The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has tracked the social media strategies of fast-growing enterprises – those on the Inc. 500 – since 2007. For the first time, researchers detected a significant drop in the use of corporate blogs in the past year. These companies aren’t cutting back on their social communications with customers but they are changing how they reach out.
Researchers says the most significant use of social media by Inc. 500 enterprises is as follows:
- Facebook 74%
- LinkedIn 73%
- Twitter 64%
- YouTube 45%
- Blogging 37%
The number of Inc. 500 companies using blogs dropped from 50% to 37% in the past year. In comparison, the number of Fortune 500 companies who blog remained steady at 23% between 2010 and 2011. Well over half, 56%, of Inc. 500 companies who do not currently blog say they intend to do so in the future. However, previous research from the Center for Marketing Research has suggested that businesses say they will begin using new forms of social media but they often do not follow through on these intentions. For now, it also seems that the commitment to blogging is most important in the Advertising/Marketing and Media fields (72%). Government Services businesses maintain blogs at the lowest rate (17%) – however, these government-related entities are also the least likely to use any form of social media.
Surveyed businesses experience the highest rates of success for ‘older social media forms’ including blogging (92%) and message/bulletin board (96%). (Researchers pointed out the irony in this statistic as fewer companies are actually supporting blogs.) Only 82% of respondents say their Facebook efforts are successful. Respondents seemed more enthusiastic about the most recently added social media strategies – 90% say LinkedIn is successful and 91% say the same about Mobile Apps. This year, businesses are also using texting (15%), discount sites (5%) and mobile apps (14%).
Confirming the findings of several other studies on the planned use of social media – including one fielded by Ad-ology Research – Center for Marketing Research analysts say over 70% of enterprises will increase their social media spending in 2012. At the same time, slightly fewer, 68% versus 70%, are monitoring social media for comments being made about the company, product or brands. This trend suggests that as marketers realize the enormous staffing cost associated with the social media effort, some are trying to achieve success while limiting the resources they allocate.[Source: Barnes and Lescault. 2011 Inc. 500 Social Media Update. Umassd.edu. 2012. Web. 9 Feb. 2012]