Umass Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research Blog

The 2014 Fortune 500 and Social Media: LinkedIn Dominates As Use of Newer Tools Explodes

Conducted by:
Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., and Ava M. Lescault, MBA
Charlton College of Business Center for Marketing Research
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Introduction
Fortune Magazine annually compiles a list of America’s largest corporations, aptly named the “Fortune 500” (F500) given their size and wealth. Due to the hugely influential role that these companies play in the business world, studying their adoption and use of social media tools offers important insights into the future of commerce. These corporations provide a look at emergent social media trends among America’s most successful companies.
Each May the list of the top 500 corporations is released in a special issue of Fortune Magazine. The F500 list includes publicly and privately held companies for which revenues are publicly available. For more information on the methodology used to select the F500 corporations, please visit http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/.
In 2008, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research released one of the first studies on social media adoption among the F500 and has repeated that study every year since. The study has been expanded over the years to include the usage of the fastest growing social media platforms and tools (Instagram, Google+, Foursquare and Pinterest), the business networking platform LinkedIn as well as indicators of engagement (such as the number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers).

Here are the Key findings of this study:
• In 2014, 157 companies (31%) had corporate blogs showing a decrease of 3% in use of this tool in the past year.
• Companies blogging include two of the top five corporations (Wal-Mart Stores and Exxon Mobil), leaving the other three (Chevron, Apple and Berkshire Hathaway) without a public-facing blog.
• 413 companies (83%) of the Fortune 500 have corporate Twitter accounts with a tweet in the past thirty days. This represents a 6% increase since 2013.
• Facebook, in its second year on the Fortune 500 list, has the highest number of followers on Twitter, followed by Starbucks, Microsoft, Walt Disney Company, Whole Foods Market, Inc., Nike, Inc., and Intel Corporation. They also have the most Facebook fans along with Coca-Cola, The Walt Disney Company and Starbucks Corporation.
• 401 companies (80%) of the Fortune 500 are now on Facebook. This represents a 10% increase since 2013.
• In the past year, Foursquare enjoyed the largest increase in adoption (42%), while Pinterest use increased by 27% and Instagram by 12%.

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