Several firms on Fortune Magazine’s list of America’s most admired companies are failing to achieve basic social media standards, according to Marcia DiStaso, associate professor of public relations at Penn State.
“We were surprised that not all the companies had a Twitter account, for instance, and not every company had a Facebook page or a YouTube page,” said DiStaso.
“There are top companies that do not have a Facebook page, but just used an entry from their Wikipedia page.”
While 95 percent of the 417 most admired companies on the list had a Facebook page, 51 percent were basic Wikipedia-fed pages.
For example, ExxonMobil and Berkshire Hathaway, two of the world’s biggest companies, only have default Wikipedia page holders as their Facebook home.
On an industry basis, companies in the consumer packaged goods industry, such as Coca-Cola and Coach, did best across all three major social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
The companies in the study had a better handle on Twitter and YouTube, according to the researchers, who reported their results in the Journal of Promotion Management.
A total of 82 percent of the companies had a Twitter account and 72 percent had a YouTube account.
One industry that struggles particularly with social media is the healthcare industry. However, the researchers speculated that this may be because the industry is heavily regulated.
“All of the industries have room for improvement, which is what the study shows, but there is specifically some more room for improvement in the healthcare industry,” DiStaso said.
Using social media effectively may help these companies do more than just sell products and services. Social media can establish personal connections between a company and its customers, the researchers observed.
“From a personal perspective it allows the public to really get to know the company before they become that brand advocate.”