Burson-Marsteller’s “2010 Latin America Social Media Study” revealed that only 49% of Latin American companies are using at least one of the most popular social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or corporate blogs), compared with 79% of companies globally. The highest proportions of Latin American companies leveraging at least one social media channel are in Mexico (80%) and Venezuela (75%) and lowest proportions are in Puerto Rico (5%) and Argentina (25%).

2010 Latin America Social Media Study“Fortune Global 100 Social Media Check-Up Study”

For this study, Burson-Marsteller’s global research team analyzed the social media use of the 160 highest-revenue companies in from Latin American countries including: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Venezuela. The results were compared with those of Burson-Marsteller’s “Social Media Global Check-up Study,” released in February 2010, which analyzed the presence in social media companies in the Fortune Global 100.

The Latin America Social Media Study found that Facebook is the most popular social media tool used by companies in the region, with over 39% of companies having one or more pages on Facebook. Moreover, stakeholders indicate an interest in engaging with Latin American businesses on Facebook, as over one-half (55%) of the company pages analyzed have comments from “fans.” Mexican and Venezuelan companies in the study were most likely to have comments on their Facebook pages.

Twitter follows Facebook as the second most popular social media website, with 32% of Latin American companies maintaining a Twitter account. However, 53% of the companies studied had tweets posted about them by stakeholders on Twitter, revealing that many Latin American companies are being talked about on Twitter but have no presence on the social media channel. Thus, these companies are being left out of the conversation. Colombian companies have the biggest gap, where only 29% of businesses have a Twitter account, but 86% are being mentioned by stakeholders’ tweets.

While fewer Latin American companies are on Twitter than in other regions (32% vs. 65% globally), the Latin American companies have almost twice the number of followers (2,626 followers vs. 1,489 globally). This shows that Latin American consumers are increasingly willing to participate and interact with businesses via social media.

Latin American organizations’ presence on YouTube is more limited, with only 25% of companies in Latin America having an account. Companies in Chile, Brazil and Mexico have the highest participation rates on YouTube. In general, the most popular brands in the region post videos of their advertisements. Brazilian companies have the largest audiences, with an average of 251,195 views of their videos, driven by Petrobras, which has videos of social, environmental and community work.

Corporate blogs are the least popular social media channel for business in both Latin America (11%) and across the globe (33%). Only Brazilian (37%) and Chilean (29%) companies have significant proportions of companies with brand-sponsored blogs.

Companies’ reputations are at risk if they are being talked about on social media and are not part of the dialogue. Monitoring what is being said about a company is a good start to planning a social media strategy. Then, creating an account, posting updates, and responding to stakeholders who are posting about the company are necessary follow-up steps.

To help businesses optimize their social media presence, Burson-Marsteller has developed several tools, including the “Social Media Check-Up,” which assesses a brand’s digital and social media health and measures the impact on online reputation. Burson-Marsteller also advises in Digital Public Relations to help identify and promote relationships with the most influential stakeholders in social networks.

About this Study
Burson-Marsteller investigated the social media activity of the top 20 highest-revenue companies in each of the following: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Venezuela. Social media channels included in the study were Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and corporate blogs. Data was collected by Burson-Marsteller’s global research team in June-August 2010. The results of this study were compared with Burson-Marsteller’s “Fortune Global 100 Social Media Check-Up Study,” released in February 2010.

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