Nora Ganim Barnes and her colleagues at the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth have been dong a number of studies on social media and organizations in various populations. One series covers the Fortune 500. See for example, Blogging and Twitter by the Fortune 500: A Longitudinal Study (2011), Twitter Moves Ahead of Blogs in Fortune 500 (2010), and Fortune 500 Blogging Study (2009). The latest is Social Media Surge by the 2012 Fortune 500: Increase Use of Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and More by Nora Ganim Barnes, Ava M. Lescault, and Justina Andonian.
While last year’s F500 study found a leveling off of blogging in the Fortune 500 with only 23% hosting a public facing corporate blog in both 2010 and 2011, in 2012, 139 companies (28%) had corporate blogs providing the largest increase in use of this tool since the 2008 study of the F500. It was also found that 54% of the corporate blogs come from companies ranked in the top 200 on the list. Rank influences blogging more than it does the use of any other tool studied. Telecommunications leads the pack with 40% blog usage. The 17 industries with no blogs include Forest and Paper Products, Railroads, Tobacco, Toys/Sporting Goods, Real Estate, Building Materials/Glass, Trucking and Waste Management. Many of these make sense but I am surprised with real estate as it an industry heavy into blogging.
The research also found that Twitter is by far the tool of choice with 73% having corporate twitter accounts and at least one company from every one of the 71 industries on the list tweeting. This is an increase of 11% from 2011. The team found that all of the top 10 companies (Exxon, Wal-Mart, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, General Motors, General Electric, Berkshire Hathaway, Fannie Mae, Ford Motors and Hewlett-Packard) consistently post on their Twitter accounts. Here the leading industry is Food Consumer Products with 93% participation. Google has the highest number of followers on Twitter (4,795,987), followed by Whole Foods Market (2,666,439), Starbucks (2,546,244), and Southwest Airlines (1,305,938). Walt Disney had the largest increase in a year with 206,843 Twitter followers in 2011 to 1,289,222 followers in 2012 (84%).
In addition, 66% of the 2012 Fortune 500 have a corporate Facebook page. This is an increase of 8% from 2011. Next, in the usage line is YouTube with 62% (309) of the 2012 Fortune 500 while only. 2% (11) are using Pinterest. I do not use it either. Within the 2012 Fortune 500, 23% (115) have neither a Twitter account nor a Facebook page. This is down from 2011 when 31% had neither.
There is much more in the free report and I would urge you to take a look. I greatly appreciate the effort by Nora Ganim Barnes and her team in documenting social media use over time.