Top 20 Social Media Savvy Companies of the Fortune 100 (Part 1)


Social media usage has been baked into the business psyche for at least three years and its adoption in the commercial domain continues to grow. So The Marketing Id felt there was sufficient history to determine which of the Fortune 100 (F100) companies have been leading the social media charge. In conducting its analysis, The Marketing Id made a few assumptions and also defined some new terms.

  • In keeping with our penchant for a six count calculus, we analyzed a company’s social media activities in the following six categories:
    1. Total number of Twitter Followers (where “Fi” indicates a company’s Followers Inbound).
    2. Total number of Twitter Following (where “Fo” indicates a company’s Following Outbound).
    3. FiFo Ratio defines a company’s social curiosity and its level of reciprocity; e.g., a ~1.0 ratio suggests a high-level of mutual interest in its Followers.
    4. Total number of Tweets put out by a company.
    5. Total number of Likes (Li) recorded by a company’s Facebook page.
    6. LiFi Ratio defines a company’s likeability fidelity or amplitude; e.g., a ~10.0 ratio indicates that a company’s has ten times as many Facebook Likes as it does Twitter Followers–thus any LiFi ratio > 1 suggests the possibility of attracting more Twitter Followers.
  • All Twitter and Facebook activity for all F100 companies was recorded as of December 28, 2011, except for ExxonMobil data which was updated on 1/2/2012 due to a previous recording error.
  • In calculating averages, we assumed an across the board 36-month previous life for business-related Facebook and Twitter activities.
  • In the case of four companies, we used data from popular or available, instead of seemingly static or non-existent corporate Facebook Pages–these companies were Verizon (where we used its wireless FB page), Sunoco (where we used its NASCAR official fuel FB page), CVS Caremark (where we used its CVS pharmacy FB page), and IBM (where we used its IBM Research FB page).
  • We were unable to locate corporate Twitter handles for 22 of the Fortune 100 companies, so we assumed that they did not have Twitter accounts. Apple did not have a corporate Twitter handle per se; but it did have multiple Twitter accounts for iTunes – but these were too many to consider in our analysis without prejudicing other companies that might also be using multiple Twitter accounts for their various brands.

F100 Social Media State-of-the-Art

To better understand the overall picture, we start off with some summary statistics on social media usage in the F100.  In Table 1: Social Media Usage in Top 10 Companies of the Fortune 100, we present social media usage data in the afore-mentioned six categories.  It might be noted that two (namely, Fannie Mae and Berkshire Hathaway) of the Top 10 companies do not seem to operate Twitter accounts.  As we noted in the Introduction, 22% of F100 companies did not have a Twitter account as of 12/28/2011.  This appears to be a rather significant percentage of F100 companies, who have not yet started their “climb up the social media ladder” as it were.

Table 1: Social Media Usage in Top 10 Companies of the Fortune 100

In any case, we offer below averages of social media activities in the six categories for the Fortune 100 companies:

  1. Average Number of Tweets in the F100: 2674
  2. Average Number of Tweets in the F78: 3429
      (not including 22 non-participating companies)
  3. Average monthly Tweets over 36-month period: 95
  4. Average Number of Following Outbound (Fo) in the F100: 2851
  5. Average Number of Following Outbound (Fo) in the F78: 3656
      (not including 22 non-participating companies)
  6. Average monthly Following Outbound (Fo) over 36-month period: 102
  7. Average Number of Followers Inbound (Fi) in the F100: 85,279
  8. Average Number of Followers Inbound (Fi) in the F78: 109,332
      (not including 22 non-participating companies)
  9. Average monthly Followers Inbound (Fi) over 36-month period: 3037
  10. Average FiFo ratio in the F100/F78: 30
  11. Average Number of Facebook Likes (Li) in the F100: 1,259,185
  12. Average monthly Facebook Likes (Li) over 36-month period: 34,977
  13. Average LiFi ratio in the F100: 15
  14. Average LiFi ratio in the F78: 12

The key takeaway from these averages is–for a company to be as social media savvy as the average F100 company was in December 2011, it needs to send on average 95 tweets a month, attract on average 3037 new Twitter followers a month, follow on average 102 new Twitter accounts a month, maintain an average FiFo ratio of 30 or below, and obtain on average 34,977 Facebook Likes a month to retain a LiFi ratio between 12 and 15.

Note on the FiFo and LiFi ratios:

Everyone has heard of FIFO (First In, First Out) as used in asset management and inventory control.  Our FiFo (Followers Inbound, Following Outbound) ratio is a measure of a company’s social curiosity and its level of reciprocity.  The Marketing Id believes that the ideal for a company is to get its FiFo ratio as close to 1 as possible because it greatly expands the company’s social network and its monitoring abilities.  While all followers might not be worth following, a company must attempt to cull the undesirables out and reciprocate following as many of the rest as is feasible.  Such reciprocity is based on the simple premise that by following today’s follower, a company plants the seed for tomorrow’s customer.

Yesteryear’s lexicon had HiFi; today’s lingo has WiFi, so why not LiFi in tomorrow’s vernacular?  LiFi makes sense because it defines a company’s likeability fidelity or amplitude.  There are enormous possibilities for a company with a very high LiFi multiple – even the average 15x more Facebook Likes than Twitter Followers suggests that a company can logically attract a much larger follower base.  Again, today’s follower when properly nurtured can turn into tomorrow’s customer.

Social Media Category 1: F100 Top 10 Twitter Followers Inbound (Fi)

On March 3, 2011 USA Today reported that the Guinness Book of World Records had confirmed that “It took Sheen 25 hours and 17 minutes, between March 1 and 2, to reach 1 million followers.”  Yes, that was actor Charlie Sheen drumming up the fastest million Followers on Twitter – companies could only wish that they could have it that way!  In the business world, The Marketing Id has always believed that quality is more relevant than quantity.  Nonetheless, we were surprised to find that among the F100, the company at the top of the list in Twitter Followers had almost 4x more Followers than the company second on the list – Top-ranked Google with its 4+ million Twitter Followers swamped second place Walt Disney with its 1+ million Twitter Followers.   The Top 10 list is presented in Table 2: F100 Top 10 Twitter Followers Inbound (Fi).

Table 2: F100 Top 10 Twitter Followers Inbound (Fi)

The key takeaway from Table 2 is that both, Google and Delta Airlines have managed to maintain a LiFi ratio of 1.  In Google’s case, with 4+ million Facebook Likes (Li) and 4+ million Followers (Fi), this is a notable achievement.  But it also indicates that new growth in its Follower (Fi) base might be harder to come by.

Also of note is Coca Cola’s FiFo ratio of 7 and American Express’ FiFo ratio of 12 – both, coming under the F100 average of 30 – indicates a higher level of social curiosity and reciprocity than most companies.

A graphical representation Figure 1: F100 Top 10 Twitter Followers Inbound (Fi) is shown below..

Figure 1: F100 Top 10 Twitter Followers Inbound (Fi)

As the bar chart in Figure 1 shows, Wal-Mart, #1 company in the F100 list, squeaked into our Top 10 Twitter Followers Inbound (Fi) list at #10 with its 129,424 Followers – which is a mere 3.2% of #1 Google’s 4+ million Followers!

Social Media Category 2: F100 Top 10 Twitter Following Outbound (Fo)

If there is one thing that stands out, from our Top 10 list presented in Table 3: F100 Top 10 Twitter Following Outbound (Fo), is the fact that all ten companies in the list have low FiFo ratios (less than or equal to 12).  In addition, two of those companies, PepsiCo and Kraft Foods, also have LiFi ratios of 1, which suggests they will have to work harder at attracting new Twitter Followers (Fi).  In fact, PepsiCo has less Facebook Likes (Li) than Twitter Followers (Fi).

Table 3: F100 Top 10 Twitter Following Outbound (Fo)

The key takeaway from Table 3 is that 6 of the 10 companies belong to the more socially-aware Retail and Food & Beverages sectors, which seem naturally pre-disposed to better understanding their consumers’ preferences in choosing to follow them with a higher reciprocity.

A graphical representation Figure 2: F100 Top 10 Twitter Following Outbound (Fo) is shown below.

Figure 2: F100 Top 10 Twitter Following Outbound (Fo)

As the bar chart in Figure 2 shows, Coca Cola, #1 company in our Top 10 list, is following approximately 2x Twitter accounts than that of #2 Home Depot and roughly 11x Twitter accounts over #10 Kraft Foods.

{NOTE: Top 20 Social Media Savvy Companies of the Fortune 100 (Part 2), which includes an analysis of Social Media Categories 3 through 6 and our Top 20 Ranking based on all six categories ,  will be published next week.}


About Jack Nargundkar

High-tech marketing is always a constant compromise between logical left-brain analytics and creative right-brain activities. Jack has been living this struggle his entire working career, which he began as a software geek after graduating with a BSEE degree from Bombay University. To hone his marketing skills, Jack went on to pursue an MBA degree from Columbia Business School in New York City. Jack has since gained wide-ranging marketing experience from working at start-ups to Fortune 500 companies in the global IT, Defense & Space, and Telecommunications industries. In the past few years, Jack has focused on developing integrated marketing strategies and plans that incorporate a judicious mix of inbound and outbound marketing techniques. In addition to being a self-published author, Jack has been recognized for outstanding analytical and communications skills, authoring technical articles (self and ghosted) in numerous trade publications and editorial opinions in Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Top 20 Social Media Savvy Companies of the Fortune 100 (Part 1)

  1. mojoeyes says:

    Jack, congratulations on the fine analysis and original content–makes me want to follow you! I wonder if you’d be predisposed to holding a webcast in which you presented your material and provided a set of practical to-dos for the small and medium sized enterprise?

  2. Mark, thanks for your kind words! Let me publish Part 2 this weekend and then consider the webcast – it does sound like a good idea, but would require some thought and preparation.

Comments are closed.