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LARGE US COMPANIES LAG BEHIND IN SOCIAL MEDIA

In a surprising find, several firms on Fortune Magazine's list of America's most admired companies are failing to achieve basic social media standards, scientists say. "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 Marcia DiStaso, associate professor of public relations, at Pennsylvania State University. "There are top companies that don't have a Facebook page, but just used an entry from their Wikipedia page," DiStaso said. The companies included in the study appeared on Fortune's most admired companies list in 2012. While 95 per cent of the 417 most admired companies on the list had a Facebook page, 51 per cent 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 the best across all three major social media platforms - Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. "When you think about the social media platforms we looked at, it's easier to communicate your content and that content resonates easier if you're in the consumer packaged goods industry," said DiStaso. "Coca-Cola could post or send out a picture of a cute animal with a bottle of Coke which, as content, isn't as hard to deliver, and you usually also have very passionate followers who will like it," said DiStaso. The companies in the study had a better handle on Twitter and YouTube, according to the researchers. A total of 82 per cent of the companies had a Twitter account and 72 per cent had a YouTube account. One industry that struggles particularly with social media is the health care industry. However, the researchers speculated that this may be because the industry is heavily regulated. 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, researchers said. "What social media does for organisations is it really helps create brand supporters and connect with people in more ways," said DiStaso. The findings are published in the Journal of Promotion Management.

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