly broad view of the landscape. It also helps us to understand why some functions within each tool may not be as prominent as in others. For example whilst it is possible to network and connect with members using Delicious it’s main purpose is bookmarking and sharing those finds.

The Conversation Prism (below) by Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas of JESS3, now in it’s second iteration, takes this several steps further. It segments social media by type (wikis, blogs etc.) that currently exist and also their function and role within different forms of communication. It has been designed expressly for understanding social media within the business and brand context.

(Click on the image below to view the image full scale).

Conversation Prism
Conversation Prism

Although it’s worth noting that the downside to greater precision is that the over view that we could see in the first diagram is lost in amongst the masses of detail.

Forrester’s segmentation of social media behaviour by users, which it describes as Social Technographics, helps with another piece of the jigsaw. Forrester classifies people into how they use technologies and aims to quantify the size of each group through regular surveys. The classifications are:

  • Creators
  • Critics
  • Collectors
  • Joiners
  • Spectators
  • Inactives

This slide show explains more:

The basic results of their surveys are freely available via the Groundswell Profile Tool. For example, here are the results for 25-34 year old females in the UK:

Forrester Groundswell tool example

This last diagram by Gary Hayes and Laurel Papworth shows a possible way of structuring a ‘campaign’ or long term ways to communicate.

Note: To me the diagrams also begin to hint at a much older science, one which the Victorians excelled, that of identification and classification, but development of that idea is perhaps for another day.

The social media influence myth?

If you begin to hang around social media types who are trying to understand the dynamics of social media, influencers and influence get mentioned a lot, as do nodes. This is particularly so discussions lean towards social media’s role within the marketing, advertising and PR mix. (On which note see the slide show by John V Wiltshire in last week’s recommended reads)

So I was interested to read this post by Anthony Mayfield entitled “How advertising distorts brand marketing” and his corresponding slide show (below).

My summary: influence can be a flighty thing.

Anthony also pointed me in the direction of friend Alan Patrick’s site (always nice when that happens), and his outlining of two reports that have recently come out about Twitter and influence, which is also worth your attention if you’re fed up of the LOTS OF FOLLOWERS = LOTS OF INFLUENCE mentality.

And, by, the by, when it comes to measuring influence on Twitter a combination of the tools Twitalyzer and Twitter Grader will probably give you a good a picture as any for free.

UPDATE 10/09/2009: See also Mark Earls post on this topic – Free gift: influence and how things really spread