Report Reveals:15 Best Practices of Social Media Implemented by the Top 100 Brands

Social MediaI read a report yesterday that rated the Top 100 Brands on how engaged they are with their use of Social Media. These are brands are widely acknowledged for setting the standards in marketing as measured by BusinessWeek / Interbrand “Best Global Brands 2008” rankings. And now this  report from , evaluates how well they are engaging their consumers using social media and how that engagement correlates with their most important financial metrics: revenue and profit.

The report goes on to discuss what engagement with social media means, especially deep engagement, and that it is not just presence..

” And what exactly do we mean by deep social engagement? Resembling any ” person to person” exchange, socializing requires more than just being there — you have to interact with others, instigate discussions, and respond during conversations. The study implies value in social engagement on top of social presence — it pays to actively and continually participate and invest in your networks.”

4 Key Observations

  • As the number of channels increase, overall engagement increases at a faster rate. Brands that were in seven or more channels engaged deeply across all channels where they were present, as compared to brands that were present in fewer channels. There is an exponential growth in the depth of engagement as the brand extends itself into more and more channels.
  • Engagement differs by industry. Not only are some industries on average present in more channels, they also engage with them more deeply. For example, media and technology companies tend to be in more channels and engage deeply within them than,…. apparel, consumer products, food & beverage, and financial brands  which is to be expected given that companies in these industries are just beginning to experiment with social media.
  • Financial performance correlates with engagement. Back to the million-dollar question: Why do social media? Because it pays off. While no one yet has the data to determine direct cause and effect, what is found is a financial correlation between those who are deeply engaged and those who outperform their peers
  • It Provides ” Multiple Communication Touch Points”  More touch points can present a ripple effect, inducing viral marketing, boosting brand recognition and driving sales volume. Simply it means that different people prefer different types of communication, so the more types of communication, you as a company are enaging in, the more chance you have of creating a broader and deeper reach in the market place.

15 Best Practices of Social Media Implemented by the Top 100 Brands

  1. Deputize people throughout the organization.
  2. Understand how each channel provides a different dimension of engagement
  3. Centralize coordination
  4. Find champions who can explain and mitigate risk.
  5. Be in it for the long haul
  6. Pick channels carefully.
  7. Spread engagement to employees beyond the social media team.
  8. Open the platform to anyone and everyone.Encourage employees to tap into social media to get work done
  9. Engage in new channels where people already are
  10. Support engagement as an extension of the company culture.Be conversational from the start.
  11. Be conversational from the start.
  12. Make social media part of the job, just like email
  13. Modularize and synchronize content across channels
  14. To scale engagement, make social media part of everyone’s job.
  15. Emphasize quality, not just quantity.

What social media channels were examined in the Report?

• Blogs • Branded social network/community • Content distribution to other sites (e.g. Facebook Connect, ShareThis, etc) • Discussion forums • External social network presence (e.g. Facebook, MySpace) • Flickr / Photobucket • Innovation hubs (e.g. centralized customer community to create innovation) • Wikis • Ratings and reviews • Twitter • YouTube

I think what can taken from this report is “Doing it all” (in Social Media) may not be for you — but you must do something”… Start the Journey, even if it is just a Blog.


  • Mark Essel

    Great work pulling this all together. Since the target audience is high level, perhaps late adopters to social media I understand the brevity. Maybe you could drill down all the way on one particular bullet? A couple of friends I met online (Jason Cronkhite, and Deano Powers) have discussed a moderated, social crowd sourced wiki that allows drilling down in particular areas of interest. We began some work on it over the summer but other priorities trumped the project at the time. Would you be interested in helping formalize the landing page. I’m asking because I really enjoyed the top level points you reviewed even though some may be counter intuitive (more channels correlated to deeper engagement).

  • Lee Smallwood

    Great work Jeff and I believe the ’15 Best Practices of Social Media’ outlines the beginning of a social media corporate policy – which guides the way in order for any organisation to understand the when, how and why to use social media as an engagement tool.

  • Carona Mohapatra

    Very neatly put Jeff. However, a few points to note here. I believe the reason why many among these top 100 brands have succeded is because there must have been a clear mandate as well as a well thought of plan behind their social media engagement. Also there must be at least one member from the Senior Management driving this engagement. All the best practices mentioned above would not work if the above is not taken into account.

  • Cam Gleeson

    Hey Jeff great post as usual, your comment that brands

    “Deputize people throughout the organization.’

    This seems to be where alot of other brands stuggle, as deputizing does imply a degree of trust. And most brands seem afraid of trusting their people on social media.

    What are you thoughts?

  • Mike Klein

    Thanks for the post Jeff. I think there is a point missing from your list:

    16. Successful organizations ‘listen’ first.

  • Robin Low

    Great insight on the best practices, could not have summarized it better! Thanks for the info!

  • Stephanie Robbins

    If you could only do one channel in social media what would it be? 

  • @JacekStr

    Link to report does not work ;(

  • Barbara Benham

    Could you please add a hashtag that signifies you are tweeting old content? #recycle is long, but you get the idea. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen one of your tweets and gone to the article and found that it’s months or, as in this case, years old. Even if the content still applies, isn’t that sort of notice a best practice for Twitter? You’re the only person I follow who does this regularly.

    Barbara Benham
    Sticky Clicky Social Media