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Top 50 Most Social Media Friendly Fortune 500 Companies
February 6, 2013 3:18 pm
Why is social media so important?
It provides an easy way to build relationships with your customers—to get feedback, share useful information, and address customer service issues quickly and effectively. By listening to customers and responding quickly to their concerns, your company is transformed in the minds of those customers from a faceless corporation to one that truly cares about them. You become like a trusted friend—and people love to buy from their friends.
Social media not only enables brands to be extremely responsive to the needs of individual customers, but also provides opportunities to capitalize on current events. The “You can still dunk in the dark” ad tweeted by Oreo during the Super Bowl blackout is a perfect example. The ad was retweeted more than 15,000 times in 14 hours. This required advanced planning on behalf of Mondelez International’s advertising team. They had no way of knowing that there would be a power outage during the Super Bowl, but they were able to act quickly because they had assembled a team to watch for social media marketing opportunities that might develop during the game.
Although 99% of the companies on the Fortune 500 list have some sort of social media presence, some do a much better job of it than others. To compile this list of the Top 50 Most social media friendly Fortune 500 companies, the staff at OnlineMBAPage.com, spent weeks looking at the number of followers, likes, and circlers each company had for its corporate profile on the top seven social media platforms in the US. The scoring was designed so that the platforms that have the most reach (according to Alexa) are worth more points. The maximum points possible were 43.1 for Facebook, 32.1 for YouTube, 10 for Twitter, 6.1 for Google Plus, 4 for LinkedIn, 3 for Pinterest, and 2 for Instagram.
Google owns two of the top seven social media platforms, so their #1 ranking for social media friendliness is no big surprise. It’s clear that Google Plus is growing, whether you believe the hype about it taking over the #2 spot in social media or not.
|3||Google Plus||3.9||Circled by 1,601,732|
In spite of an embarrassing Twitter hashtag campaign that backfired in December, Starbucks remains the best-loved food brand on social media. Recently, Facebook has even been asking its users to buy their friends Starbucks cards for their birthdays. It is unclear whether this campaign is sponsored by Starbucks.
|7||Google Plus||3.6||Circled by 923,391|
Coca-Cola’s Coke Chase promotion, which ran on social media channels in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, is a good example of how companies can use social media to engage their fans. The company allowed its followers to vote for the team that would be featured in its post-game ad.
|8||Google Plus||3.5||Circled by 724,810|
#4) Walt Disney
The Walt Disney Company has separate Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts for dozens of movies, country-specific versions of the Disney channel, and even individual characters. With over 600 accounts just for Disney-there are more for ABC, ESPN, and Marvel-it’s clear that Disney takes its social media presence seriously.
Intel actively encourages their IT Subject Matter Experts to establish a presence on Twitter and LinkedIn. In addition, SMEs can publish blog posts on Intel’s own Open Port IT.
|11||Google Plus||3.4||Circled by 393,296|
Nike’s involvement in social media is nothing new. Their Ronaldinho cross bar video was one of the first YouTube videos to go viral. In 2010, the company gamified the sport of running in London through the 15-day Nike Grid promotion. Now, Nike+ users can get encouragement from their Facebook friends while they run.
|13||Google Plus||3.4||Circled by 341,355|
Home improvement stores are a natural fit for Pinterest, and with over three million followers, it’s clear that Lowe’s is doing something right. Their attractive project photos are repinned as inspiration for crafters, gardeners, and do-it-yourselfers.
|23||Google Plus||2.4||Circled by 43,499|
Hewlett-Packard doesn’t just use social media; they study it. By monitoring how people talk about upcoming movies, HP has been able to accurately predict how well they will do at the box office. They can use this same type of analysis to predict how successful a new product launch will be.
|14||Google Plus||3.4||Circled by 330,283|
#9) Ford Motor
Ford’s global head of social media, Scott Monty, understands that people don’t want to see the same content everywhere they go. The company is constantly experimenting to find the best approach for each social media platform.
|1||Google Plus||4.0||Circled by 1,902,524|
One way Target engages its Facebook fans is by creating posts that target users in a local area, such as Los Angeles. Target also posts a lot of photos, which are more frequently “liked” and shared than other types of content.
#11) Motorola Mobility Holdings
Motorola has the right idea when it comes to managing its Twitter presence. Motorola’s Twitter stream is a balanced mixture of announcements, advertising, and guided chats with its followers. They have a separate account for support.
|17||Google Plus||3.3||Circled by 193,568|
Dell’s social strategy incorporates a lot of trial and error. Dell is not afraid to experiment to learn what works. They call this the “incubator effect.” Instead of taking several weeks to create each campaign, they try to get something live quickly to see what the results are, and then put more time and money into the things that work the best.
|16||Google Plus||3.4||Circled by 307,299|
Many companies use multiple Twitter accounts to manage different aspects of their social presence. Some, like AT&T, create separate accounts for specific purposes, such as keeping up on company news, getting customer support, finding deals, or searching for a job. Other companies opt for regional or product-focused accounts.
|25||Google Plus||1.7||Circled by 21,937|
#14) American Express
How can social media help companies earn more money? A study published by American Express shows that 75% of consumers in the U.S. have spent more money as a result of having an outstanding customer service experience with the company. And customers who received that excellent customer service through social media were willing to pay a 21% premium, while customers who used traditional channels were only willing to pay 11% more.
|31||Google Plus||1.3||Circled by 7,998|
Through Feb. 14, as part of Macy’s Go Red For Women campaign with the American Heart Association, the retailer has promised to donate $2 every time its followers share something red on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram using #MacysGoesRed.
|19||Google Plus||3.3||Circled by 129,643|
Are you ready for another social media account? Microsoft has started its own social platform, socl, where users can create and share photo collages. Whether it will take off or not remains to be seen.
Yahoo is also getting in on the social media landscape with its recent purchase of Snip.it. The site is currently down as the team works to “bring Snip.it’s vision to a larger scale at Yahoo!” If you had a Snip.it account, you can download your data until Feb. 21.
|24||Google Plus||2.1||Circled by 34,759|
#18) Home Depot
One way to get people talking about you on social media is to give them something to talk about, such as Home Depot’s weekend DIY workshops. The Home Depot also sponsors giveaways and blog posts on popular mom and DIY blogs such as mom*spark and Hoosier Homemade. Readers are often given extra entries in the giveaways if they like or follow Home Depot.
|>100||Google Plus||1.0||Circled by 1*|
GameStop posts trailers for video games that are being released soon on its YouTube channel. GameStop also has a service called Kongregate that it uses to promote games on social media, through apps, and on its website.
|4||Google Plus||3.9||Circled by 1,517,507|
#20) Kraft Foods
For some companies, it is just as important to promote individual products on social media as it is to promote the company profile. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is one of the products Kraft promotes separately. Its Facebook page has more “likes” than the main Kraft Foods page.
|2||Google Plus||3.9||Circled by 1,689,916|
According to DirectTV, 55% of women and 45% of men tweet while watching TV. A study by Brandwatch recently revealed an easy way that TV producers can boost the amount of exposure their shows get on this social media channel: display the show’s hashtag at the beginning of each episode. This simple change results in approximately 63% more conversations.
|33||Google Plus||1.2||Circled by 7,614|
Harley-Davidson has created a social media wall of images on its own site to commemorate its 110th anniversary. Users can upload their own photos to create a branded image that puts their memories into a custom frame made with the numbers “110” and the Harley-Davidson logo.
|71||Google Plus||1.0||Circled by 640|
Apple is alone among the top 50 most social media friendly Fortune 500 companies in not having an official Twitter presence for its brand. Although it does have several Twitter accounts for iTunes, there is no main channel providing news, information, or support for the entire company.
#24) Foot Locker
Foot Locker’s social media campaign echoes its TV ads, with links to the videos on YouTube from Facebook and Twitter. Foot Locker employees also interact with their followers, answering questions about when specific models are being released.
#25) Wal-Mart Stores
Walmart posts ads showcasing products that are relevant to the season, holidays, and sports. They also engage followers in conversation about current events with prompts such as “Tell us about your Valentine.”
|35||Google Plus||1.2||Circled by 6,023|
#26) Whole Foods Market
Brands that want to have multiple accounts on several different social media platforms often have a challenge keeping track of everything. Whole Foods uses Spredfast, a service that allows businesses to effectively manage hundreds of accounts from one centralized social media dashboard.
|37||Google Plus||1.2||Circled by 5,317|
John Deere’s Facebook page is a nice mixture of news, promotional posts, and conversation-starting questions. There are notices about educational programs, links to informational articles, and even the occasional photo of an antique John Deere tractor or bicycle.
|64||Google Plus||1.0||Circled by 884|
#28) Advanced Micro Devices
AMD won an award for Best Social Media News Release in PR Daily’s 2012 Digital and Social Media Awards. AMD employees are encourage to share their knowledge on all types of social media platforms, including blogs, messaging tools, forums, social networking sites, rich content sites, and bookmarking sites.
|28||Google Plus||1.4||Circled by 13,991|
#29) Sprint Nextel
Through its Social Media Ninjas program, Sprint unleashed an army of employee advocates to engage customers and improve perception of the brand among consumers. Participants in the program were educated about Sprint’s products and encourage to “be the face of Sprint” from their own social media accounts.
|36||Google Plus||1.2||Circled by 5,872|
#30) Ralph Lauren
Evins.com listed Ralph Lauren’s “RL Gang: Meet the Class of 2012” among the top 10 social videos from luxury marketers. The video featured children wearing clothing from the Ralph Lauren children’s collection.
|79||Google Plus||1.0||Circled by 520|
#31) Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines has 30 regular bloggers who post on the Nuts About Southwest blog, as well as many others who post only occasionally. These are employees who write from personal experience, sharing stories and photos from their experiences with the airline.
#32) Best Buy
In a study by Conversocial, Best Buy came out on top for customer satisfaction with their social media conversations among 38 of the biggest brands in the US, with 50.8 percent reporting being satisfied. Many of the respondents answered “no opinion.”
|40||Google Plus||1.1||Circled by 4,701|
#33) Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines demonstrated an effective response to a potential social media nightmare in its handling of a June 2011 incident in which soldiers returning from Afghanistan complained in a YouTube video about having to pay for some of their checked bags.
|5||Google Plus||3.7||Circled by 1,181,935|
Nordstrom knows just how to keep its Twitter followers engaged. The company replies to each tweet quickly, using the fan’s Twitter handle in its reply and following them back.
|90||Google Plus||1.0||Circled by 313|
The Amazon.com YouTube account features videos about Amazon services such as AutoRip and Locker Delivery, new product announcements, book trailers, and more.
|15||Google Plus||3.4||Circled by 308,504|
Keep an eye on the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages for special deals that and coupons that you can print out. Watch for occasional free items as well.
|26||Google Plus||1.6||Circled by 18,382|
#37) General Electric
Some companies, such as General Electric, have come to the conclusion that PR and marketing must be integrated to provide one voice for the company to tell its story. This extends to social media as well, which in many companies is used for both PR and marketing purposes.
|42||Google Plus||1.1||Circled by 3,640|
#38) Estee Lauder
As you might expect, Estee Lauder provides makeup and beauty tips along with promotional posts touting the latest products. Check out behind-the-scenes looks at photo and video shoots as well.
#39) Avon Products
Get information about the latest hair, nail care, and other beauty trends on Avon’s YouTube channel. While you’re there, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at recent photo shoots as well.
#40) Capital One Financial
Financial service companies have to pay careful attention to regulations while managing their social media presence, and Capital One does that by maintaining a separate staff of customer service representatives to handle each social media account. This ensures that the representatives posting on each account are fully aware of the legal requirements that apply to their posts.
|22||Google Plus||3.3||Circled by 78,272|
Toys “R” ran several social media promotions in 2012, including a Facebook app version of their full catalog, a “Give Back” promotion that encouraged shoppers to pay off a stranger’s layaway, a news network run by children that gave information on hot toys, and a promotion that revived the 80’s Toys “R” Us jingle.
#42) Cisco Systems
Cisco uses an array of nine touch-screen LCD monitors to keep tabs on the conversations that are taking place across all of its social media channels. The company has an integrated campaign that runs across all media to give users a consistent brand experience.
|32||Google Plus||1.3||Circled by 7,941|
#43) J.C. Penney
J.C. Penney launched a new social media campaign in Feb. 2012 that centered around the idea of fairness in both pricing and business practices. Apparently, the experiment was a failure. The brand has now returned to the traditional sales model.
|83||Google Plus||1.0||Circled by 389|
In December, Petsmart ran a Pinterest campaign to save homeless pets. The chain donated $25 (up to $25,000) for each holiday-themed pet photo uploaded to Pinterest with the #pinitforpetsmart hashtag.
|>100||Google Plus||1.0||Circled by 1*|
Walgreens is using social media to skyrocket its growth and surge ahead of its competitors. The company has combined customer-focused innovations with an aggressive social media strategy to create a projected growth rate of 2.5% for 2013.
|45||Google Plus||1.1||Circled by 1,999|
Undoubtedly, CBS got a bit of a social media boost from this year’s Super Bowl coverage as viewers shared their thoughts about the game, the ads, the blackout, and Beyoncé.
|34||Google Plus||1.2||Circled by 6,405|
Visa went for the gold with its “Social-by-Design” Olympic marketing campaign, creating an online cheer platform where fans were able to upload cheers they had created for the Olympic athletes.
|67||Google Plus||1.0||Circled by 732|
#48) Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble effectively uses its social media accounts to promote sales and provide coupons for its customers. The company has separate pages for certain products and services, such as the Nook e-reader and the Pubit! self-publishing service.
|39||Google Plus||1.2||Circled by 4,807|
#49) Dick’s Sporting Goods
Just four days after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Dick’s Sporting Goods made the decision to suspend the sale of certain military-grade weapons. The potential for social media backlash is at times leading companies to act proactively in anticipation of controversy before it even erupts.
|60||Google Plus||1.0||Circled by 1,136|
Oracle teaches social and provides social media monitoring and engagement solutions for businesses. You can download their Best Practices for Getting Started with Social Media to help devise the social media strategy for your business.
|27||Google Plus||1.4||Circled by 14,005|
Every Business Needs Social Media
Since most Fortune 500 companies have huge marketing budgets, they are in the position to be able to dedicate teams of employees to manage their social media presence. This is something many smaller companies can’t do. However, owners and managers of even small companies should consider carefully whether they would benefit from putting more time, effort, and money into their social media presence in order to build the types of relationships that create not only loyal customers, but true fans who will tell their friends about the company and its products.
* The number of users who have circled Home Depot and Petsmart was not publicly available.
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Bob Horton Bob Horton is Editor-in-Chief of OnlineMBAPage.com. As a student of business management, Bob regularly features tips and advice columns for prospective students and professionals seeking a graduate level upgrade to their education. After all, career advancement is more important then ever in today's workforce. Follow Bob on Twitter.