Who are the most influential companies on social media?

Start-up companies are falling behind on social media influence whereas older established companies are leading the way in social according to a new report.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Although social networks had a difficult 2018, overall social media use is expected to grow throughout 2019. But which companies lead the way in driving the conversation across social media?  

New York, NY-based finance company Fundera looked at data from four of the most popular social platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

It wanted to determine social influence across the five fastest-growing industries in terms of forecasted revenue growth through 2023.

It looked at: Mining, Utilities, Food services and accommodation, Health and social assistance, and Transportation and warehousing.

It pulled data on the big players and up and coming start-ups in each industry.

The most common types of social media posts include features on employees and customers, job postings, and industry-related comments.

It measured each company's number of followers on each platform, the number of total tweets and Instagram posts for each company.

Fundera also looked at engagement (defined as reactions plus comments plus shares) on each company's most recent direct post (not retweets) on each platform.

These include both positive and negative reactions to get a full picture of engagement, providing the post had been up for at least a full 24 hours.

The companies that perform best on social are older companies that have been around for a decade or longer, not new start-ups. On the list, Rio Tinto was founded in 1873, Johnson & Johnson was founded in 1886, and 3M was founded in 1902.

Conversations on mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures are common among these social media companies, even across industry lines.

Topping the transportation sector are Uber - the most highly valued private company in the U.S. - with 24.7 million followers, and Tesla - tied in large part to the popularity of the company's CEO and founder Elon Musk - with 11 million followers.

Uber uses social media for customer acquisition and retention, posting about limited time deals and promotions. Its reps spend time building their brand image and responding to customer queries on social.

Its Facebook following dwarfs its presence on other social media platforms. Twenty-one million of the company's 24 million followers come from Facebook.

Tesla's social media pages focus on the company's future potential and progress toward milestones. Its social strategy seems to be the reverse of Uber. It only has 21,000 Facebook followers, but millions of followers on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Who are the most influential companies on social media zdnet

Johnson & Johnson – founded in 1886 – and health insurance provider Anthem top the healthcare list. J&J has maintained its influence across social media by pairing up with influencers on cutting edge health trends.

Anthem has 788,000 followers on Facebook and has a sizable Twitter and LinkedIn following.

Who are the most influential companies on social media zdnet

In the mining sector, 3M with 7.2 million followers and ExxonMobil with 4.8 million followers top the list. 3M posts about its products and the industries it supports. It focuses on products that are designed to reduce energy consumption.

ExxonMobil's social media posts feature employees and announce events. Its Instagram followers are engaged—9,300 of their 27,000 Instagram followers engaged with a recent post.

Who are the most influential companies on social media zdnet

McDonald's (86 million followers) and Starbucks (67 million followers) top the Food service and accommodation sector. McDonald's engages in good social listening, resolving customer service complaints, answer questions about franchising, and develop new menu items based on social posts.

Starbucks has been very effective in building momentum around their drinks on social media. They post staff favorite drinks, customer favorites, and relatable gifs and memes. It uses influencers to build excitement around popular products, like the pumpkin spice latte.

Who are the most influential companies on social media zdnet

In the Utilities sector French company Engie (969,000 followers), and Duke Energy (527,000 followers) lead this sector. Engie has more than 969,000 followers, 615,000 on Facebook alone.

Most of Duke Energy's social media posts center around their renewable energy efforts and how they're helping their local community.

Who are the most influential companies on social media zdnet

Although most of the companies on the list are American, social media factors prominently for international companies in the mining and utilities sectors.

2019 brings renewed opportunities for companies looking to connect with customers on social. Companies need to diversify their social presence and have a well-thought-out social media strategy in order to succeed.

Do you think the extra social effort is working well for these companies - or do others need to step up to the mark?

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