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Two thirds of FTSE 100 engage with social media, with most preferring Twitter

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Sixty-seven businesses in the FTSE 100 are actively engaging with social media, and prefer to use Twitter over Facebook according to a new study.

The research by PR agency Threepipe Communications reveals that 63 firms are now actively tweeting whilst just 33 have their own Facebook page. Aviva and Rio Tinto even tweeted their annual results in the last year.

The study also reveals just 11 of the companies in the FTSE 100 use their social media channels as a helpline or for customer service, whilst six use them to raise brand awareness through their corporate and social responsibility activities.

Pharmaceuticals companyGlaxoSmithKlein was the first company on the FTSE 100 index to send a tweet in April 2007, whilst Tesco is the most recent convert having joined Facebook in March of this year, just two weeks before going live on Twitter.

The research highlights that some sectors are engaging more effectively with social media than others with banking, insurance and retail being the most active, whilst manufacturing, mining and real estate are practically invisible.

Burberry is the most popular FTSE 100 company on Facebook with more than four million followers and Cairn Energy plc is the least popular with six followers.

Beth Carroll, head of social media at Threepipe, said: "It's interesting to see companies favour Twitter over Facebook, given the latter is much bigger on a global scale. Overall, the research suggests that a majority of FTSE firms recognise the importance of engaging their stakeholders in a dialogue via mediums such as Twitter, and responding to their comments directly."