Nora Ganim Barnes and her colleagues at the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth have released another of their very useful studies: 2013 Fortune 500 Are Bullish on Social Media: Big Companies Get Excited About Google+, Instagram, Foursquare and Pinterest. For this work they looked at social media use by all 500 of the 2013 Fortune 500 companies. The types included blogs, Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, Google+, Foursquare and Instagram were added for the first time this year.
I always find their work especially valuable as they have been doing this research for some time and have a longitudinal set of data for comparisons. Here are some recent ones: Social Media Continues to Increase in the 2012 Fortune 500 and Blogging and Twitter by the Fortune 500: A Longitudinal Study (2011). In the 2011 Fortune 500 they found a leveling off of blogging with only 23% hosting a public facing corporate blog. However, things changed in 2012 as 28% hosted public facing blogs. This surge continues with their latest iteration showing 34% of these large enterprises creating and sharing content through blogs. Consistent with this is the fact that in 2013, 79% of the Fortune 500 blogs are kept current, take comments, have RSS feeds and take subscriptions.
This was the largest increase since 2008. They concluded that, “signals the return of the online in depth conversation, thought leadership and original content development that was popular a decade ago with early corporate adopters of blogging like IBM and Ford Motors.” I first hand that this is a goal for IBM and supports their strong move into social business (see; My IBM Connect 2013 Session Notes: Complete Listing).
These large firms are twice as active on Twitter as 77% of the Fortune 500 have corporate Twitter accounts with a tweet in the past thirty days. This represents a 4% increase since last year. These 387 corporations with corporate Twitter accounts come from 72 of the 75 industries represented in the Fortune 500. They also found that those companies ranked higher in the 2013 Fortune 500 are more likely to adopt Twitter than their lower ranked counterparts, following the same pattern as blogging.
Facebook presence is also prominent with 70% of the Fortune 500 on Facebook., a 4% increase since last year. Other social media tools are also being used extensively. There are now corporate YouTube accounts were found in 69% of the 2013 F500. This is a 7% increase from last year. Pinterest accounts are found in 9%. Google+ accounts are operating for 35%. Instagram and Foursquare accounts are operated by 9% of the 2013 Fortune 500.
The researches conclude that these results show “an interest in experimenting with new tools. Only Google+ shows evidence of a significant number of open, but inactive, accounts. In every other case, there is current activity and vibrant engagement of their audiences. The use of blogging, after years of low and stagnant adoption has continued its steady move forward with over 1/3 now providing original content and using their blogs to promote causes, establish thought leadership and to better understand their target markets.”
I am very pleased to see an increase in blogging were more in-depth and interactive conversations can occur beyond what the other, more broadcast media allow. Thanks to Nora Barnes and her team for another piece of useful data.