Umass Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research Blog

Fortune 500 Results Finally Released; Twitter and Facebook Outpace Blogging!

The Center for Marketing Research (CMR) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has recently released its latest look at social media usage by the Fortune 500 (F500). For 2010, 60% of the F500 are using Twitter, 56% are using Facebook, and 23% are maintaining corporate facing blogs. These were among the top findings of the latest study led by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Senior Fellow and Research Chair of the Society for New Communications Research and Director of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research.

This new report is the latest in a 3-year longitudinal study of  Fortune Magazine’s Fortune 500 list. The F500 is a list of America’s largest and wealthiest corporations.  While these companies may not always be the first to innovate, they do provide a look at emergent trends among America’s most successful companies. Studying their usage of new technological tools, like social media, offers important insight into the future of commerce. This research also builds on the CMR’s work since 2007 that examines social media use among a variety of organizations such as the Inc. 500, U.S. Colleges and Universities, and the Forbes list of the 200 largest charities.

In 2007, the first study of this group’s use of social media was released. It revealed that these corporations were beginning to jump on the trend of using social media as a form of communicating with their consumers. During this study, CMR looked strictly at blog usage, and revealed that 16% of the F500 were blogging. In 2009, Twitter was added to the study. The study indicated that 35% of the F500 were using Twitter, and an increase to 22% of companies were maintaining a blog.

This newest installment of research now includes the F500 presence on Facebook. For 2010, 208 (56%) of the F500 maintain a Facebook presence for their corporation, 298 (60%) are on Twitter, and 116 (23%) are blogging. Each area saw an increase from years past, with Twitter seeing a dramatic jump, and Facebook proving to be a huge marketing tool for the F500. Blogging however, is seeing very slow growth in comparison to the other social media tools evaluated.

The study’s other key findings include:

  • Four of the top five corporations (Wal-Mart, Exxon, Chevron and General Electric) maintain a blog in 2010. The only company in the top 5 without a public facing blog is Bank of America.
  • Companies in the industry of Computer Software, Peripherals and Office Equipment have had the most blogs in all three years of the study.
  • Ninety percent of the F500 blogs take comments, have RSS feeds and take subscriptions.
  • Nine of the top 10 corporations (Wal-Mart, Exxon, Chevron, General Electric, Bank of America, ConocoPhillips, AT&T, Ford and HP) consistently post on their Twitter accounts.  No Twitter account could be located for the number 9 ranked company, JP Morgan Chase.
  • Companies in the industry of Specialty Retail had the largest presence on Twitter.
  • Thirty-five percent of companies with a Twitter presence consistently responded with @replies or retweets within 72 hours.
  • Companies in the Insurance industry  had the largest presence on Facebook.
  • Twenty-nine percent of F500 companies had neither a Twitter or a Facebook.

 

Despite the slow growth in blog adoption, the F500 continue to interact more transparently with their consumers through these social media outlets. A full summary of these findings and methodology can be downloaded at www.umassd.edu/cmr/studiesresearch/2010f500.cfm. For more information on the Center for Marketing Research at Umass Dartmouth, or questions about the Center’s other studies, please contact Nora Ganim Barnes at nbarnes@umassd.edu. To see our Facebook, please visit http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Fairhaven-MA/Umass-Dartmouth-Center-for-Marketing-Research/151632148186951

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