A study entitled “The Fortune 500 and Social Media: A Longitudinal Study of Blogging, Twitter and Facebook Usage by America’s Largest Companies”, conducted By: Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D. for the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth was published recently and provides some valuable insight into the Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging behaviors of the companies on the Fortune 500.

The study describes itself as: “In 2008, the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth released one of the first studies of the Fortune 500 (F500) adoption and in 2009 repeated that study expanding it to include the usage of one of the fastest growing social media tools – Twitter.

This new study (2010) revisits those prior in-depth studies and expands again to look at the F500’s usage of another popular and fast growing social media platform – Facebook. This research also builds on the Center’s work since 2007 examining social media in a variety of organizations including the Inc. 500, US colleges and universities and the Forbes list of the 200 largest charities. (http://www.umassd.edu/cmr)”

It’s interesting how low the percentages are of companies that have blogs. The study reports that  “One hundred and sixteen (23%) of the primary corporations listed on the 2010 F500 have a public-facing corporate blog with a post in the past 12 months. These include four of the top five corporations (Wal-Mart, Exxon, Chevron and General Electric). The only company in the top 5 in 2010 without a public facing blog is Bank of America.” Apparently blogging is not much a priority of these companies. However, I applaud those who have blogs, as more information put out online can usually improve a company’s public image.

A large amount of companies on the Fortune 500 list have Twitter accounts- “Two hundred and ninety-eight (60%) of the 2010 F500 companies now have corporate Twitter accounts meeting the criteria of this study.” The criteria basically outlined that the Twitter account had to have a ‘tweet’ sent in the last 30 days.

Additionally, it appears that companies are responding to mentions of their brand or company consistently: “One hundred and three companies (35%) consistently responded with @replies or retweets within 72 hours, many more often.” This is a good sign that these companies are embracing social media as a communication medium between them and their current and potential customers.

A slightly few percentage of companies were on Facebook as Twitter: “Two hundred and eighty (56%) of the 2010 F500 are now on Facebook.” This is the first year the university has measured Facebook, so it will be interesting to see the growth, if any, for 2011.

Perhaps the most alarming statistic that got my attention was: “One hundred and forty-seven companies (29%) have neither a Twitter account nor a Facebook presence.” A company that is in the Fortune 500 but no Twitter or Facebook account? Where are they going to share that they are in the Fortune 500? 🙂

Overall, the study reports only a 1% increase in the adoption of blogs, but a continuous large growth in the percentage of companies that are using Twitter and Facebook.

Kelsey Jones

Kelsey Jones

Founder/Chief Marketing Consultant at Six Stories
Kelsey Jones helps clients around the world grow their social media, content, and search marketing presence. She enjoys writing and consuming all kinds of content, both in digital and tattered paperback form.
Kelsey Jones
Kelsey Jones