The Genuine ScLoHo aka Scott Howard

Social Media and The Big Boys

February 21, 2012 ScLoHo's Web World 0

Big as in Fortune 500 companies. And Inc 500 companies.

I find it interesting the various forms of internet based platforms that are considered Social Media.

Blogs and Bulletin Boards where people can post online with a possible conversation element seems to be the common theme.

Yet it wasn’t until MySpace followed by Facebook and the movie The Social Network that we crossed the threshold into mainstream for social media.

Check out this report from the Center for Media Research:

New Social Media Tools Rule

 

According to a recent conducted in-depth study on the usage of social media in fast-growing corporations by The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the Inc. 500 (the fastest-growing private U.S. companies compiled annually by Inc. Magazine) was outpacing the revenue based Fortune 500 in their use of social media.

In 2007, research showed that 8% of the Fortune 500 companies were blogging compared to 19% of the Inc. 500. This trend continued in 2008, 2009 and 2010 with half of the Inc. 500 blogging and only 23% of the Fortune 500 in 2010. The new data shows adoption of blogging is declining for the first time since 2007 among the Inc. 500 companies, and may have peaked as a primary social media tool in the US business world.

The study finds the incorporation of new platforms and tools including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, texting, downloadable mobile apps and Foursquare while noting the reduction in use of blogging, message boards, video blogging, podcasting and MySpace.

Social Media Tools Used By The Inc. 500 (% of Respondents)
Social Media 2009 2010 2011
Facebook

61%

71%

74%

LinkedIn

73

Twitter

52

59

64

YouTube

45

Blog

45

50

37

Online video

36

33

24

Text

15

Mobile apps

14

Podcast

12

16

6

Myspace

6

1

Source: UofMass, Dartmouth Center for Mktg.Research, January 2012

Some of the tools marketers are abandoning, however, are still reported to be highly effective. Message and bulletin boards, along with blogging, got the highest success ratings of any tools, among companies that use them for marketing. While a strong majority of respondents indicated they were having success with Twitter (86%) and Facebook (82%), this was lower than several other, less-popular services.

The original 2007 questions probed the familiarity of respondents with six prominent social media tools. As familiarity became almost ubiquitous, studies began to focus more on adoption.

Changes over the years include dropping wikis (used more as a collaboration tool than a communications/engagement tool) and changing the social networking category into more specific platforms including Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Foursquare. In the 2011 survey, the use of LinkedIn, YouTube, corporate texting along with the use of discount sites like Groupon and downloadable mobile apps were all investigated.

Successful Social Media Tools Used By The Inc. 500 (% of Respondents)

Percent of Respondents

Media Tool 2009 2010 2011
Message/bulletin boards

91%

93%

96%

Blogging

88

86

92

Mobile apps

91

Online video

87

93

90

LinkedIn

90

Discount sites

88

YouTube

87

Twitter

82

81

86

Texting

84

Facebook

54

85

82

Podcasting

89

71

80

Foursquare

75

68

Myspace

36

0

Source: UofMass, Dartmouth Center for Mktg.Research, January 2012

Findings highlighted in the study include:

  • Companies in the Advertising/Marketing industry are most likely to blog while companies in Government Services and Construction make very little use of this tool. This decline mirrors a trend in other sectors as this mature tool evolves into other forms or is replaced by communication through Facebook or Twitter
  • The platform most utilized by the 2011 Inc. 500 is Facebook, virtually tied with the professional network, LinkedIn.  One fourth of the respondents report that Facebook or LinkedIn is the single most effective social networking platform they use. There is clearly a shift in how the companies studied are communicating, says the report. Fewer are using blogging, message/bulletin boards, online video, podcasting and MySpace.  More companies are using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, downloadable mobile apps, texting and Foursquare
  • Ninety percent of responding executives report that social media tools are important for brand awareness and company reputation.  88% percent see these tools as important for generating web traffic while 81% find them important for lead generation.  73% percent say that social media tools are important for customer support programs
  • The 2011 study indicates that the Inc. 500 appears to have plateaued in their monitoring activity, which will have important consequences should they increase their investment in the social media area, concludes the report.  Regardless of how they choose to converse with their constituents online, they will need to be aware of conversation about their company, their products and their brands

For additional information about the study and additional charts and graphs, please visit the UMass site here.

 

Scott Howard aka ScLoHo has 25+ years of experience in marketing , advertising, media and works directly in the radio and digital world from Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Contact him at Scott@ScLoHo.net or 260.255.4357.

 

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