More Fortune 500 Companies to Deploy Social Media Efforts

Fortune 500 companies, considered by some to be slow-​moving organizations hampered by cumbersome internal processes, are showing signs of immersing themselves in the latest trend – social media. The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth released its first report on this topic last year and primarily focused on blogs. This year, the center expanded its study to include the adoption rate of Twitter by Fortune 500 companies.

Between 2008 and 2009, the number of Fortune 500 companies with blogs increased from 16% to 22%.  Interestingly, companies in the top 100 had a higher rates of blogs (39%) than companies in the bottom rank (18%). The existence of blogs also seems somewhat linked to the type of industry in which a company operates. For example, the following industries had the highest numbers of company blogs in the Fortune 500:

  • Computer software, peripherals, office equipment: 11
  • Specialty retail: 7
  • Food production, services and drug stores: 6
  • Telecommunications: 6
  • Commercial banks: 5
  • Insurance: 5
  • Semiconductors: 5

The study also revealed that corporate Twitter accounts are more numerous than corporate blogs. In 2009, 35% of the Fortune 500 had an active Twitter account. Again, the number of Twitter accounts varied by industry:

  • Insurance: 13
  • Food production, services,  drug stores and consumer products: 11
  • Computer software, peripherals, office equipment: 10
  • Specialty retail: 10
  • Telecommunications: 10
  • Utilities: 10

Researchers Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D. and Eric Mattson CEO of Financial Insite write that “[t]hese large and leading companies drive the American economy and to a large extent the world economy.” They applaud the fact that businesses are operating more transparently with their constituents. The data clearly point to continued and widespread acceptance of social media as a form of marketing even among the most established and conservative companies.

[Source: The Fortune 500 and Social Media: A Longitudinal Study of Blogging and Twitter Usage by America’s Largest Companies. University of MA Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research. Spring 2010. Web. 28 Apr 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.