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How The Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies Are Using Social Media

This is quite an interesting study due to the fact it looks at the 500 fastest growing companies in the USA and how they are using Social Media.

 The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth recently conducted a new in-depth and statistically significant study on the usage of social media in fast-growing corporations. 

 The new study compares adoption of social media over three years (2007, 2008 and 2009) by the Inc. 500, a list of the fastest-growing private U.S. companies compiled annually by Inc. Magazine. For details about the 2009 Inc. 500 and the complete directory of the included companies, please visit Inc. Magazine’s website at www.Inc.com.

In 2007, the Center’s first study of this group and their use of social media was released and revealed that the Inc. 500 was outpacing the more traditional and larger Fortune 500 companies in their use of social media. For example, at that time, some research showed

  •  8% of the Fortune 500 companies were blogging compared to
  • 19% of the Inc. 500.

This difference continued in 2008 with

  • 16% of the Fortune 500 blogging vs.
  • 39% of the Inc. 500.

And it appears the Inc. 500’s lead in blogging will continue in 2009 with the Inc. 500 now blogging at a rate of

  • 45%. (The update on the Fortune 500 is expected soon.).

Note: There has been a 237% increase in blogging by the USA’s 500 fastest growing companies,it is also interesting to note that significant 41% of those who don’t have a blog are intending to implement one.

This research proves once again that social media has penetrated parts of the business world at a tremendous speed. It also indicates that corporate familiarity with and usage of social media within the Inc. 500 has continued to grow in the past 12 months. 

Questions probed the familiarity of respondents with six prominent social media (blogging, podcasting, online video, social networking, message boards and wikis). In order to maintain the integrity of all comparisons, all those tools studied in the first two studies were included in this followup research.

In 2009, several new tools were added including the popular microblogging service Twitter and other popular social networking sites like Linkedin, Facebook, and MySpace.  

7  Highlights

  1. Social networking continues to lead the way. The technology that continues to be the most familiar to the Inc. 500 is social networking with 75% of respondents in 2009 claiming to be “very familiar with it” (compared to 57% in 2008). Another noteworthy statistic around familiarity is Twitter’s amazing “share of mind” with sixty-two percent of executives reported being familiar with the new microblogging and social networking platform.
  2. The adoption curves for different social media technologies are not all the same. Interestingly, while social networking and blogging have enjoyed growth in actual adoption, the use of message boards, online video, wikis and podcasting has leveled off or declined. The addition of Twitter (considered by respondents to be both a microblogging site and a social networking site) in the latest study shows that an amazing 52% of the Inc. 500 companies are already using this tool for their business.
  3. Regardless of the particular technology, social media matters and is here to stay. Forty-three percent of the 2009 Inc. 500 reported social media was “very important” to their business/marketing strategy. And an incredible 91% of the Inc. 500 is using at least one social media tool in 2009 (up from 77% in 2008). In addition, as they ramp up their usage, the Inc. 500 companies are also seeking to protect themselves legally, with 36% having implemented a formal policy concerning blogging by their employees.
  4. Social Media that has levelled off or declined are
    • Message Boards 28%
    • Online Video 36%
    • Wikis 25%
    • Podcasting 12%
  5. Social Media that has increased
    • Social Networking 80%
    • Blogging 45%
    • Twitter 52%
  6. Online Video though slightly declining in use in corporations, their intent to to adopt appears strong with 36% planning to  to use online video, just behind Blogging
  7. For monitoring conversations online on social media about their brand, 68% of companies were doing this in 2009

So are you planning to use social media or blog?

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