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How Do Australia’s Top Brands Compare To the USA on Social Media?

This question has plagued me over the last few months (and not in a strange, malingering disease type of way).

How does Australia compare to the “Technology Leaders” the USA in its use of social media by the top companies and brands?

Well another study has revealed some facts and figures that answered my question.. well partially anyway, from the esteemed Burson- Marsteller (Australia), a leading public relations and public affairs firm, with a survey that looked at Australia’s Top Brands and then compared them to the latest Fortune 100 Social Media Study by its American headquarters.

So how did the “Aussies” stack up.

Firstly here are the numbers for the Australian “Top Brands”

Australian Companies Using Multiple Social Media Channels

  • No Channels 15%
  • One Channel 65%
  • Two Channels 15%
  • Three Channels 5%

Channel Type

  • Facebook 50%
  • Twitter 40%
  • Blog 20%

Top Financial Institutions

  • None 25%
  • Facebook 25%
  • Twitter 38%
  • Blog 13%

Top Retail Brands

  • None 25%
  • Facebook 75%
  • Twitter 63%
  • Blog 25%

Now, how do they measure up when we go head to head with the Americans on the Financial Services and Retail Industry Sectors ?

Australia’s Top Brands  Vs USA Fortune 100

Financial Services

  • Twitter:  Australia 38% with the USA  at 42% – USA Wins!
  • Facebook: Australia 25% and the  USA with  8%- Aussie’s Win
  • Blog: Australia 13% Versus the USA at an almighty 17% – USA wins again

Sub Total:  USA 2 to Australia 1

Retail’s Top Brands

  • Twitter:  Australia 63% with the USA  at 79% – USA Wins!!
  • Facebook: Australia 75% and the  USA with  50% – Australia Wins here.
  • Blog: Australia 25% Versus the USA at an almighty 36% – USA again!

Sub Total: USA 2, Australia 1..again

Total Score: USA – 4 and Australia – 2

Result: USA Wins.

Note: This didn’t surprise me because the anecdotal evidence suggested that this might be the case, but its good to get the hard numbers (It’s the accountant  in me struggling to get out)

So how did the numbers add up up on the various “Social Media Channels” ?

Twitter Facts and Figures

  • 40% have an account
  • 18 Accounts
  • 8 Inactive
  • Follower counts range from 193 to 8,000 plus

Twitter Uses by Australia’s Top Brands

  • HR at 9%
  • Promotion with 45%
  • Service at 55%
  • News with 45%

Twitter Site for Billabong: Billabong seems to be the Brand with some “Twitter Best Practice” with it’s use being mainly to develop relationships, rather than just promote specials, sales and promotions

Facebook Use By the Top Brands in Australia

  • 50 % Using Facebook
  • 15% Inactive

The major corporates are starting to use this channel with Telstra (Australia’s largest telecommunications company) not afraid to engage with its customers despite some negative feedback.

Telstra’s Facebook Page


  • 20% Do
  • 80% Don’t

Note: These  also in the main have low level of use and minimal feedback

Woolworths Australia’s largest Grocery retailer uses elements of best practice with its blog such as:

  • Communicating
  • Engaging
  • Facilitating Feedback

Woolworths Blog.

Conclusions and Takeaways:

  • The majority of companies are failing to take a integrated and strategic approach to their use of social media
  • Australia’s brands are neglecting the opportunity to engage with stakeholders with Facebook, the most widely used social media channel in Australia
  • Corporate Blogs are way behind their counterparts in the USA and the UK
  • Brand value does not denote best practice in social media

It will be interesting to visit this study in 12 months. Do you think we will see a marked improvement?

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