Here is some new research, The Fortune 500 and Social Media: A Longitudinal Study of Blogging and Twitter Usage by America’s Largest Companies, by Nora Ganim Barnes and Eric Mattson at the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. I have covered some of their earlier work (see Fortune 500 Blogging Study), This new study builds on their 2008 study and expands to look at the Fortune 500's usage of Twitter.
The main findings indicated that 180 (22%) of the 2009 Fortune 500 have a public-facing corporate blog with a post in the past 12 months. This is up from 81 companies (16%) in 2008. To no surprise IT companies have the most blogs. This includes Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and Xerox. The specialty retail industry increased its blogging by from 4 companies on the 2008 list to 7 from the 2009 list. Included are companies such as Home Depot, Best Buy, Toys “R” Us and BJ’s Wholesale. This is perhaps because of the increasing awareness of social media marketing.
The big players seem to like blogs more. The top 100 companies on the list represent 39% of the 108 blogs in the 2009 F500. In 2008, 38% of the total number of blogs came from the top 100. The top 200 companies in 2009 had 58% of the F500 blogs, while the bottom 200 (those listed 301-500) had 29% of the 2009 F500 blogs. They seem to be open to conversations as 90% percent of the Fortune 500 blogs take comments, have RSS feeds and take subscriptions. This is consistent with the 2008 findings.
Of the 108 blogs located, 93 (86%) are linked directly to a corporate Twitter account. This is a three-fold increase from 2008. Twitter usage is now running ahead of blogs as 173 (35%) of the 2009 Fortune 500 has a Twitter account with a post within the past thirty days. Only 4 protected their tweets and these were not included in the total.
The insurance industry has the most Twitter accounts (13) with It and telecom following with 10 each. Like blogs size matters as 47% of the 173 twitter accounts belong to Fortune 500 companies in the top 200 while 35% come from those listed in the bottom 200 (201-500) on the 2009 list.
While there is growth in blogging in the Fortune 500 they are still blogging at a lower rate than the smaller Inc. 500 firms where 45% now have a blog. You can find a complete listing of those with blogs and twitter accounts in the research paper.
So it seems that blogs and Twitter are taking hold. I found it interesting, but not surprising, that Twitter usage is higher. However, if you only tweet and do not blog you are not able to get comprehensive messages out and are generally pointing to the messages of others. Perhaps those Twitter only firms are just interested in getting sound bytes out.
The Darwin Awareness Engine™ provides an easy way to keep track of all these tweets and blog posts. You can set up Darwin Editions™ on your topic of interests, including what the Fortune 500 or the Inc. 500 are saying.