How The Fortune 500 Uses Social Media

By Mikal E. Belicove|For|November 16, 2010

Just out from the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is a study targeting the use of social media by America’s largest companies — the Fortune 500. In particular, the research examines what the big boys are doing when it comes to using blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

And the results show that, as a whole, these top companies — all of which play a significant role in driving the U.S. economy — appear less willing to interact via blogs than they do Facebook and Twitter. Only 116 (23 percent) of the Fortune 500 have a public-facing corporate blog, which is one only percent better than last year.

The study, The Fortune 500 and Social Media: A Longitudinal Study of Blogging, Twitter and Facebook Usage by America’s Largest Companies (PDF file), conducted by Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., follows similar reports released in 2008 and 2009 by U Mass Dartmouth that looked first at blogging and then a year later, Twitter. The 2010 study was expanded to include Facebook.

To measure the number of Fortune 500 firms with Twitter accounts, the report considered only those who posted a “tweet” within a specific 30-day window (between August and September 2010). The results were dramatic — up 35 percent from last year’s report — with 298 of the top 500 (60 percent) having active Twitter accounts. That included nine of the top 10 corporations (Wal-Mart, Exxon, Chevron, GE, BofA, ConocoPhillips, AT&T, Ford and HP.) Only JP Morgan Chase missed the mark in the top 10 list.

Of the 298 active Twitter participants, the study did find that only…

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