The Fortune 100 Doesn’t Get Twitter

Source: Weber Shandwick study on Fortune 100 & Twitter

Do the Fortune 100 need a Twittervention?

The answer is a responding yes, according to a study released today (PDF) by Weber Shandwick.

(As most of you already know, I work for Weber Shandwick.)

The study showed that 73 percent of the Fortune 100 have a registered Twitter handle (having snapped up a total of 540 handles for various divisions, products, etc.)  Yet nearly two-thirds of those accounts hardly ever tweet and more than half of them are not active.

Even more surprisingly, 50 percent of the Fortune 100 Twitter accounts had fewer than 500 followers.  That isn’t many considering the size and geographical reach of these huge companies – and the number of relationships they have with customers, employees, partners and prospects.

As the report notes: “The majority of Fortune 100 company accounts did not skillfully navigate Twitter to create a new pool of advocates talking positively about their brands.”

But even worse, 53 percent of the Fortune 100 Twitter accounts lacked any personality.  They have become broadcast channels for news releases and other data points rather than an opportunity to talk with customers, influencers, media and other interested parties.

As Vadam Lavrusik said on the Mashable story about the Weber study:

“However, 32 percent did have personalities that were associated with their accounts, which might be a better approach to creating an account that is engaging and personable for consumers. Personality can also be demonstrated on Twitter via the writing of the actual tweets. The content itself can have a voice without the page being identified with a specific person, but having a name associated with an account adds a more human element that acts similar to a spokesperson representing a company.”

Weber prescribes a five-step program as a starting point for the Fortune 100 to create an truly engaging Twitter presence (the steps are also applicable to any company looking to make progress on micro-blogging).  Here are the five steps with my added comments in parenthesis:

1. Listen to conversations (so have a social media monitoring program in place)

2. Participate in conversations (which means understanding the Twitter landscape and getting your Twitter spokespeople familiar with the culture of Twitter through training)

3. Update frequently with valuable information (and make sure the content has purpose and aligns with other communication and marketing goals)

4. Reply to people who talk about issues that are important to your company (this helps strengthen relationships and builds brand loyalty, but also gets your company involved – and having a voice on issues that mean something to the company’s success)

5. Retweet relevant conversations (or even post them on your web site and if the conversations lead to blog posts or reviews then post those on and other aggregation and sharing sites)

The study notes that “for the majority of Fortune 100 companies, Twitter remains a missed opportunity… many of their Twitter accounts, examined by Weber Shandwick, did not appear to listen to or engage with their readers, instead offering a one-way broadcast of press releases, company blog posts, and event information.”

You can download the study here. It is filled with graphs, charts and illustrations to help showcase the data.  I’d be interested to know your thoughts on the conclusions of the study.  What has been your experience with BIG brands on Twitter?  Good?  Bad?  Ugly?

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One Response to “The Fortune 100 Doesn’t Get Twitter”

  1. Easier said than done! The key is to have the right tool to be able to lister, engage, retweet, and so forth.

    I am currently testing to do exactly that.

    Do you know any other tools?


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