Asian biz take to social platforms, but not completely

Half of Asian companies on Fortune Global 100 have Facebook pages but many still unwilling to engage stakeholders through social platforms, finds new study.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Fortune Global 100 companies from Asia are most open to embracing social networking platforms but few are able to leverage this to better engage online stakeholders, according to a new study released Wednesday.

Conducted by public relations consultancy Burson-Marsteller, the study determined that 50 percent of Asian companies on the Fortune Global 100 list had Facebook pages, compared to 40 percent in a similar study last year, and the average number of "Like" on each of these fanpages grew by 406 percent to 121,257.

In fact, Asia saw a 25 percent increase in Facebook engagement, compared to 18 percent globally.

The survey findings were based on data collated between November 2010 and January this year from the social media activities of Fortune Global 100 companies on platforms including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, corporate blogs as well as regional and local microblogging and video-sharing Web sites. Eighteen of these organizations were Asia-Pacific, while 32 were from the United States, 47 from Europe and three from Latin America.

According to the study, 67 percent of Fortune Global 100 companies in Asia had Twitter accounts, up from just 40 percent in 2010, with 77 percent of them using the "@" mention function to communicate with other Twitter users and 62 percent retweeting content to followers.

Despite their presence on social networking platforms, however, Asian Fortune Global 100 companies were not leveraging these tools to engage with online stakeholders, noted Burson-Marsteller.

Some 60 percent of these organizations allowed fans to post on their Facebook pages, but only 28 percent routinely responded to such posts.

Globally, 74 percent of companies on Facebook allowed fans to post on their walls, with 57 percent actively responding to posts and comments. U.S. companies led in terms of Facebook interaction, with 89 percent allowing posts and 72 percent responding to these comments.

Burson-Marsteller Asia-Pacific President and CEO Bob Pickard said in the report: "While the increase in social media adoption in Asia is in part due to greater investment in this area for local marketing, much of the growth is driven by established Asian multinationals using social media to reach new audiences abroad.

"We expect to see this trend continue as other Asian companies become more comfortable with the interactive nature of social networks and take the opportunity to engage their stakeholders directly on these platforms," Pickard said.

Across the globe, Twitter engagement saw the highest growth, from 65 percent last year to 78 percent. This is followed by YouTube, from 50 percent to 57 percent, and Facebook from 54 percent to 61 percent.

In addition, 80 percent of Fortune Global 100 companies were mentioned by Twitter users, compared to 42 percent in the previous year.

Some 67 percent of Asian businesses were on at least one social media platform, up from 50 percent in the previous year.

A report from XMG last month projected that the social media presence of Asia-Pacific companies will grow this year, with over 30 percent of small and midsize businesses expected to use such platforms for marketing purposes.

Another study from comScore last August revealed that Indonesia had the world's highest Twitter penetration rate, with 20.8 percent of Indonesians visiting Twitter.com in June 2010. Asia-Pacific ranked as the second-fastest growing region, climbing 243 percent to 25.1 million Twitter users.

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