A study on the usage rates for social media by the Fortune Global 100 companies was recently released and one of the more surprising results was the spike in use not for Facebook, Twitter or Google+, but YouTube!

The report found that YouTube accounts are being maintained by the vast majority of these top companies, jumping almost 40% in just the last year. These corporations’ channels each average approximately two million views and boast over 1,650 subscribers! These aren’t your average cute kitten, teen angst or daredevil stunt YouTube videos but an extremely judicious application of branding for the social media generation, which is appealing to an ever growing number of online consumers.

A Shift in the Core of Advertising

If you dwell on it you are able to realize that this social media development may very well demonstrate a seismic shift in the core experience of advertising itself. Nearly 200,000 users are actually opting to receive updates from commercial channels branded from a specific advertiser. That’s essentially the equivalent of saying “I actually want to watch commercials on TV and I’m going to make an effort to do so.” Of course these aren’t the conventional TV ads that try to cram down the consumer’s throat the latest pitch in 30 seconds or less, as companies must work diligently to attract and maintain the loyalty of these subscribers.

A mundane three minute commercial for a product brand isn’t going to create the desirable results required in this brave new medium. Think of these videos more as mini-documentaries or highly condensed special interest TV programming than commercials. Some television series produce webisodes that divulge additional information about plotlines or characters, and in a similar way, these YouTube company videos are able to elucidate further on various aspects of the branding, such as HP’s technology improving daily lives or Walmart showing ways to make a limited family budget go further.

79 of the Fortune Global 100 Companies Are on YouTube

As in any other form of social media marketing outreach, the key is to vividly and thoroughly engage the consumer, and this study seems to prove that this is an aspect that has been successfully integrated by these top companies; the usage rates are higher than they’ve ever been in the history of social media. Nearly four out of every five corporate Twitter accounts incorporate re-tweets and @ replies to involve their customers as a major portion of their social media strategy, and almost three quarters of companies reply to comments that have been posted on Facebook pages. In the last two years alone, the number of Fortune Global 100 companies on YouTube has jumped from 50 to 79 and it seems that it will soon reach the saturation point.

Twitter Has the Highest Corporate Usage Rate

The overall increase in usage of social media by these top companies over the last two years is nothing short of astounding. At 82%, Twitter’s usage rate has soundly beaten a variety of networks, including Facebook at 74%. Even the fairly underperforming Google+ has been able to attract nearly 50% of the top companies in the country. However, the biggest surprise may be Pinterest, which is essentially not much more than a website where people share images… and has attracted a quarter of the Fortune Global 100! Social media has swiftly established itself as a channel that major corporations must focus on through the allocation of marketing strategies and resources. A statistic that seems to prove this out is that in 2010, only 59% of companies updated their Facebook page on a regular basis but now 93% do so each week.

These huge corporations are not the only types of businesses who have discovered that the future of marketing is clearly within the social media sphere. Companies from food trucks all the way up to megaconglomerates have realized that an engaged social media consumer is a loyal one and that the specific facilities that are available through presenting “video on demand” informative mini-documentaries on YouTube could be the most successful social media marketing strategy to yet surface in the cyberuniverse.