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Stars of social media emerge through new research

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The world's biggest consumer brand, as measured by its online social media following, is the Starbucks coffee shop chain, a new study has found.

According to Famecount.com, which claims to be the world’s first media measurement service to measure online popularity across the major social media channels, Starbucks was found to be the world’s most popular consumer brand in terms of social media following.

The study works out a Famecount index score based on numbers of Facebook fans, Twitter followers and YouTube subscribers. The results are relative, says Famecount, to the “most popular worldwide aggregate social media entity” – otherwise known as Lady Gaga - who scores a benchmark 100.

The study was carried out on June 2, when Starbucks had 7.4m Facebook fans 901,925 Twitter followers and 6,509 YouTube subscribers. That gave the company a Famecount index score of 69.7%.

Coca-Cola, with 5.6m Facebook fans, 47,544 Twitter followers and 6,967 YouTube subscribers came second with a Famecount index of 53.7%, followed by Whole Foods Market (48.4%), Skittles (48.3%) and Oreo (48.1%).

Daniel Dearlove, founder of Famecount.com, said: “This data is unique in that it gives us for the first time an accurate global ranking of the popularity of brands online. It is interesting to see established offline brands perform so strongly.

“This highlights the growing importance of social media in wider marketing campaigns, as well as the applicability of these channels to established brands, which may not have had a significant online presence previously. Social networks are helping them to tap into wider audiences and strengthen communications with existing consumers.”

Away from the consumer brands, Texas Hold ‘em Poker (98.2%) and Mafia Wars (78.5%) were the most popular media, sport or game brand, followed by Facebook (71.1%).

Our view: It shouldn’t be surprising that the most popular consumer brands are more familiar to us as offline than online. We all live and consume in the real world after all, while also interacting online.

But it does demonstrate that online social media isn’t just for e-commerce brands and that companies with a strong understanding of their audience are just as well-placed, if not better, to interact on the web. Let’s not forget that Starbucks has already demonstrated its online engagement by becoming one of the first brands to get involved in Twitter’s paid-for promoted tweets, successfully reaping great rewards from the ensuing launch publicity.

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