Winning the Social Media Popularity Contest

Updated: December 15, 2010

The Alinean social media popularity findings highlight distinct differences in popularity based on company practices and customer profiles, with many companies and industries displaying an enormous leveraging of social media versus peers. As social media grows in use, promotional power and business value, the most popular companies will have a distinct competitive advantage in revenue generation, marketing efficiency and return on marketing.

The study found that the companies that are the most popular overall in social media are centered in a few industries (on average), especially:

  1. High Technology
  2. Consumer Products
  3. Retail
  4. Travel
  5. Media and Entertainment
  6. Hospitality
  7. Automotive

Industries found to have companies with the least overall social media popularity (on average) include:

  1. Energy
  2. Utilities
  3. Wholesale & Distribution
  4. Pharmaceuticals
  5. Healthcare
  6. Chemicals
  7. Professional Services / Service Providers

The difference between most popular and least popular industries is dramatic, with the most popular industries being over 1,000 times as popular as the least popular industries. Within different industries, performance of individual companies is even more dramatic, showing the maturity and investment payoff (at least in terms of affinity) of certain companies versus others, and how far behind many individual companies are from the leaders.

Examining the reasons for popularity, the study highlights five important factors for large enterprise social media popularity:

  1. Important and timely content marketing to support social media collaboration, including the development and communication of breaking news, blogs, reviews, thought provoking points of view, research, and entertainment.
  2. An interactive dialogue with an active and engaged user base, with monitors and representatives responding to / collaborating with participants on a timely and personal basis.
  3. Special deals, discounts, contests and giveaways to promote, targeting frugal buyers (both business and consumer) who are seeking the lowest price, fastest payback and best value from every purchase in this current "age of austerity" (a condition we call Frugalnomics).
  4. A strong and passionate "lifestyle" brand connection to its user base.
  5. A natural demographic alignment with social media participants.
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