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Four in five FTSE 100 companies missing out on LinkedIn opportunities

In our latest study, Social Media in The City, we found that only 20% of the FTSE 100 are actively engaging on the professional social network LinkedIn. The rest, we conclude, are missing out on opportunities to drive word of mouth by engaging its members, who now number over 187 million.

Key findings

  • 96% of the FTSE 100 companies have a corporate presence on LinkedIn with a combined 2.6 million followers and 978,000 employee accounts
  • Yet only 20% appear to be actively engaging via their LinkedIn Company Pages by posting status updates on at least a monthly basis
  • As a result, just 12% are seeing regular engagement with their company pages from LinkedIn members, in the form of like or comments on their status updates over a one-week period
  • We also found that 87.5% of those listing products or services received endorsement and recommendations, and all those who posted status updates in the 30 days to 8 November 2012 saw some form of engagement by LinkedIn members

Analysis

The research, published this month, found that while almost all the FTSE 100 have a corporate presence on LinkedIn, few actively manage it. Less than a quarter of FTSE 100 companies list any of their products and services on their company pages and a mere 13% posted a status update in the 7-day study period. As a result just 12% saw regular engagement by users of the largely business-focussed social network.

However, those companies that do take the time to list products and services and post status updates see high levels of engagement in return. The study shows that the vast majority (87.5%) of those listing products or services received endorsements and recommendations, and all those who posted status updates in the 30 days prior to the study received at least one ‘like’ or comment.

LinkedIn company pages can be created manually by companies but are often created automatically by LinkedIn based on employee accounts. They allow members to stay up to date on company news, products and services, business opportunities and job openings.

In a news release issued today, Josh Graff, director of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions EMEA, said: “With four out of five British professionals on LinkedIn, a Company Page gives businesses a social media presence that counts. Whilst most UK businesses have a company page, as this research highlights, many are not yet making the most of it. I’d encourage them to log on, add their products and services and start actively engaging.”

The FTSE 100 companies – who together attract a combined 2.6 million followers of their LinkedIn company pages – are represented by 978,000 employee accounts on the professional social network.

A new LinkedIn performance metric

To undertake this analysis, we developed a unique performance algorithm for LinkedIn, which measures company pages on three attributes: popularity, activity and engagement. When applied to the FTSE 100, it found that Royal Dutch Shell led the overall ranking and received the highest levels of engagement, although Unilever was the most popular company and Experian was the most active.

With LinkedIn being a business-oriented social network that many companies seem to hold in such high regard, it is extraordinary that so few of the FTSE 100 are using it well. In our view, this lack of engagement represents a lost opportunity and a competitive disadvantage.

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Can social media success really have an impact on share price?

Contrary to expectation, markets are very emotional places…and individual share prices are often influenced by sentiment as much as the fundamentals. Every IR and PR professional knows this and they know the power that 3rd parties like the financial press have to drive sentiment.

Many believe that social media can have a similar impact but there’s not been much hard data to support that view.

However as reported, our recent Social Media and the City study DID find some pretty interesting links between strong social media performance as measured by PRINT™ and positive share price movements.

The detail is in the study but, for the statistically challenged (like me) the scattergraph below shows the correlation between the PRINT™ Receptiveness score at the beginning of November and the monthly change in share price to 28 November. These were all statistically significant (r > 0.207, N = 100, p < 0.05). This effectively means that if one variable were to rise or fall, chances are that the other would too. The p bit means there is at least a 95% probability that this relationship is not happening by chance – a level at which studies in the social sciences are generally accepted to be true.

On the basis of these initial findings we think someone should fund a longer, more detailed study to determine whether or not this represents a real and consistent lead indicator.

We’re open to offers!

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Aviva and Barclays lead sector in corporate social media use

Yesterday we looked at how the primary sectors represented by the FTSE 100 fared in our Social Media and The City report. Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology companies put in the best combined performance, followed by Oil & Gas Producers, both ahead of more consumer-facing industries like Retailers and Media.

Today, we’re looking in a bit more detail at the Banking, Financial Services and Life Insurance sectors – a collective group of 14 companies that have seen their fair share of criticism over the last few years.

By plotting these companies on the chart below, which maps their respective Awareness Quotients (a measure of status) and Engagement Quotients (a measure of participation and interaction), we see that only Barclays and Aviva occupy a leadership position. HSBC’s score seems mainly driven by status, with little social media engagement. However, RBS, Hargreaves Lansdown and Standard Chartered show higher engagement than awareness scores, suggesting a willingness to listen and participate.

Although spread across all four quadrants of the grid, the banks perform best overall within this combined financial sector group. With the exception of Aviva, life insurance companies lag the rest of the financial sector – a big surprise given that most are well-known, consumer-facing household names.

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Social Media in The City: How sectors compare

The Social Media in the City report we launched this week looks at the comparative social media performance of the FTSE 100 companies. But we also looked at how FTSE 100 sectors with 3 or more companies perform: to see how average sector performances compare; and to highlight any major variations within sector.

There are some surprises.

The table below, ranked based on the average Social Performance Index (SPI) scores, shows that seven sectors score above average (100). They are not necessarily the most obvious, consumer-facing candidates. Shell’s and AstraZeneca’s individual strong performances helped their respective sector groups, with Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology and Oil & Gas Production sectors commanding the two highest average SPI scores. Unsurprisingly, General and Food & Drug Retailers take the 3rd and 4th positions and Media the 5th, but Aerospace & Defence in 6th place is a surprise above Banks, Food Producers and Gas, Water & Multiutilities.

The chart below maps two general factors that contribute towards this performance – the Awareness Quotient (a measure of status) and the Engagement Quotient (a measure of participation and interaction). A low EQ combined with a high AQ suggests the PRINT™ score is driven disproportionately by scale rather than social engagement.

Awareness Quotient (AQ) bundles the PRINT™ attributes Popularity and Network and tends to favour larger, more established companies with larger communications spends. Engagement Quotient (EQ) bundles the Receptiveness, Interaction and Trust attributes.

The full study data allow us to analyse each sector in much more detail, and we’ll be highlighting some of these over the coming days.

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The corporate social media accounts of the FTSE 100

One of the most challenging aspects of researching for our recent Social Media in The City report was identifying the 400 URLs and social media accounts needed to assess the performance of all FTSE 100 companies. It’s made even more difficult by companies who do not provide obvious links from their consumer-facing websites to their ‘corporate’ ones, let alone provide links to their Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and YouTube channels, even when they have them.

We spent a lot of time researching and wrote to every one of the 100 companies to give them the opportunity to validate or correct them (a huge thanks to all those that responded).

Now, as well as making our findings available for download, we’re also making the list of URLs and social media accounts available. They can be found in the interactive version of our full rankings where you can sort by any one of our performance metrics, search for a particular company and copy, save or print it.

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