Twitter retained its #1 ranking among the Fortune 500 with 77% of companies having an account.
New Tools in the Mix
The Center has expanded the study over the last six years to include the fastest growing social media platforms and tools. This year’s study includes Instagram, Google+, Foursquare and Pinterest, although engagement on these platforms is well below the most popular networks.
LinkedIn wasn’t included in the study, because of feedback from companies that they use LinkedIn for talent acquisition rather than social media or customer engagement. With the introduction of company pages and groups, that may change next year.
The Center also studied the indicators of engagement, such as the number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers.
Facebook – which made the Fortune 500 for the first time — has the largest number of fans on that social network. More surprising, Facebook has the largest number of followers on competitor Twitter.
Blogging Grows in Importance
The number of public facing blogs has more than doubled since the first study in in 2008, from 16% to 35%. The study posits that “adoption of this mature social media tool by these great companies 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.”
In a conversation with Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., co-author of the study, I asked why she thought blogging was on the increase.
“How exciting to see the steady march to adopt blogging by the wealthiest corporations in the world,” she said. “What respect for our most mature social media tool. It really says that blogging can do something different. Maybe it is an acknowledgement that all things might not be possible in 140 characters or a quick post.”
These were among the most interesting and surprising findings of the study for me:
- Google+ has been adopted by 35% of the companies but 19% have not yet become active and this is the only social platform where there were a significant number of open, but inactive accounts.
- 9% of the 2013 Fortune 500 have a corporate Instagram account, the increasingly popular social media tool. However, Ford Motors is the only top 10 company on Instagram. Other adopters include AT&T, Avon and Home Depot.
- While blogging has increased in popularity, it is most used among the top 200 and less used in the bottom 300. This has been a consistent pattern over the years but the Center doesn’t know why.
- 59% of the companies using social media link to their tools from their corporate homepages. All the others require additional searching to locate these engagement tools. It is surprising that these behemoths don’t have social media icons on their home pages so that visitors can begin to engage with them on social media.
The infographic below gives many more juicy findings from the study. Visit the 2013 Fortune 500 study of social media usage if you prefer to read the narrative version.