Fortune 500 Companies Getting More Social

July 11, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Financial Services | Retail & E-Commerce | Social Media | Telecom

UMass-Fortune-500-Corporate-Social-Media-Usage-2013-v-2012-Jul2013Fortune 500 companies are turning to a variety of social media platforms in greater numbers this year, according to the latest annual study from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research. Twitter remains the most popular tool for corporate communications, used by 77% this year (up from 73%), with Facebook (70%, from 66%) and YouTube (69% vs. 62%) also in the top tier of adoption. Blogging has seen a resurgence, up 6% points to 34% adoption, virtually tied with the newly-tracked Google+. Interestingly, while 35% have active Google+ accounts, another 19% have corporate accounts that are not yet active. The researchers note that this was the only platform where such a significant proportion of open but inactive accounts were found, attributing that to corporations either still learning about it or not yet having discovered its best use within their mix.

Other platforms tracked by the study were Pinterest (at 9% adoption this year, up from 2% last year) and the newly-added Foursquare (9%) and Instagram (8%).

Other Findings:

  • Adoption of public-facing blogs from the Fortune 500 has now increased from 16% in 2008 to 34% this year.
  • The 171 Fortune 500 corporations with blogs represented 58 of 75 industries in the Fortune 500. Of those industries, telecommunications led in adoption percentage, with 53% of its companies maintaining a blog (9 of the 17). Next were specialty retailers, with 46% adoption (10 of 22).
  • Corporations ranked in the top 200 were more likely to blog than those ranked 300-500.
  • 8 of the top 10 corporations actively post on Twitter.
  • 72 of the 75 industries represented in the Fortune 500 tweet, with adoption highest among commercial banks (17 of 18; 94%), food consumer products (13 of 15; 93%) and specialty retailers (20 of 22; 91%).
  • Facebook pages also come from 72 of the 75 industries represented, though specialty retailers sport the highest adoption percentage (21 of 22; 96%), ahead of telecom (15 of 17; 88%).
  • Berkshire Hathaway is the only top-10 corporation without a YouTube channel.
  • Half of the top 10 have a Pinterest board.
  • Only 1 of the top 10 companies (Ford Motors) is on Instagram.
  • Walmart is the only company among the top 10 to use Foursquare.

About the Data: The Center for Market Research findings are the result of study of companies named by Fortune Magazine to its Fortune 500 list for 2013 (released in May). Companies were counted as having a blog if they had a public-facing corporate blog from the primary corporation with current posts. All corporations were analyzed using multiple steps. First, working from the published 2013 Fortune 500 list, all corporate home pages were examined for links to, or mention of, corporate blogs. If none were found, a search on the company’s site was conducted using the key word “blog.” Any links resulting from that search were followed and evaluated using the established criteria.

If no blogs were located on the home page or through a site search, other search engines were used. Both Google and Technorati (a leading blog-focused search engine) were employed to check for corporate blogs using key words that included the primary/listed company name and the word “blog.” A search of other sites gathering information on the F500 was also reviewed for any mention of blogs in that group.

The same methodology was used to locate corporate Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. In each case the appropriate sites for each platform was utilized. As in last year’s study, the number of corporate YouTube and Pinterest accounts was studied. The same methodology was employed as described above for blogs, Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, Google+, Foursquare and Instagram were added for the first time this year and treated in the same way.

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