Trendwatchers worldwide have predicted a worldwide embrace of social media for a while now. I was triggered again when ‘social travel’ appeared in the top-5 travel trends for 2014 recently. So if this ‘social’ thing is so trendy, we should see the corporate world jumping this bandwagon in massive numbers. Just out of curiosity I decided to find the 10 largest corporate accounts on Twitter. I used a very wide definition of corporate, as “any account not related to a private person or small group of private persons, like a band”. As we all know, the vast majority of the top-100 tweeps consists of singers, actors, sportscelebrities and other famous people.
So here is the list of the top-10 corporate accounts. Not surprisingly most are in the social media sector, representing the tools that are social media today. Three of the ten are news media, that are using social media as one of their digital channels to send their news. Spanish soccer club FC Barcelona is hardly corporate, but I left it in place anyway. This list does not pretend to be scientifically defined.
After compiling the top-10 Twitter accounts (using the Twittercounter.com top-100 list) I thought I compare this to the top-10 largest corporations in the world (using the 2013 Global Fortune 500 list). I then completed the list by adding the twitter ranks for the Fortune-500 companies and the Fortune-500 ranks for the largest companies on Twitter.
The resulting table reads like apples versus oranges. Simply stated one could say that the largest companies are not significantly present on Twitter and that the top companies on Twitter are still way too small to be part of the Fortune 500. Two different worlds. And it makes sense too. Social media is a core product for a social media company, while that can hardly be said for an oil company. On the other hand I would have expected more Twitter activity of these corporate giants, as their marketing budgets only, far outreach the entire revenue of some of these social media firms. Oil companies and car manufacturers would definitely greatly benefit from an active online community of ‘fans’ or ‘brand ambassadors’.
So I draw the careful conclusion that social media still have a long way to go before they are considered critical assets to corporate marketing. But looking at the way media use is developing, I expect to see ‘social’ in the trendwatcher lists for many more years to come.