Fortune 500 Increased Use of Social Media in 2012 — Twitter #1

Fortune 500 companies have increased their use of social media in 2012 to reach key constituents, according to the 5th Annual Benchmarking Study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, the Center for Marketing Research.

Twitter Tops

Twitter is the tool of choice with 73% having corporate TTwitter top choice of Fortune 500witter accounts and at least one company from every one of the 71 industries on the list tweeting, according to the statistically valid study.

That was a bit of a surprise, as many brand name consumer companies are successfully leveraging facebook to sell their brands, their product/services and to build interactive communities.

YouTube is also closing in on facebook users (62% vs. 66%) among the the 2012 Fortune 500. The new social network on the block, Pinterest, has attracted only 2%, or 11 companies, as members.

As a blogger, I was pleased to learn that blogging is more popular than ever. The most successful companies understand that a blog is an essential component of their social media strategy.

For the first time this year, the study included specialty blogs that corporations have created to recruit new employees, to promote a particular topic or for fundraising.

“In addition, it is worth noting that there is evidence of usage of social media tools such as blogs inside these corporations,” says the study. (See a previous post Engaging Employees on Social Media).

Key Findings

Key findings reported by UMass are:

  • 28% (139) of the primary Fortune 500 corporations have an external corporate blog. This is an increase of 5% from 2011.
  • 54% of the corporate blogs come from companies ranked in the top 200 on the list. Rank influences the use of blogging more than any other tool studied.
  • 73% (365) of Fortune 500 primary companies have corporate Twitter accounts. This is an increase of 11% from 2011.
  • 66% (332) of the 2012 Fortune 500 primary companies have a corporate facebook page. This is an increase of 8% from 2011.
  • 62% (309) of the 2012 Fortune 500 primary companies are using YouTube. Two percent (11) are using Pinterest.
  • 23% (115) of the 2012 Fortune 500 primary companies have neither a Twitter account nor a facebook page. In 2011, 31% had neither.

The infographic below gives many more juicy findings from the study. Thanks to study co-author Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Marketing Research, for creating the embed code for me to enable my readers to view the infographic. If you prefer to read the narrative version of the study go to 5th Annual Benchmarking Study.

The study was co-authored by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes; Ava M. Lescault MBA and Associate Director of the Center for Marketing Research; and Justina Andonian, MBA candidate, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

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  1. Even though it has taken a bit, it’s fun to see what and how companies are starting to use Social Media to further their message and brand. I believe that many companies who have an “old guard” leadership group are less inclined to jump on the “band wagon” of SM and/or understand the power that has to move their businesses. As the “old guard” moves on, I believe we will see more SM engagement. Just my thoughts… 🙂

    • I totally agree, Susan. It’s happening slowly but surely. I do believe that age isn’t a factor in adopting social media. It’s having the openness to explore new ideas and ways of doing things.

  2. Really interesting information Jeannette. Thanks!

    The following interested me in particular:

    *28% (139) of the primary Fortune 500 corporations have an external corporate blog. This is an increase of 5% from 2011.
    *54% of the corporate blogs come from companies ranked in the top 200 on the list. Rank influences the use of blogging more than any other tool studied.

    • Catarina — that’s the exact statistic that stuck me, too. I was especially impressed that the very largest companies understand how essential a corporate blog is to their social media strategy. It’s the one social media tool where you have time to fully explore a topic fully without worrying if you’ve exceeded 140 characters.

    • Catarina — being a blogger I was also happily surprised to see that more than half the 200 largest companies have blogs. They understand a blog is their social media home base where they can tell their stories in their own way, on their territory, without the filter of a social media network.

  3. Back in May, I found it interesting that General Motors pulled all their ads from Facebook. For various reasons, those ads were not yielding sales. GM is on Twitter in at least two different languages and also has a blog. I have no idea about those things impact their bottom line. The blogs can only help in today’s culture where consumers conduct extensive research. In addition to the research, consumers who have a financial choice can give their business to companies that they share values and ideas with (ie… being green.)

    For what it’s worth… my 16 year old said that Facebook is old and just this week succumbed to the pleas of his friends and got a Twitter account! He still uses Facebook as a venue for group activity.

    • Keyuri — yes, GM pulling their Facebook ads made big news. Very interesting that your teen-aged son considers Facebook “old.” Maybe the fun of it is beginning to diminish. For kids, it’s on to the next new fad. Facebook has a real challenge in monetizing the network when companies can establish free pages and draw millions of fans who can interact with them and even buy their products and services. It will be interesting to see how this all works out — think MySpace.