Social Media Benchmarks


How companies are using social media across programming, team structure, and budgeting is at the core of a new study by FedEx and Ketchum.

Sixty-two well-known worldwide companies were parsed by sophistication of their current usage across three categories: leadership, participation and observation. Interviews were conducted with the brands heads of communications or social media.[more]

Brands included: Allstate, American Lung Association, AT&T, Bausch & Lomb, Booz & Co, Cargill, CDW, Charles Schwab, Chase, Chevron, Cisco, Dow, Duke Energy, Electrolux, Ford, FPL, GE, GM, Ingersoll Rand, Hallmark Cards, Home Depot, Honeywell, IBM, Iridium, Ketchum, KPN, Kraft, Leo Burnett, Mars, Metlife, Michelin, Office Depot, Procter & Gamble Pactiv, Pepsi, Philips, PNC, Popeyes, Renault, Sears, Shell, Southwest Airlines, Standard & Poors, Symantec, Tellabs, and United Airlines.

Word-of-mouth advocacy and handling customer care issues rank consistently high as objectives in social media usage. But the research suggests that while the initial phase of social media deployment focused on engaging customers and influencers, phase two is about connecting with employees.

The study also found that participants spend between 5% and 15% on average of external communications budgets on social media, and budget increases in social media planned for 2011 may be offset by recruiting talent for corporate social media roles. However, measuring ROI is problematic as metrics like “followers,” “friends,” or “views” are not adequate, nor is monitoring for online activity and mention enough.

“This study provides a behind-the-scenes look at how some of the most renowned global brands are approaching their participation in social media, organizing their corporations to respond to opportunities and issues, and allocating budgets,” said David Rockland, Ph.D., Partner and Managing Director of Global Research at Ketchum.

“It also reaffirms the desire companies have to improve the way they assess quality of online interaction, level of user engagement and ultimately business impact.”