The research also revealed more than 75 percent of brands lack a cohesive social media presence across all major platforms.
Acquity Group (NYSE MKT AQ), a leading global Brand eCommerce® and digital marketing company, announced today the social media findings from its 2012 Brand eCommerce Audit™, which evaluated Interbrand's 2012 Best Retail Brands on customer engagement across major digital channels, including big browser, social, and mobile.
While every brand on the list except one has a Facebook page, and 45 out of 50 are on Twitter, only 12 brands had a cohesive presence across all five of the major social networks analyzed (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube).
The audit revealed Twitter had the largest gap between usage and interaction. With a 90 percent adoption rate among the brands, less than 27 percent actively participate in Twitter conversations with consumers. In fact, companies were least likely to respond to or engage with customers via Twitter than any other social media channel evaluated.
"Although most brands are signed up for the major social networks, many struggle to understand how they fit into their overarching business strategy. As a result, our audit revealed several critical areas of improvement when it comes to actually connecting with consumers across social channels," said Jay Dettling, Executive Vice President at Acquity Group. "The important take away for brands is to avoid haphazard or sporadic use of social media. When a new social media channel is introduced, brands need to take the time to analyze the potential impact and return, and develop a solid strategy from there."
Brands were most active on YouTube, with 80 percent of the brands leveraging the channel at an 85 percent engagement rate. Even though the majority of companies (56 percent) have yet to utilize Instagram, the brands with a presence on this platform also had a high level of interaction (79 percent). Pinterest was identified as the most popular up and coming social network, with 60 percent adoption and 70 percent interaction. According to Dettling, these findings demonstrate the growing importance of engaging consumers through videos and visuals.
The 10 brands scoring best overall in social interaction include, in order of ranking Target, Home Depot, RadioShack, Bath and Body Works, Nordstrom, Gap, eBay, Coach, American Eagle Outfitters and Banana Republic.