The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research does an annual study of social media use by Fortune 500 companies. They’ve been doing it for the past 5 years so there’s been time for some trends to take shape. This year’s report, Social Media Surge by the 2012 Fortune 500: Increase Use of Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and More, offers some very interesting data indeed.
According to the 2012 report, 139 Fortune 500 companies (28%) had active, public-facing blogs. By comparison, only 16% had blogs in 2008 and the past three years have been relatively flat at approximately 23%. So blogging by the Fortune 500 overall has jumped forward significantly.
The 139 corporations with blogs come from 54 of the 71 industries represented in the Fortune 500. Telecommunication leads the pack with 40% of companies actively blogging. They are followed by Commercial Banks (30%), Utilities: Gas and Electric (27%), Specialty Retailers (25%) and Food Consumer Products (21%). Overall the Fortune 500 blogs are quite active with frequent posts and on-going discussion. An incredible 90% of them take comments, accept subscriptions and have RSS feeds.
The Fortune 500 has become more active in other social media venues as well. A total of 365 companies (73%) maintain corporate Twitter accounts. The scenario is very similar on Facebook with 332 companies (66%) having corporate Facebook pages. The most active industry segments include: Food Consumer Products, Aerospace & Defense, Specialty Retailers, Insurance, Telecommunications, Chemicals, Commercial Banks, Gas & Electric Utilities and Motor Vehicles & Parts. Social media participation within these segments ranges from 44% to 93% on Twitter and/or Facebook.
Now granted, the University of Massachusetts report tracks the largest companies. Social media use undoubtedly varies widely by industry and among different sized companies. However within TriAd’s own client base, social media use is increasing steadily. And in several cases, there is a relevant connection to the most active industries in the Fortune 500 study.
Our client Team Fishel provides utility construction and network installation services for customers in telecommunications, gas and electric utilities, wireless services, financial and healthcare. They utilize a blog, Twitter, and Facebook to engage with customers in all of these industry segments. Similarly the Ohio Construction Information Association (OCIA) uses blogging, tweeting and their Facebook page to keep the business community, media, legislators and the public informed about Ohio’s infrastructure. And our client Hyperlogistics Group, a third party logistics provider for many industries, is developing new blog format to provide news and thought leadership about the Panama Canal Expansion project.
At Triad, we see this as very good thing. The appropriate integration of social media activity with any company’s business and marketing model will most certainly reap big rewards over the long term.