FTSE 100 reluctant to blog

Feb 09, 2012
<p>New report shows surge in number of people following UK blue chips via social media</p>

FTSE 100 companies remain reluctant to blog despite a big increase in demand for information through social media, according to new research.

The number of corporate blogs from companies in the index rose by 33 percent over the last six months, from 12 to 16, but it remains the least popular social media channel in terms of the number of companies using it, says corporate communications firm The Group in a report out today.

The most likely companies to blog are in the technology, media and telecoms sector, with 75 percent of this group maintaining a corporate blog.

By contrast, the industrials, basic materials, healthcare, general financial and real estate sectors have no bloggers in the FTSE 100.

The Group is a fan of corporate blogging and bemoans the lack of involvement in its report.

‘In our view, it is the channel that offers the FTSE 100 a real opportunity to engage with stakeholders, demonstrate transparency and lead issues,’ it writes.

Social media followers surge

The report also notes a surge in the number of people following UK blue chips via social media.

More than 1 mn people now follow corporate Twitter accounts, a rise of 71 percent from June 2011.

Meanwhile, the number of Facebook fans of FTSE 100 issuers rose by 25 percent over the same period to more than 14 mn.

In the report, The Group includes for the first time an index of the best social media performers in the FTSE 100, which ranks companies by a combination of the number of followers, the quantity of output and also the quality of that output.

Carnival comes top of the list as a result of its ‘strong presence across all the channels measured,’ states the report. Burberry places in second and BP is third.

Few IR blogs

While corporate blogs are thin on the ground, investor relations blogs are rarer still.

Two FTSE 100 companies challenging the status quo, however, are Balfour Beatty and ARM Holdings, which both maintain dedicated IR blogs.

Balfour Beatty launched its blog in August last year, but so far has managed only two posts.

ARM Holdings is more established at IR blogging, with the IR team regularly posting updates including interviews with ARM employees and answers to common questions from roadshows.

‘If it’s a standard message you’re giving all the time, and a standard response, it’s a great way to do that,’ says Jonathan Lawton, business analyst for IR at ARM.

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